Preparedness Tidbits

Emergency Rest Center Guide

posted Jul 2, 2014, 7:35 PM by Mary Kersell

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council has shared the recently completed Emergency Rest Center Guide and other related templates. These documents are a result of the latest work of WRHSAC’s  Faith Community Partnering for Emergency Preparedness project. The Emergency Rest Center guide can be adapted by any Faith Based or other organizations that are able to provide Rest Center services in response to disasters or weather events.

Find hyperlinks to the templates here.

Hurricane Information from MEMA

posted Jul 2, 2014, 7:34 AM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 7:41 AM ]

Although the Hurricane Season in New England is defined as June 1st to November 30th, 75% of the over 40 tropical systems that have impacted our region in the past century have struck during the months of August and September. The last severe hurricane to hit Massachusetts was Hurricane Bob in August 1991. Bob, a Category 2 Hurricane, with winds between 91 and 110mph, caused almost $1 billion in damage. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd, although weakened to the strength of a tropical storm prior to its arrival in New England, demonstrated that these storms are not merely ‘coastal events’. Most of that storm’s impact was rain and flood related, causing severe damage as far west as the Berkshires. As with Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, some of our most devastating flooding associated with these storms has occurred in Central and Western Massachusetts. Up to 17” of rain fell in association with the Hurricane of 1938 and 25” of rain fell over a 5-day period in August 1955 from Connie & Diane, with the City of Westfield received 13.15” in a single day! See our New England Hurricanes of Note webpage for more information on Hurricanes and tropical storms that have impacted Massachusetts.

Massachusetts lies in the unenviable position of receiving all three “Hurricane Threats”, depending upon the track and landfall location: 1) Coastal inundation due to storm surge 2) Widespread inland river flooding and 3) Widespread wind damage far inland, These threats and the history of storms demonstrates that the entire Commonwealth should take precautions for hurricanes.


Hurricane topics: Before a HurricaneDuring a HurricaneAfter a HurricaneHurricane Evacuation Zones , Emergency Kit ,Preparing Your Home and Property for a Hurricane , Evacuation , Pets and Animals in Emergencies , Power Outages During Warm Weather , Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane

Before a Hurricane 

  • Understand the terms used by meteorologists:
    • Tropical Depression – An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38mph or less.  Sustained winds are defined as one-minute average wind measured at about 33’ above the surface.
    • Tropical Storm – An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73mph.
    • Hurricane – An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and a maximum sustained winds of 75mph or higher.
    • Storm Surge – An abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane and it poses a significant threat for drowning. Coastal areas are vulnerable to storm surge, including areas away from the immediate shoreline. The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves can result in loss of life, buildings destroyed, beach and dune erosion and road and bridge damage along the coast. Tropical storms, all categories of hurricanes, and post-tropical cyclones can all cause life-threatening storm surge. Because of dangerous nature of storm surge, everyone is encouraged to see the Hurricane Evacuation Zones webpage to check their evacuation zone. Learn more about storm surge at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/ or NOAA's Storm Surge Can Be Deadly brochure links to PDF file.
    • Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage from the wind but does NOT address the potential for other hurricane-related impacts, such as storm surge and rainfall-induced flooding.
      • Tropical Storm - Winds 39-73 mph. These winds can produce some damage to buildings and trees which can cause significant power outages.
      • Category 1 Hurricane - Winds 74-95 mph. Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
      • Category 2 Hurricane - Winds 96-110 mph. Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
      • Category 3 Hurricane - Winds 111-129 mph.  Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
      • Category 4 Hurricane - Winds 130-156 mph. Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
      • Category 5 Hurricane - Winds 157 mph and up. Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
  • Monitor local Media weather reports.  Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio with battery backup and a tone-alert feature, and a battery-powered commercial radio and extra batteries.
  • Learn the particular hurricane risks for your area
    • If you live or work in one of Massachusetts’s coastal communities or near a river or other waterway that is connected to the ocean, you should are encouraged to "Know Your Zone" by knowing whether your home or business is in a pre-designated Hurricane Evacuation Zone. See the Hurricane Evacuation Zoneswebpage to check your evacuation zone. If you live or work in an evacuation zone you should listen to local and state officials and weather forecasts before and during a hurricane for evacuation information. If evacuations are necessary, local and state officials may use the evacuation zones (Zone A or Zone B) to identify areas to be evacuated.  If local or state officials call for an evacuation of a zone that you live in or work in, you should follow their directions and evacuate to a safe area. If you live or work in an evacuation zone, you should plan for and be prepared to evacuate during a hurricane as part of your emergency plan. To be safe, you should be prepared for hurricane impacts one category higher than the storm being forecast.
    • Citizens in all communities, including inland communities are at risk for the hazards of hurricanes such as flooding and destructive winds. As we saw in 2011 with Tropical Storm Irene, due to the fact that Massachusetts is a relatively small state, depending upon the storm’s track, the entire Commonwealth could be severely impacted by a tropical storm or hurricane. Tropical Storm Irene caused devastating flooding in Central and Western Massachusetts and other storms like the Hurricane of 1938 and Connie and Diane in 1955 also caused significant flooding in inland parts of the state. Citizens in ALL parts of the state should be prepared for flooding and damaging winds that can cause power outages.
    • Visit www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-888-379-9531 to learn more about flood risks, flood maps, flood zones, and flood insurance. Consider buying flood insurance, even if your property is not in a flood zone. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
    • Talk to your local emergency management director about the risks in your community and neighborhood.
  • Ask your local emergency management director about local public shelters and planned community evacuation routes. (See Evacuation)
  • Get your family prepared for a hurricane by looking at the tips on our Family Hurricane Preparedness webpage. This includes building an Emergency Kit, creating a family emergency communications plan and staying informed of hazards.
  • Get your home ready for hurricanes. Trim trees, clear clogged gutters, secure outdoor items and furniture, learn how to shut off gas and water lines and consider plywood covers for windows and doors. See more tips on the Preparing Your Home and Property for a Hurricane webpage.
  • Homeowners in coastal communities can prepare their homes for hurricanes and other coastal hazards be reading theMA Homeowner's Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards pdf format of MA Homeowner's Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards  file size13MB
  • Make a record of your personal property for insurance purposes. Take photos or a video of the interior and exterior of your home. Include personal belongings in your inventory. Keep an itemized list of your furniture, clothing and valuables to assist adjusters in case of a claim and support the list with photos or video.
  • If you do not have them, obtain property, health and life insurance. Review your existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. Store important documents such as insurance policies, deeds, property records and other important papers in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box away from your home. Many people also keep a copy in a watertight box in their home and in their  Many people back up important documents online.
  • Be prepared for storm related power outages. Tropical storms and hurricanes have left hundreds of thousands of people without power for days or weeks. See MEMA's Power Outages During Warm Weather webpage for tips and information
  • Fuel your automobile.  Service stations may be closed during and after the storm.  If you do not have a car, make arrangements for transportation with friends, relatives, or with your local Emergency Management Office.
  • Be prepared in case you are asked to evacuate during a hurricane. See our Evacuation webpage for more information.
  • Be prepared in case you need to Shelter-in-place during a hurricane. See our Shelter in Place webpage for more information.
  • During a hurricane the Cape Cod Emergency Traffic Plan (CCETP) may be implemented. The CCETP has been developed to facilitate the egress of a high volume of traffic from Cape Cod in the event of a hurricane or other potential high hazards, particularly during peak tourist season. It is important to emphasize that this is NOT an evacuation plan. Although there are a number of areas of the Cape that would evacuate from low-lying, flood prone areas to higher ground, many of these individuals would access local shelters and not necessarily leave the Cape.
  • Prepare for a hurricane using your cellphone, computer and other technology by visiting our Use Technology to Get Ready for Emergencies webpage.
  • Plan for your pets before a hurricane occurs. Consider where you may bring them if you need to evacuate and have some pet supplies as part of your emergency kit. Learn more about how to prepare your pets for emergencies on ourPets and Animals in Emergencies webpage.
  • Business owners should also get prepared for hurricanes. See the Business Resources webpage for more information.
  • If you have a boat, get it ready for a hurricane by planning to remove it from the water or if you cannot, to secure it to reduce damage. See MEMA's Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane webpage.

