Preparedness

Governor Baker Proclaims "Emergency Preparedness Month" and Encourages Individuals and Families to Prepare

The following press release comes from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

CONTACT
Christopher Besse, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

christopher.besse@state.ma.us

FRAMINGHAM, MA – Governor Charlie Baker has proclaimed September 2018 to be Emergency Preparedness Month to highlight the importance of emergency preparedness and to encourage planning for disasters and other types of emergencies. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) will promote public preparedness throughout the month through various outreach initiatives. These efforts are part of a month-long nationwide preparedness campaign to encourage residents to take simple steps to better prepare themselves, their homes, their businesses, and their communities.

 

“The destructive storms that impacted the Commonwealth in March and the recent natural disasters across the country are reminders of the importance of emergency preparedness,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Preparedness improves public health and safety, can help minimize property damage and the economic impacts of disasters, and can accelerate the disaster recovery process.”

 

“The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Department of Public Health and other public safety agencies work closely with our communities in Massachusetts and across all levels of government to strengthen our preparedness for the next disaster,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.“We encourage individuals, families, and businesses to take steps to prepare themselves and their property before the next emergency.”

 

“Massachusetts faces a variety of hazards that can impact those living and working here,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “By being informed of the risks and learning how to take protective actions in an emergency, people can improve both their own safety and community preparedness.”

 

“Emergency Preparedness Month is a time to think about, and prepare for the emergencies that may occur here,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Recent tornadoes this summer have shown the importance of timely emergency alerts and the need for residents to understand how to get alerts and information to stay safe.” 

 

To help individuals and families prepare during Emergency Preparedness Month, MEMA will promote four key preparedness messages: 1) Be Informed and Receive Emergency Alerts, 2) Plan for Emergencies and Disasters, 3) Build an Emergency Kit, and 4) Get Involved in community preparedness and resilience.  MEMA will also stress the importance of considering the unique preparedness needs of children, pets, seniors and people with access and functional needs. 

 

MEMA’s website, www.mass.gov/mema, features resources to help prepare for emergencies and information about the hazards common in Massachusetts. During September, MEMA will also share emergency preparedness tips on Twitter and Facebook, partner with MassDOT to feature signage along highways, and will support various emergency preparedness events across the state.

 

Be Informed

Massachusetts is susceptible to many natural hazards, including floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, severe winter weather, tornadoes, coastal storms, thunderstorms, earthquakes, lightning, extreme temperatures, and man-made disasters, including hazardous materials incidents, nuclear power plant incidents, power outages, transportation accidents, water supply problems, terrorism and more. If you live or work in a coastal community, you should learn whether you are in a designated hurricane evacuation zone. To learn whether your home, business, or school is in a hurricane evacuation zone, use the interactive "Know Your Zone" map on MEMA’s website. Being aware of, and understanding the different types of emergencies and disasters that can occur is a critical part of being prepared and staying safe.

 

Receive Emergency Alerts

Receiving advance warnings for severe weather, timely emergency alerts, and information during a disaster is critical to staying safe during an emergency. Every family should have multiple methods for receiving emergency alerts, including at least one with an audible alert to wake you in the middle of the night. Some of the primary ways to get information during an emergency include:

  • Local notification systems such as “Reverse 9-1-1” or “Code Red.” MEMA urges residents to contact their local Emergency Management Director to find out about local notification systems and how to enroll.
  • MEMA’s Massachusetts Alerts smartphone app.
  • The Emergency Alert System (EAS) which broadcasts information via radio and television.
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) which deliver emergency alerts via cellphone
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios.
  • Traditional media such as TV and radio stations.
  • MEMA’s Twitter or Facebook accounts and the social media accounts of public safety agencies in your community.
  • MEMA's website: www.mass.gov/mema and local government websites.
  • Massachusetts 2-1-1 is the Commonwealth's primary telephone information call center during emergencies. Call 2-1-1 for information about the location of open shelters, transportation or other restrictions due to a declared state of emergency, post disaster assistance, ways to volunteer or donate, or other services you or your family may need.
  • A teletypewriter (TTY) device, which allows individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired use the telephone to communicate.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Broadcasts are used for maritime weather and safety broadcasts.
  • MassDOT variable message boards and private sector digital billboards can be used to provide information during emergencies.

