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Framingham officials prepare town for Hurricane Sandy

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  October 26, 2012 04:05 PM

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Framingham town officials are gearing up for Hurricane Sandy’s predicted appearance in New England next week, and are urging residents to prepare for power outages.

Sandy’s latest projected path shows the storm will likely make landfall early Tuesday morning near the border of Delaware and New Jersey, according to the National Hurricane Center. Local residents can track the storm as it travels up the East Coast.

Meanwhile, Framingham residents should fuel up their cars, buy bottled water and non-perishable food, and stock up on batteries, said Steven Trask, Framingham deputy police chief and emergency management director.

“People should prepare for a loss of power, because that is typical for this type of event,” Trask said.

Trask said residents should also check on any elderly, disabled, or vulnerable neighbors to make sure they weather the storm comfortably. Residents should also call their electricity providers and report if they experience power outages, he said.

He said that Framingham police and Department of Public Works employees have been preparing all afternoon for the storm.

“They’re checking generator equipment and cleaning out catch basins to make sure everything is ready so the system can take the rain as best as it can,” Trask said. “We’re also checking staffing ability, and asking some people to cancel time off and things of that nature.”

Trask said the town has not designated any shelters yet, but are prepared to make that announcement if the storm causes severe power outages and flooding.

“The loss of power alone would not trigger us to put up shelter per say,” he said, noting that shelter partners are on standby. “It depends on what the outside temperatures are and other factors, but if neighborhoods are flooded and homes cant be inhabited, we would be sheltering at that point.”

Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin said the town is also prepared to bus people to the shelters if necessary.

Residents can call 508-532-5800, the town’s emergency operations center, with any questions or concerns during the storm. If the center is not open, the number reroutes back to Trask, he said.

In response to previous years' storms, Governor Deval Patrick and top state officials said today that they will monitor local utility companies' responses to Sandy.

Sullivan said state law has changed to toughen financial sanctions on utilities for failing to adequately respond to storms that companies had advance notice were heading to their service areas.

“It it very clear to all of the utilities that they are under strict scrutiny on their response to this particular storm,’’ said Sullivan. “We are expecting that the level of services will be much higher.’’

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