Friday, February 27, 2015

Massachusetts Deploys National Guard to Clear Record Breaking Snow

About 500 National Guard members have been deployed to assist with snow removal and cleanup efforts for areas of Massachusetts most affected by heavy snowfall from recent winter storms.

The Massachusetts National Guard began moving its heavy equipment - including front-end loaders, bobcats, and dump trucks - to communities, Feb. 10, to assist with snow removal. Airmen and Soldiers were responding to the towns of Whitman, Salem, Douglas, Hull, Halifax and Weymouth.

Weymouth and other locales received about 26.5 inches of snow during the latest storm.

Other National Guard teams will be deployed to shovel out fire hydrants, dig out passageways and clear snow around public safety buildings or critical areas. The Vermont National Guard will also be sending equipment and personnel to Massachusetts to assist with cleanup efforts, officials said.

"The commonwealth has been hit by historic storms and unprecedented snowfall, posing challenges for cities and towns struggling with clean up," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said. He added that after three major storms in two weeks, the state has secured heavy equipment from the Vermont National Guard and purchased additional snow melters to assist communities in need. 

Massachusetts declared a state of emergency, Feb. 9, and ordered non-emergency personnel who live or work in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk or Suffolk counties not to report to work the next day.

Two hundred Guardsmen are deploying in 50 teams of four men and women per Humvee to assist cities and towns to dig out fire hydrants and other critical assets. The remainder of the 500 Guardsmen will operate heavy machinery to remove snow, the governor's office said.