More information about emergency alerting systems can be found online at:https://www.mass.gov/service-details/be-informed-and-receive-emergency-alerts

 

Over the coming weeks, MEMA will issue additional information to promote the themes of: Plan for Emergencies and DisastersBuild an Emergency Kit, andGet Involved in community preparedness and resilience. 

 

Governor Baker recently signed bipartisan legislation to authorize over $2.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and improving recreational opportunities. The legislation enables critical environmental investments at the state and local levels and will put into law essential components of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 establishing an integrated strategy for climate change adaptation across the Commonwealth, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program and the Statewide Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation Plan.

 

About MEMA

MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits and businesses - MEMA ensures the Commonwealth's ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Emergency Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema.

 

Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA.

 

Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the free Massachusetts Alerts app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit:www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.

This press release comes from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

The Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Partner with Nextdoor, the Neighborhood Social Network

The Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Partner with Nextdoor, the Neighborhood Social Network
 Massachusetts Becomes First State in Country to Have Both State Police and Emergency Management Agency on Nextdoor

FRAMINGHAM - The Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) announced today a partnership with Nextdoor (nextdoor.com<http://www.nextdoor.com>), the private social network for neighborhoods, to improve statewide and neighbor-to-neighbor communications. This partnership makes Massachusetts the first state in the country to have both its state police and emergency management on Nextdoor.

Over the past few months, the Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency have been using Nextdoor to build stronger, safer, and more prepared communities with the help of Massachusetts residents. With a positive initial response from Massachusetts neighbors, the agencies are now encouraging more residents to come on board. On Nextdoor, the State Police and MEMA are able to work directly with Nextdoor neighborhoods to increase safety and strengthen virtual neighborhood watch.

"We strive to communicate with the citizens we serve through a variety of methods, including reaching out to them in a variety of social media forums," said Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. "We need to reach people where they live their lives, and our social media platforms, including this one, allow us to provide important public safety information directly to our communities."

Nextdoor has proven to be an essential and well-adopted tool for Massachusetts residents. More than 2,400 Massachusetts neighborhoods are connected on Nextdoor.

"Having the ability to easily communicate with residents is vital to increasing preparedness and resiliency within our Massachusetts communities," said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. "With Nextdoor, we can send information directly into neighborhoods, which allows us to provide residents important preparedness and emergency information."

With Nextdoor, Massachusetts residents can create private neighborhood websites to share information, including neighborhood public safety issues, community events and activities, local services, and even lost pets. The Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency can post information, such as important news, services, programs, free events, and emergency notifications to Nextdoor neighborhoods within the state.

Nextdoor is free for residents, the Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Each Massachusetts neighborhood has its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website and the State Police and MEMA cannot access residents' websites, contact information, or content. All members must verify that they live within the neighborhood before joining Nextdoor. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by Google or other search engines.

The Massachusetts State Police and MEMA join over 2,800 public agencies across the country who are using Nextdoor for Public Agencies to build stronger relationships with their residents.

Those interested in joining their neighborhood's Nextdoor website can visit nextdoor.com<http://www.nextdoor.com> and enter their address. Agencies interested in connecting with residents on Nextdoor can visit nextdoor.com/agency<https://nextdoor.com/agency/>.

December 15th: News Round-Up

Two stories stuck out today regarding the spike in drug-affected babies in NICUs and the impact of disasters on school absence. 

