Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Situational Awareness Statement: Wind Storm ‘17
November 1, 2017
AUGUSTA, MAINE — The Maine State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) remains fully activated today after a powerful wind and rainstorm caused nearly 500,000 power outages state-wide beginning Sunday, October 29. Utilities continue to bring in mutual aid from other states and Canada to speed the restoration effort and more than half of the customers affected by power outages now have power restored.
MEMA representatives continue to work closely with partner agencies including the National Weather Service, Red Cross, DOT, CDC, Department of Public safety, utilities, and county emergency management agencies.
The State of Maine will pursue a Federal Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance. Local municipalities are collecting data for damage to public infrastructure, which will then be compiled by county EMAs and provided to MEMA. The state-wide threshold for this declaration is $1.9 M and each county must meet a threshold, which is based on population.
It is too early to know if Individual Assistance will be available, but that data is being collected as well and should go through the same channels. Indivicuals should document damage through photos and receipts and work with homeowners insurance first.
A powerful storm began impacting Maine Sunday, October 29, leaving more than half of Maine residents without electricity.
- Favorable weather conditions over the next few days will help the restoration process and are expected to bring flood-water levels down.
- A large amount of debris is reported in many areas affecting road access in some cases. Caution is urged when removing debris.
- Many households and businesses remain without power and shelter and warming center lists are updated regularly. Information is available at maine.gov/MEMA, MEMA’s Facebook page and Twitter, and at 2-1-1Maine.org or by dialing 2-1-1. Individuals without access to internet or 2-1-1 should check with their town or local fire station for shelter information.
- Many areas still report a large amount of debris. Caution is urged when removing debris and experts should be called for larger debris or if power lines are involved.
MEMA will maintain situational awareness and information flow between County EOCs and the SEOC through situational reports for decision making purposes. MEMA will also work to fulfill resource requests from all 16 counties to support response and recovery activities during the sustained response and recovery operations using available resources from state agencies, private vendors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Citizens are reminded of the following:
- Ensure generators and alternate heat sources are in good working condition and properly installed and located in a well-ventilated area.
- Use caution when operating chainsaws for debris removal and wear personal protective equipment and/or work with experienced tree-removal services.
- Those who have been without power for several days should discard food that has not been stored at the proper temperature (refrigerator 40 degrees or below; freezer zero degrees or below).
- Document all damage costs to property for insurance and other assistance purposes.
Those seeking assistance should first contact their insurance company. Additionally, when responding to calls to our office we are suggesting residents contact their municipal General Assistance Officer regarding General Assistance that may be available under 22 M.R.S.A. § 4308: “A municipality may provide emergency assistance when the municipality determines that an emergency is imminent and that failure to provide assistance may result in undue hardship and unnecessary costs (22 M.R.S.A. § 4308(2)).” We note two sections in the statute:
- “emergency” is defined as, “any life threatening situation or a situation beyond the control of the individual which, if not alleviated immediately, could reasonably be expected to pose a threat to the health or safety of a person( 22 M.R.S.A.§ 4301(4))” and;
- a person who does not have sufficient resources to provide one or more basic necessities in an emergency is eligible for emergency general assistance, even when that applicant has been found ineligible for nonemergency general assistance because the applicant's income exceeds the municipalities standard of need (22 M.R.S.A.§ 4308(2)).
For additional preparedness, shelter and safety information, please visit MainePrepares.com, or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.