Hurricanes/Tropical Storm

October 13th: Statewide Announcements

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE THIRD HUMAN CASE OF WEST NILE VIRUS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Residents urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites

BOSTON (October 13, 2017) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced the third human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. The patient is a resident of Middlesex County in her 60s who was confirmed with WNV by testing completed by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory. The patient was hospitalized during her illness but has returned home.
 
“The unusually warm weather we have had recently has prolonged the mosquito season,” said DPH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “Risk of infection will continue until we have a hard freeze and is greatest during warm and humid days. That means it continues to be important for people to take steps to avoid mosquito bites including using repellents, using clothing to reduce exposed skin, and moving indoors when you notice the mosquitoes biting you.”
 
There have been two other cases of WNV infection in people this year: a resident of Bristol County in his 50s and a resident of Hampden County in his 60s.  Both individuals were hospitalized during their illnesses. There have been no deaths this year from WNV.
 
In 2016, there were 16 human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
 
People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.
 
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)], or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
 
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitos. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
 
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitos away from your skin.
 
More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page atwww.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.


US Department of Health and Human Services Hurricane Recovery Updates

Updates on the US DHHS programs below:

  1. CMS (Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP) coverage and waivers: our CMS colleagues have provided the attached “Hurricane FAQs” document (updated yesterday), to assist state and local partners in providing information and assistance.
  2. For the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP), the main EPAP landing page includes an overview of the program, and updated specific information to assist individuals in and from “EPAP Affected Areas”:

HURRICANE FAQs

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/    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 & 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.