Kalter: Spike in drug-affected infants forces NICUs to get creative, Boston Herald

Summary of above linked article:

UMASS Memorial Medical Center has seen a spike in infants in their NICU with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). While this article is focused on Worcester, this issue is relevant for healthcare providers across the State. At the beginning of 2017, a statewide Interagency Task Force on Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome was established to assess "existing services and programs in the Commonwealth for mothers and newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, identify service gaps, and formulate a cross-system action plan for collecting data, developing outcome goals, and address service and support gaps in the Commonwealth" (Executive Office of Health and Human Services, 2016). To view the Task Force reports and meeting minutes, visit: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/commissions-and-initiatives/task-force-on-newborns-with-nas/. In addition, there are two Powerpoint slides which discuss the State's plan for addressing NAS and Health Policy Commission Investments in NAS.  

References:

Executive Office of Health and Human Services. (2016, November 01). Interagency Task Force on Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/commissions-and-initiatives/task-force-on-newborns-with-nas/


Natural Disasters And The Implications Of Missing So Much School, NPR

Summary of above linked article:

When it comes to natural disasters, the emphasis is often placed on the recovery of a community; however, full recovery is not achieved by simply rebuilding destroyed structures.  As we have seen with the latest hurricane season, students may end up missing substantial amounts of school over time and across wide swaths of an impacted area, "Across nine states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, at least 9 million students missed some amount of school this fall due to a natural disaster, according to an NPR Ed analysis. The analysis compiled missed days from individual public school districts affected by natural disasters as well as estimates given by state education departments" (Samsel & Nadworny, 2017). The impacts of natural disasters on education can be severe and long lasting depending on the length of time students are unable to attend school. Reading this article the question arises, how does education factor into Public Health, disaster preparedness, and emergency management discussions? Stay tuned for more on this topic in the coming weeks. 

References:

Samsel, H., & Nadworny, E. (2017, December 15). Natural Disasters And The Implications Of Missing So Much School. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/12/15/564058043/natural-disasters-and-the-implications-of-missing-so-much-school

IAEM Keynote on Las Vegas Shooting

If ever there was a time for validating collaboration among healthcare partners, the shooting of concert-goers in Las Vegas is it. For 10 minutes, a gunman shot at a country music festival crowd, killing at least 58 and wounding more than 500. Those attending the 65th International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Conference in Long Beach, California had an opportunity to hear from Ron Turner, Division Chief of Emergency Management and Safety with the Henderson, Nevada Fire Department, who spoke about the level of planning that supported a coordinated response among multiple healthcare providers and first responders. 

A combination of standardized EOCs and protocols, development of a rescue task force designed for hot-zone rescue operations, and surge planning among hospitals and public health were all supportive of what Turner describes as a "muscle memory" response. 

Lori Hodges, Larimer County, Colorado, Director of Emergency Management, followed up on the keynote address with a discussion on the cascading effects of an incident and how to develop plans that reflect the reality that incidents do not simply end after a successful response. Incidents may have long lasting effects that, if not planned for, can be just as impactful as the event itself.

It is incumbent upon all of us as members of a health and medical coordinating coalition, to review the recent events in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and Texas and consider how we would respond as a coordinated entity to a similar incident. What plans are in place or need to be in place for HMCC members of all disciplines to respond effectively and cohesively to both man-made and natural disasters? What conversations do we need to have and who needs to be brought to the table? 

These conversations and planning efforts need to continue today in order for there to be a successful, all-hazards, muscle memory response in the future. 

To read the entire article on the IAEM Conference Keynote speech, please click the link below.

Emotional Keynote on Las Vegas Shooting a Highlight at IAEM Conference 

Reference:

McKay, J. (2017, November 15). Emotional Keynote on Las Vegas Shooting a Highlight at IAEM Conference. Emergency Management.

October may be over, but...

You can still access our Scary Simple October tools for collaboration materials here!

 

Collaboration is important, so is ROI

Health and Medical Coordinating Coalitions (HMCCs) are collaborative, regional networks designed to support existing sub-coalition preparedness efforts and encourage regional cohesion of preparedness and response. Unfortunately, it is often hard to understand the impact of these coalitions until a disaster actually happens, so how do we convey return on investment (ROI) to our many stakeholders? 

