Town Prepares for March Blizzard

When a large snowstorm is predicted for the region, Reading town government departments prepare in advance to get ready for the coming storm. Fire Chief Greg Burns prepares the fire department by making sure that supplies and personnel are ready to ensure that fire and EMS services are ready to act if needed during the storm. Since the fire department is responsible for the town’s emergency management, Chief Burns also meets with the heads of other town departments. “Because the snow will be heavy and wet and also there will be high winds, we are concerned about power outages,” Burns commented. “Residents should be prepared to lose power for some period of time.” Preparations are being made to open the Hawkes Field House at Reading Memorial High School, 62 Oakland Road, as an emergency shelter, if necessary.  Care has been taken to make sure that facilities that help senior citizens are ready as well.  Burns stressed that homes which use gas heat should take extra care to be sure that the exhaust pipes from their furnaces are kept clear. He also asked residents to take time to clear the areas around fire hydrants in their neighborhoods.

Reading Snow Plow Routes

Department of Public Works Director Jeffrey Zagar shared that prior to a storm, six trucks from the Reading Highway Division will pre-treat some the roads in town, focusing on busy intersections, hills, and around the schools. Zager notes, “That’s why you’ll see all those main areas melting much quicker and getting black quicker than some of the side streets.”  Once the snow starts, more than forty DPW employees, as well as many private contractors, are called in and given plowing routes. There are twenty-six regular plowing routes and four tandem plow routes in Reading. The tandem routes use multiple trucks plowing at the same time. Trucks will plow their routes as needed until the storm is over. The salt trucks will also continue to treat problem areas as long as the supplies of salt from the salt shed, over 850 tons, hold out.  According to Zager “the average salt shed in the state is between 1,500 and maybe 2,000 tons so we have to be kind of prudent with our salt.”

For the storm this week, the town website will be updated during the day with information on storm preparations.

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