LEICESTER, Mass. — In advance of the blizzard coming on Friday, Leicester Police Chief Jim Hurley is urging residents to take precautions to stay safe.
Extra police, fire and EMS personnel will be on duty to assist during the storm.
"A blizzard warning means snow and strong winds combined produce blinding snow, near-zero visibility, deep drifts and a life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately," said Hurley.
Everyone should have supplies prepared to survive on their own for at least three days, he said.
"These supplies should include nonperishable food with a hand-operated opener, bottled water, flashlights and extra batteries, a portable radio, a first aid kit, prescription medications, baby care items, extra blankets or sleeping bags, and a fire extinguisher."
Residents should also ensure they have a sufficient heating source for several days, and emergency heating equipment and fuel on hand "to keep at least one room livable," said Hurley.
"Be sure the room is well-ventilated," he added.
If residents have questions about fuel sources or ventilation, Hurley urged them to contact the Leicester Police Department Dispatch Center.
"Do not under any circumstances use gas grills or other types of heating systems that require outdoor ventilation inside your home," he said.
The chief also encouraged residents to develop a family emergency communications plan in case family members are separated during the storm.
"A family member traveling home may not be able to make it to their destination, and it's important to be able to communicate with them to ensure their safety," said Hurley.
The chief recommended additional safety steps, including:
- Keep you gas tank full and install good winter tires with adequate tread.
- Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal readily available in your vehicle.
- Check your windshield fluid level.
- Use care around downed power lines and assume any downed wire is a live wire.
After the winter storm, police are asking residents to stay off the roads to allow for plowing to proceed smoothly.
Additionally, residents can help dig out fire hydrants and storm drains in their neighborhoods.
"Avoid parking to close to corners, allowing public safety vehicles and plows to maneuver safely," added Hurley.
Residents should also be careful to clear exhaust vents from direct vent furnace systems to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and ensure back-up generators are well-ventilated.
"Never run an automobile until the exhaust pipe has been cleared of snow," said Hurley.