Try Chris Holt's article in the Harvard Business Review from December 18th, 2014, where he discusses how Hospital Coalitions Save Money and Improve Care through coalition participation. 

Or, take a moment to review the Community-Based Disaster Coalitions Training program designed by the University of South Florida to support coalition building efforts and strengthen existing coalitions. Ask yourself, how can we build stronger connections with our partners and what role can the MRPC play in your day-to-day, as well as emergency operations?

Finally, Prepare Iowa can provide you with the tools to examine Capability-Based Training & Education Resources for Coalitions for all 15 PHEP capabilities. 

Find more Scary Simple Preparedness tools at: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/images/129398

October 3rd: Preparedness Month Materials Are Still Available

Preparedness month may be over, but the materials are relevant year round!

You can still get access to great preparedness materials through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management (MDPH OPEM) by clicking this link: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/emergency-prep/personal-prep/

Here you will find Emergency Preparedness checklists, links for free preparedness materials, tools for individual and family preparedness, and Captain Chaos videos! Most importantly, for those who want to volunteer in their community, this website provides all the information they need to get involved. 

Be prepared year round to support your community, your family, and yourself!

 

September 20th: Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs

Supporting Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs is now, more than ever, at the forefront of our consciousness following the devastating hurricanes, Harvey and Irma. In the spirit of Preparedness Month, here are some resources available to support the needs of those with disabilities and/or access and functional needs: 

Download a copy of the MDPH access and functional needs resource guide: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/emergency-prep/dph-afn-resource-guide.pdf


The Health and Human Services emPOWER Map 2.0 is a great resource to view the monthly total of Medicare recipients with electricity-dependent equipment in your area including ventilators, wheelchairs, and cardiac devices. 


For more information on how to prepare and communicate with this population, visit the Massachusetts DPH website: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/emergency-prep/additional-access-needs/

August 29th: Hurricane Harvey

While Hurricane Harvey may not be directly impacting Massachusetts, this disaster is setting the tone for future discussions on preparing super storms.

Could a Hurricane Harvey like event take place in Massachusetts?

This MassLive article discusses whether an event like Hurricane Harvey could happen here in Massachusetts and what that might look like. 


How can I support people in Houston right now? 

There are many ways. The following tips and options are being publicized by FEMA and the City of Boston on twitter:

 If you’d like to help people affected by  # Harvey  , connect with trusted voluntary organizations by visiting:  https://www.nvoad.org/&nbsp;   Courtesy of FEMA's twitter page

If you’d like to help people affected by #Harvey, connect with trusted voluntary organizations by visiting: https://www.nvoad.org/ 

Courtesy of FEMA's twitter page

 Boston's  #  HelpforHouston    Drive starts today! Please help us fill up our bins at City Hall, Bolling &amp; BCYF Cntrs w/ much-needed items for TX.  Courtesy of Mayor Marty Walsh on Twitter

Boston's #HelpforHouston Drive starts today! Please help us fill up our bins at City Hall, Bolling & BCYF Cntrs w/ much-needed items for TX.

Courtesy of Mayor Marty Walsh on Twitter

Multiple towns in Region 4AB are collecting donation items including:

The Watertown Police Department and the City of Framingham

 


You can follow Hurricane Harvey events on Twitter using hashtags like these:

#Harvey

#HelpforHouston

#HarveyStorm

#HarveyFlood

 

August 1st News Round-Up

MRPC Discipline Highlights:

Boston MedFlight

For the entire article, click HERE

Courtesy of Boston Fox25


White House opioid commission to Trump: “Declare a national emergency” on drug overdoses

Link to the entire Washington Post Article


CONTACT
Christopher Besse, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

christopher.besse@state.ma.us

Know Your Zone and Make an Evacuation Plan

Residents Encouraged to Prepare for Hurricanes

 

FRAMINGHAM, MA – As we enter the portion of the hurricane season that traditionally is most active – August through October -- the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is urging residents who live or work in one of the state’s coastal communities, or near a river or other waterway that is connected to the ocean and may be impacted by storm surge, to learn if they are in a pre-designated Hurricane Evacuation Zone, develop evacuation plans, and be prepared to evacuate areas that may be inundated with flood waters as a result of an approaching hurricane or tropical storm.

