Preparation is Crucial as Winter Looms

Sure we had one of the mildest Decembers on record, but be assured WINTER IS COMING….

MASCO and its member institutions learned some valuable lessons from last year’s abominable winter, and as such storm planning and preparation is well under way.

MASCO’s Emergency Preparedness Committee worked throughout the summer to develop the following failsafe plans for winter storms:

  • 4 x 4 SUV Rental Program – through Enterprise Car Rental 4 x 4 SUVs can be ordered and delivered to the LMA prior to a large storm to facilitate transportation of key staffers to institutions.
  • Fuel Contingency Plan – the committee is developing an agreement with a large Regional Diesel Fuel provider for a contingency plan to stage fuel trucks and personnel in advance of a large storm with expected outages.
  • Parking Coordination – Similar to last year, MASCO will contact LMA institutions that due to school/business closures may have surplus parking capacity that could be provided to hospital staff if there are MBTA closures.
  • Cots Cache – MASCO will coordinate the sharing cot supplies between LMA institutions to provide sleeping arrangements for essential staff.
  • LMA Joint Operations Center (JOC) – Orientation/Training Classes are being held in December to train responders from the LMA institutions. The LMA JOC was activated last winter during the severe winter storms to help coordinate resources and provide LMA situational status updates.

We are also keeping a trained eye on what the MBTA is doing to prepare.

Improved Infrastructure

  • Third rail replacements and heater upgrades on vulnerable outdoor sections of the Red and Orange Lines.
  • Snow fence installation along the Red and Orange Lines to mitigate snow drift accumulation.
  • Repairs to vehicle maintenance facilities and structures to further maximize recovery efforts.
  • Emergency power generators to supplement existing subway and facility power as needed.
  • Track access improvements for larger snow removal and track work equipment on the Red Line.

New and Enhanced Equipment

  • New and rehabilitated specialized snow removal equipment to increase removal capacity and reduce use of passenger vehicles.
  • For passenger vehicles, vehicle-borne anti-icing equipment, modifications to air and propulsion system resiliency and an increased stock of traction motors to improve availability.

Focus on Operations

  • Additional snow removal contract services, as needed, to remove snow and ice at stations, facilities and other critical operations areas.
  • Training and staffing of a Field Inspection Team to be deployed during weather events to monitor staff and contractor field activities clearing snow and returning tracks to an operational status.
  • Adoption of incident management software in coordination with the MassDOT Highway Division to track deployment of snow removal operations across the system.
  • Formal establishment of an as needed inmate snow removal assistance program with the Department of Corrections to augment and streamline the services provided this winter.
  • Further coordination of interagency planning with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, state agencies and local municipalities to identify efficiencies and synergies in snow removal.
  • Similar resiliency enhancements to the commuter rail network.
  • Revisions to the MBTA’s severe winter weather operations protocols and customer notification practices to ensure more information, customer safety and the protection of equipment and facilities.