We have experienced unprecedented snowfall and arctic temperatures over the past few weeks that have taken a toll on our cities and towns. I want to thank our first responders, public works personnel, and municipal leaders for their incredible work throughout this extremely difficult stretch of weather.
I also want to share with you a brief update on the state and federal emergency response, as well as provide some resources and tips you may find helpful as we try to recover from these historic winter storms.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to document storm costs and damages, and to prepare a written request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for FEMA Public Assistance.
Recently, I joined with other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to send a letter to FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate urging the agency to approve the forthcoming disaster declaration request. Federal assistance is needed in order to help our communities recover from this historic winter by providing funds for infrastructure repairs, and reimbursements for snow removal and other associated costs. I will continue to work closely with our federal and state partners to ensure that this process moves forward as quickly as possible.
Given the severity and frequency of this snow and extreme cold, it is important for everyone to remain alert to the dangers this weather presents. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released an additional $300 million in LIHEAP funding to the states.
If you or anyone you know requires assistance with heating their home, please call my district office at 781-396-2900 for further information on available resources and LIHEAP programs in your community.
Additionally, heavy snow on roofs may lead to structural damage and/or collapse. MEMA has provided helpful tips for homeowners and businesses to deal with this issue:
Please also assist your community with clearing snow and ice around fire hydrants. This will allow fire departments to respond more quickly and effectively to emergency situations.
- If roof snow can be removed, from the ground, with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so. Use caution, as metal snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.
- Try to avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up. Snow and ice collect on boot soles, and metal ladders.
- Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls.
- Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.
- Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring. Icicles overhanging doorways and walkways can be dangerous and should be carefully removed.
- All of the mentioned actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults, as the snow is heavy, and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery. Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.
- Be on the alert for large accumulating snow build-up or snowdrifts on your roofs.
If you have any questions or concerns about these or any other issues relating to the winter storms or the recovery process, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 781-396-2900.
Sincerely, Katherine Clark
Member of Congress (MA-05)
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Washington, D.C. Office
1721 Longworth HOB
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phone: (202) 225-2836
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phone: (781) 396-2900
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