 

“Evacuations in advance of a hurricane or tropical storm making landfall may be necessary due to the danger and threat of storm surge,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Residents and visitors in coastal areas are urged to learn if they are in an evacuation zone and to make evacuation plans in advance of a storm.”

 

Know Your Evacuation Zone

Massachusetts has established hurricane evacuation zones in each of the state’s coastal communities.  These zones -- Zones A, B and C -- identify the areas of coastal communities that are at risk for storm surge flooding from tropical storms or hurricanes. If evacuations are necessary because of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane, local or state officials will use the hurricane evacuation zones to call for people living, working or vacationing in these areas to evacuate. It is important to note that even areas not directly along a coastline may be at risk for storm surge flooding during a tropical storm or hurricane. Find out if you live, work or vacation in a hurricane evacuation zone by visiting the ‘Know Your Zone’ interactive map located on MEMA’s website at www.mass.gov/knowyourzone.

 

Make an Evacuation Plan

If you are located in a designated evacuation zone, you should be prepared to evacuate well before a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall.  The rule of thumb is that evacuations should be complete before the onset of tropical storm force winds.

·        Know how to receive emergency information, including recommendations or orders to evacuate.

o   Sign up for your community’s emergency alerting system.

o   Monitor news broadcasts.

o   Download the free Massachusetts Alerts smartphone app from MEMA.

o   Follow MEMA on Twitter or Facebook.

o   Follow your local emergency management agency, and other local public safety agencies on social media.

·        Make a Family Emergency Plan. If you must evacuate, know where you will go, how you will get there, what you will bring.  Make sure that your plan includes provisions for children, seniors, and family members with disabilities or medical issues. 

·        Include your pets in your Family Emergency Plan. While service animals will be allowed inside shelters, household pets are not allowed in all shelters. Go to MEMA’s Pets and Animals in Emergencies webpage for additional tips. Remember: “If you go, they go!

·        Assemble an emergency kit. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry kit that you can take with you in case you must evacuate.

·        If you or a family member may require special assistance to evacuate, ask local officials about special assistance programs or registries.

·        If you undergo routine medical treatments or receive home health services, work with your service providers in advance to understand their emergency plans and to find backup providers that you might use in an emergency.

·        Keep your car fueled if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during an emergency, or unable to pump gas during power outages.

·        If you do not have personal transportation or a way to evacuate (such as public transportation), make transportation arrangements with family, friends or your local government.

 

If you live, work or vacation in an evacuation zone, listen closely to local and state officials and weather forecasts before and during a hurricane or tropical storm for evacuation information. If evacuations are necessary, local and state officials may use the evacuation zones (Zone A, B or C) to identify areas to be evacuated. If local or state officials call for an evacuation of your zone, follow their directions and evacuate to a safe area. 

 

For more information, see MEMA’s Hurricane Safety and Evacuation Safety Tips webpages.

 

About MEMA

MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits and businesses - MEMA ensures the Commonwealth's ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Emergency Preparedness, go towww.mass.gov/mema.

 

Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA.

 

Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the free Massachusetts Alerts app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit:www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.

 

MEMA: Hurricane Preparedness Week Proclaimed

Governor Charlie Baker has declared July 16-22, 2017 to be Hurricane Preparedness Week in Massachusetts. This effort is intended to highlight the Commonwealth's vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as the impacts these storms can have on homes, businesses, and infrastructure. 

‘It is never too early to start preparing yourself, family, home and business for a tropical storm or hurricane,’ said Governor Charlie Baker. ‘As we enter into hurricane season, major storms can occur at any time, and making emergency and evacuation plans now can minimize damage and the impact on public safety’
— Governor Charlie Baker

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2017 seasonal outlook predicts an above-normal number of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes this season. 

