At Occupy Boston, a working group composed of occupiers and several faculty members from local universities has been working to winterize the Occupy camp. Through a combination of preparation, vigilance, and medical assistance, the occupiers will prepare for the winter so that everybody can remain safe, healthy, and comfortable.
The Occupy Boston camp is currently largely composed of smaller, three-season tents along with several larger, military grade tents. As the smaller tents are not able to protect against extreme cold or heavy winter precipitation, they must be replaced before winter sets in. Additionally, the tents are spaced far too closely to comply with fire regulations. At this point, the Winterization working group has proposed a solution that includes the consolidation and reorganization of the tents.
Several military grade, Arctic-rated tents will be purchased with donated money and set up to replace the current tents. These tents are far stronger, more insulated, and better waterproofed than the current tents, making them a safer and more comfortable way to weather the winter.
In addition, volunteers from MIT and Harvard are hard at work designing strong, lightweight shelters to shield occupiers from the New England winter. These structures will also allow more people to live together, making it possible for occupiers to better keep an eye on each other’s health and enforce public safety guidelines.
Nights are the most dangerous times for people living without proper shelter in the winter. To ensure the health of occupiers, the Winterization group is organizing a winter safety system in coordination with the Safety and Medical working groups. On cold winter nights, the Safety and Medical groups will run periodic checks inside tents to ensure that everyone is safe. In the event that somebody becomes hypothermic, they will be brought to the medical tent to be given insulating layers and warm drinks. In a worst case scenario, the medical team will call for an ambulance to transport the hypothermic occupier to the hospital.
One potential stumbling block in the winterization plan, according to the occupiers, is the actions of the police, who refuse to allow new materials into the camp, despite an injunction against the city preventing eviction (except under extreme circumstances). This frustrates occupiers, who need these new materials to make the camp safer.
The police officers stationed at Dewey Square have conducted their jobs largely without violence and are only following orders to blockade the occupiers’ site. Ultimately, any responsibility for this policy rests up the chain of command, not with the officers themselves.
The occupiers hope that the judge hearing the case will allow the occupiers to stay in Dewey Square, as well as enable the occupiers to winterize their camp in order to stay safe and healthy.