Bristol's emergency crews ready for the Blizzard of 2013

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On Thursday afternoon, town administrator Tony Teixeira met with Bristol’s emergency management team and got the reassurance he was looking for that they were ready for whatever ‘Nemo’ has to offer.

“There’s such a good team in place. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Mr. Teixeira said of the coordination among the police, fire and public works departments.

At noon on Friday, Mr. Teixeira monitored the conditions outside his office, as well as through the televised press conference that Governor Lincoln Chafee held at RIEMA headquarters.

“It looks a little different from this seat,” Mr. Teixeira said of his role as the director of public safety.

At the DPW, director Jim Galuska looked relaxed, but was well aware of what the next 24-hours could look like.

“We’re all here, all night. Nobody leaves,” he said.

Inside the garages, the DPW’s fleet of plows and sand trucks were standing by waiting for the snow to arrive.

“Around noon we’ll head out and get some sand on the roads,” Mr. Galuska said.

If the storm strikes with the full force as forecast, plows will work to keep the main roads passable. The secondary roads, Mr. Galuska said, will have to wait. For police, fire or rescue calls, the departments will remain in contact through radio and cell phones to ensure that plows can meet emergency responders and clear a path to their destination, if necessary.

“It’s a coordinated effort,” Mr. Galuska said.

As of 3 p.m., the Bristol volunteer fire department would be “fully manned,” said Fire Chief Bob Martin. Firefighters were prepared to stay at their stations through the night to be ready.

“This is going to be a little different from the (snowstorms) the last couple of years,” Chief Martin said.

Once the storm is over, Chief Martin also asks residents who live near fire hydrants to help out by shoveling the snow away so firefighters can have access to them.

Police will begin to enforce the parking ban that went into effect at noon on Friday, ticketing and towing vehicles that remain on the streets.

If residents need to report power outages or other non-emergency situations, they are to call the police department at 253-6900. The department has two dispatchers on duty to handle the anticipated influx of calls.

As the storm progresses, and if there are power outages, fallen trees or other critical situations, the emergency management team will open emergency shelters to accommodate displaced residents. More importantly, said Mr. Teixeira, avoiding situations is the best way to be safe during what is being called the Blizzard of 2013.

“Stay indoors. Don’t travel if you don’t need to,” he said. “It just makes a lot of sense.”

bristol blizzard

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.