‘It is important to remember that regardless of the number of storms this season, it only takes one storm to cause devastating impacts in the state,’ said Public Safety and Security Secretary Dan Bennett, ‘especially if you are not prepared when it hits.’
— Dan Bennett, Public Safety and Security Secretary

Know Your Evacuation Zone

Massachusetts has established hurricane evacuation zones in each of the state’s coastal communities.  These zones, designated as Zone A, Zone B and Zone C, identify the areas of coastal communities that are at risk for storm surge flooding from tropical storms or hurricanes. If evacuations are necessary because of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane, local or state officials will use the hurricane evacuation zones to call for people living, working or vacationing in these areas to evacuate. It is important to note that even areas not directly along a coastline may be at risk for storm surge flooding during a tropical storm or hurricane. Find out if you live, work or vacation in a hurricane evacuation zone by visiting the ‘Know Your Zone’ interactive map located on MEMA’s website at www.mass.gov/knowyourzone.


New Storm Surge Forecast Products

New for 2017, the National Weather Service will issue storm surge watches and warnings to alert residents of areas that have a significant risk of life-threatening inundation from an approaching tropical storm or hurricane.

Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical cyclone, and it can occur at different times and at different locations from a storm’s hazardous winds. While most coastal residents can remain in their homes and be safe from a tropical cyclone’s winds, evacuations are often needed to keep people safe from storm surge. These watches and warnings will help local and state officials make better informed evacuation decisions, and will help people who are in harm’s way because they live or work along, or near the coast, better understand their need to evacuate in order to avoid the deadly risks associated with storm surge flooding.


Make an Emergency Plan

It’s important to have plans in case your family needs to take action before or during a storm:

  • Communications Plan — Create a family communications plan so you can stay in touch and find each other in an emergency.
  • Evacuation Plan — Create a family evacuation plan that details where you will go, how you will get there, what you will bring, and what you will do with your pets.
  • Shelter-in-Place Plan — Make sure your family has a plan to shelter in place, which includes stockpiling items you will need to stay comfortable while you are at home. Be prepared to shelter in place for at least 72 hours. 
  • Make sure your emergency plans address the needs of all of your family members, including seniors, children, individuals with medical needs, and people with disabilities.

Have an Emergency Kit

Hurricanes can cause extended power outages, flooding, and blocked roads. You should have an emergency kit to sustain yourself and your family for at least 72 hours in case you lose power, are stranded in your home, or nearby stores are closed or damaged. While it is important to customize your kit to meet your family’s unique needs, every emergency kit should include bottled water, food, a flashlight, a radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, sanitation items, clothing, cash and a charged cell phone. Depending on your family’s needs, emergency kits should also include medications, extra eyeglasses, medical equipment and supplies, children’s items such as diapers and formula, food and supplies for pets and service animals, and other items you or your family members might need during a disaster.


Stay Informed

As a storm approaches, monitor media reports and follow instructions from public safety officials with these tools:

  • Massachusetts Alerts App — Download the free Massachusetts Alerts app for your iOS or Android device. The app provides tropical storm and hurricane warnings, as well as important public safety alerts and information from MEMA.
  • Social Media — Follow MEMA on Twitter (@MassEMA) and Facebook for emergency updates during hurricanes.
  • Mass 2-1-1 — Mass 2-1-1 is the state non-emergency call center for disasters. Call 2-1-1 to find out about shelter locations, travel restrictions, disaster assistance programs, and more. Mass 2-1-1 is free and available 24/7.
  • Local Emergency Notification Systems — Check with your local emergency management director to see if your community uses an emergency notification system and how to sign up.

For more information, visit the Hurricane Safety Tips section of MEMA’s website athttp://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/emergencies/hurricanes/.


All information provided in this posting comes from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for release on July 17th, 2017.