The following was submitted by the office of Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt:
With Hurricane Sandy possibly bearing down on New England, Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. met Friday morning with key members of the city's emergency preparedness team to review all aspects of storm preparation and emergency response.
Meteorologists say Hurricane Sandy could reach Massachusetts by Monday afternoon, and depending on the exact track of the storm, there may either be significant coastal or inland flooding in addition to high winds.
Bettencourt encouraged Peabody residents to take safety precautions to minimize potential storm damage. He also set up a storm information hotline for residents to call for important updates. The hotline number is 978-538-5758. Residents can also call the mayor's office at 978-538-5700.
"Early planning and preparation can make all the difference in terms of protecting lives and property," Bettencourt said. "Residents should take the recommended safety precautions well in advance of the storm reaching our area."
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) says you should have a well-stocked family disaster kit in the event you lose power or are stranded somewhere for more than one day. Some other suggested precautionary steps:
-Trim back trees and shrubbery around your home. Remove diseased or damaged tree limbs that could be blown down, causing damage during a storm.
-Clear clogged rain gutters. This storm brings the potential for torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
-Bring in outdoor items such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings that can be broken or picked up by strong winds and act as a projectile.
-Make sure storage sheds, children's playhouses or other outbuildings are securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors.
-Elevate articles in your basement that could be damaged from even minor flooding.
-Make temporary plywood covers to protect windows and sliding doors. Drill holes for screws or lag bolts in each cover and around each window. Note: Taping of windows does not prevent them from breaking.
-Keep vehicles fully fueled.
-Have a certain amount of cash available. If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.
-Make a record of your personal property. Keep an itemized list of your furniture, clothing and valuables to assist adjusters in case of a claim. Back it up with photographs or video.
-Protect your insurance policies and other important documents in a secure place like a safe deposit box or a watertight box. Many people back up important documents online.
-Learn where gas pilots and water mains are located, and how to safely shut off all utilities.
-Lock doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and rain.
-Boat owners who plan on taking their vessel out of the water soon should consider doing so this weekend.
Download the free ping4alert! app to your smartphone to receive important weather alerts and messages from MEMA. Easy instructions are available at www.mass.gov/mema/mobileappp.
MEMA is responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in Massachusetts. For further information, go to www.mass.gov/mema.