Hurricane Preparations on Mind of MRC

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

With the United States getting slammed with two major hurricanes in as many weeks, emergency preparedness groups like the town’s medical reserve corp. are on alert for any future storms that impact Winthrop.

“The push is on to be prepared,” said MRC director Jeanne Maggio, who called an emergency meeting last week because Hurricane Irma was on the move and unsure in it’s track. The idea behind the meeting was to review our procedures and protocol for Winthrop in case the storm came up the East Coast.

During a crisis it is the Winthrop MRC that sets app shelters and assists people.

One of the first things to go in a storm is electricity – no cooking, no television, no computers and no chargers for cell phones. The use of generators is fine if used outdoors. Maggio reminded people not to use generators or gas grills indoors because of the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Maggio advises people to have food in the cabinet that is canned and can be eaten without preparation.

“Even Dinty Moore stew can be eaten from the can cold,” she said.

Other items to have are flashlights, batteries, and what she calls a “Go Kit.”

“You should have a go kit for every member of your family and pets,” Maggio said.

The kit should be for about three days and should include medication, diapers, baby food, a change of clothes, a roll of toilet paper (because shelters can run out). The idea is to grab the bag quickly and be able to evacuate.

Winthrop also has a sheltering program for animals in an emergency situation, so animals are allowed at the shelters which are now the Gorman Fort Banks School and the Cummings School

“Not all shelters take animals but Winthrop does,” Maggio said.

Maggio reminded everyone that Winthrop is an island and during a storm there can be only one exit out of town. Then you would contend with a crowd leaving town and hitting the evacuation route where people from other communities will also be using.

“People are complacent when it comes to emergencies, they think it’s not going to happen to us,” Maggio said.

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