Governor LePage Reminds Mainers to Stay Safe During Winter Storm

February 13, 2015

For Immediate Release: February 13, 2015
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA –With yet another dangerous winter storm bearing down on Maine, Governor Paul R. LePage has announced the State of Emergency he declared on January 27 remains in effect, giving legal authority for any emergency actions that may be necessary.

The weekend storm, beginning Saturday night and bringing blizzard conditions on Sunday, is expected to affect the entire state, with the greatest snow amounts and highest winds along the coast.

The State of Emergency relaxes certain hours of service requirement for the transportation and delivery of heating fuels, allowing those drivers to work extended hours if needed. It also ensures that any Canadian utility crews called in to assist in Maine will receive expedited emergency work permits.

“We also want to assure everyone although we have sent some Maine National Guard resources to assist Massachusetts, we have a robust force still here in the State,” the Governor said. He noted that between the MaineDOT, town resources and private sector contractors, the National Guard has rarely been called on in Maine to remove snow on streets and roads. “The MaineDOT and our towns are equipped for snow, and they know what to do” the Governor said.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency held a coordination conference call this morning with the National Weather Service, County Emergency Management Agencies, state agencies and utilities to review the latest forecast, and discuss operational status. MaineDOT, local road crews and utilities are putting crews, equipment and materials in place to deal with road clearance and possible power outages.

Although the snow will be very dry, it will fall heavily at times and winds have the potential to be even stronger than during the January blizzard, so power outages are a concern.

The Governor has also directed the Maine Emergency Management Agency to inventory private sector heavy equipment assets or other resources that may be available to municipalities to assist in snow clearance. The Governor reminded Mainers to put safety first and help their neighbors weather the storm.

“Watch for the most up-to-date forecast, keep yourself safe, and reach out to a neighbor who needs a helping hand,” said Governor LePage.

The Governor praised Mainers for heeding the recommendations to stay off the roads during the January 27 blizzard, a fact that kept accidents to a minimum and allowed road crews to do their work with minimal obstruction.

Before the storm, projected to begin Saturday afternoon:
• Check your supply of important supplies, such as food, medications or batteries, and pick up anything you need before the storm moves in.
• If you have a generator, make sure you have fuel for it, know where you are going to run it outside well away from windows and doors, and move it there to test it.
• Check in with neighbors and friends who may need help preparing for the storm.

During and after the storm:
• Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary and let the plows do their work. Travel will be extremely treacherous, with near-zero-visibility at times.
• If you lose power, use generators or alternate heat sources safely.
• Run generators outside only, 15 feet away from doors or windows, with exhaust pointing away from the house.
• Ensure all heating vents are clear of any snow to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.
• Check in on neighbors to see who may need help “digging out.”
• Take care shoveling snow, especially if you have health problems. If you have heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor's permission. Do not shovel after eating or while smoking. Take it slow! Pace yourself. Be sure to stretch out and warm up before taking on the task.
• After the storm has passed determine whether excess snow needs to be removed, especially flat or roofs with minimal slope.

For weather information and more safety tips, visit the Maine Prepares web site: www.maineprepares.com