City Releases Statement on Preparations for Hurricane Irene
Information on possible closures and evacuations will be announced Saturday afternoon.
The following statement is courtesy of the City of Salem.
Salem officials met Friday morning to finalize preparedness plans for Hurricane Irene as it moves up the eastern seaboard. Based on the current track of the hurricane, Irene is estimated to hit Salem on Sunday evening.
Jason Silva, Chief Administrative Aide to Mayor Driscoll stated, "Based on our meeting this morning, all city departments are very well prepared to handle this emergency."
All emergency vehicles and equipment have been fueled and tested and ready to go. The Salem Police and Fire Departments, as well as Atlantic Ambulance have increased their staffing for the weekend and are ready to respond to emergencies. Department of Public Services crews are ready to deal with fallen trees, barricade flooded streets, and crews are out now clearing catch basins in areas known to flood. Empty sandbags and sand are available at the DPW Garage at 5 Jefferson Avenue. There is a limit of 10 bags per person, and residents must supply their own shovels.
"Right now, the biggest concern is wind and high tide storm surges." stated Captain Dennis Levasseur, the Fire Department's Deputy Director of Emergency Management. We will have a better picture of the storm track by Saturday afternoon, at which time voluntary and/or mandatory closures and evacuations will be determined."
The Harbormaster's Office has removed the Willows floats and gangway, as well as the center section of the docks at Winter Island. In the event of severe weather the island may be closed, as well as other city piers and marinas. The Harbormaster is in close contact with the Salem Police Department Dive Team, which will be on alert beginning on Saturday afternoon.
The Salem Housing Authority, which is responsible for several elderly housing complexes that border the waterfront have tested all of their emergency sump pumps and generators and have updated their evacuation plans and have staff on alert to ensure the safety of their residents.
Although the Red Cross plans to open regional shelters if necessary, the Salem Health Department is working closely with them to ensure our residents will have emergency shelter access.
In preparation for the storm, residents are advised to carry in all outside light objects and lawn furniture, clear catch basins near their property, and are encouraged to log onto the Fire Department and Health Department pages on www.salem.com to access information ranging from how to protect your home from damage to creating an emergency evacuation bag, what types of food to stock up on in case of an emergency to what you need to know if you lose power.
"Most importantly, residents should just use common sense and stay indoors during height of storm, don't go close to the water's edge and don't touch any downed wires.", stated Fire Chief David Cody. Continue to check www.salem.com for storm updates and emergency information.
Who to call:
In case of an Emergency, dial 911
To report downed wires and power outages, call the Salem Fire Department at 978-744-1235. To get assistance with basement pump outs, call the Salem Fire Department at 978-744-1235.
To report downed trees, call the Department of Public Services at 978-744-3302.