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Red Cross responds to first storm of 2014

Red Cross of Massachusetts responds to first storm of 2014
As we move through the weekend these cold temperatures are forecast to linger, this could mean an increased house fire response into Saturday and Sunday.

The first storm of the year hit Massachusetts on Jan. 2, but the Red Cross had been preparing since before New Year’s Eve.

Thursday night volunteers operated one shelter in Plymouth and had an additional nine shelters on standby - with staffing teams and logistics supplies on alert. Red Crossers staffed the State Emergency Operations Center in Framingham for 24 hours over the past two days and communicated with dozens of local municipal emergency managers during their storm preparations.

Friday we were monitoring the coastal flood threat along the South Shore and the Upper Cape but thankfully the most intense flooding forecasts did not materialize.

We have seen a busy few days of house fire responses as the extreme cold provides an increased fire threat. Since New Year's Eve we have responded to 15 incidents and assisted 101 people; including a large response this morning in North Attleboro where we have a client reception center open this afternoon to assist additional residents.

As we move through the weekend these cold temperatures are forecast to linger, this could mean an increased house fire response into Saturday and Sunday.

Ways to protect yourself and your home include:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.