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MEMA Issues Ice Safety Precautions
FRAMINGHAM, MA – In spite of the recent cold spell, the ice conditions of many bodies of water across the Commonwealth remain uncertain, as demonstrated by the recent ice rescues of a number of individuals and pets. Therefore, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has issued information regarding safety precautions to be taken on our frozen lakes, rivers and ponds.
"Before we experience a tragedy that is unfortunately too common this time of year, it is important that we remind everyone, particularly children, of the dangers of unsafe ice," said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. "People may be a bit impatient and venture out on the ice for skating, hockey, ice fishing and other winter sports before understanding the conditions. We highly recommend the use of recreational skating areas provided by the Commonwealth and your local communities. It is very important to exercise precaution and common sense."
Always check with your local police, fire or park department to ensure that safe ice conditions exist. However, due to the uncertainty and constant changing of ice conditions and the dangers presented, many departments will not endorse the safety of lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. The strength and thickness of ice should be known before any activity takes place.
- Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to recue you or go for help if you fall through the ice.
- Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your pet, call 9-1-1 or go for help.
- New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
- Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing. Snow can also hide cracks, weak and open ice.
- Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
- Ice formed over flowing water (rivers and lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally 15% weaker.
- Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only a few inches thick 10 feet away.
- Reach-Throw-Go. If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (a rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help or call 9-1-1, before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
- If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction from which you came. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.
For more information, visit the MA Department of Fire Services' Ice and Cold Water Safety webpage at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/pubed/fs-topics/fs-topics-a/ice-and-cold-water-safety.html.
By following safety procedures, you can be safe and enjoy the many winter activities offered by the great outdoors.
MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management
For additional information about MEMA, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Also, follow MEMA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; and YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA. Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the Massachusetts Alerts free app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for additional information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.
MEMA Offers Precautions for Approaching Extreme Cold Weather
FRAMINGHAM, MA – "The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting bitter cold temperatures throughout the Commonwealth for the remainder of the week. As the temperatures continue to plummet, wind chills are expected to reach -15 to -30 degrees in some areas," stated Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Kurt Schwartz. "To that end, MEMA presents these cold weather safety tips."
- Continue to be aware of extreme weather conditions by monitoring Media reports.
- Make sure you always have a well-stocked Winter Home Emergency Supply Kit that includes flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a manual can opener.
- Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young. Also, consider your pets.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Excessive exposure can lead to frostbite, which is damaging to body tissue that is frozen. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
- Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. The warning signs are uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person's temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.
- Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity.
- When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions. Keep a fire extinguisher handy; ensuring everyone knows how to use it properly. Test smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors.
- If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.
- Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.
- To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze. Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe bursts.
- If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes or wrap them with towels soaked in hot water, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.
- Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep the gas tank at least half-full. Carry a Winter Emergency Car Kit in the trunk including blankets, extra clothing, flashlight with spare batteries, a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for drinking water), non-perishable foods, windshields scraper, shovel, sand, towrope and jumper cables.
MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. For additional information about MEMA and Winter Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; and YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA. Download the free Massachusetts Alerts! app to your Smartphone to receive important weather alerts and messages from MEMA. Easy instructions are available at www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp
Coyote Warning (posted 9/11/14)
This past week, Wrentham had two (2) quarantines for dogs that had altercations with coyotes (a pack of 4) over at the Lind farm area heading towards Dowling Landscape and Shire Drive in Norfolk. These coyotes are very aggressive and pulled the dogs into the woods forcing the owners to go in after them.
On one occasion a women was followed for about a half mile by the coyotes. She was obviously very shaken up by the incidence.
Massachusetts Wildlife and Fisheries have been contacted before the situation becomes more serious. The Town is advising residents to avoid walking the paths in this area until further notice.
If you have any questions or can provide any additional sighting reports, please contact Wrentham's Animal Control Officer at (508) 384-2121.
Mosquitoes and Ticks
We would like to bring to your attention , an imporant summertime information campaign being undertaken by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health about the serious risks from mosquito and tick bites. The campaign is titled: Mosquitoes and Ticks: They're Out in Mass!
Click the link to find out valuable information to ensure you and your family have a healthy and happy summer.