During a Hurricane  

  • Monitor media reports.
  • If requested to do so, evacuate immediately. (See Evacuation webpage for more tips and information.). Take yourEmergency Kit with you.
  • If you evacuate, tell others where you are going.
  • If you are not required or unable to evacuate, stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.  Keep curtains and blinds closed. 
  • Do not be fooled by a lull in the storm, you could be in the eye of the storm and winds will resume.
  • In anticipation of loss of power, turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting and keep the door closed.
  •  (Power Outages During Warm Weather )
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • In strong winds, take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
  • Close all interior doors. Secure and brace exterior doors.
  • In a two-story residence, go to an interior first-floor room, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • In a multi-story building, go to the first or second floors, staying away from windows.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or other object.
  • Avoid using the telephone except for serious emergencies.

After a Hurricane 

  • If you have been evacuated, do not return to your home until you have been directed to do so by state or local officials.
  • Keep tuned to local media for information about such things as caring for your household, where to find medical help, and applying for financial assistance.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767 or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site: www.safeandwell.org
  • Do not become a spectator.  Unnecessary travel into the most impacted areas could hinder the efforts of Public Safety officials.
  • Drive only when and where necessary.  Streets may be filled with debris or flooded.  Closed roads are for your protection, in that they may be flooded, weakened and could collapse.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Upon returning, do not turn on any electronic equipment until the electricity has been safely restored.
  • Be sure to check all electronic equipment for water damage.  If you are uncertain, throw them away.  It is better to be safe than risk electrocution.
  • Watch for loose or dangling powerlines. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live.  Never attempt to touch or moved downed lines.  Keep children and pets away from them.
  • If there is structural damage to your home or downed trees in the yard, use care.
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate you home. 
  • Do not call your 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency. Call 2-1-1 for information or questions.
  • Use bottled water until local officials have determined the safety of the water supply. 
  • Guard against spoiled food.  If the power was disrupted, food in the refrigerator may have spoiled. Freezers can keep food for several days if unopened. Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator.  Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
  • If there is property damage, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures or video of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Do not turn your yard into a dump.  Have debris hauled away before it causes additional health hazards.
  • Yards that have been contaminated by flooded sewage systems should be disinfected by a liberal application of lime.  Children and animals should be kept away from limed areas until the lime is no longer visible.
  • If your home, apartment or business has suffered damage, call your insurance company or agent who handles your flood insurance right away to file a claim. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) through the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA).  The NFIP makes flood insurance available in communities that adopt and enforce ordinances to reduce flood damage.
  • Be a good neighbor.  Make sure those around you are safe and have the help that they need.
  • Be prepared for a rough time.  Recovering from a hurricane is a big job.  It is taxing on the body and spirit.  The after-effects of this type of disaster on you and your family may last a long time.  Consult a health professional on how to recognize and care for anxiety, stress and fatigue. For free disaster crisis counseling, call 1-800-985-5990.

 

Welcome to the new HPHPC fiscal agent: Northampton Health Department

posted Jul 2, 2014, 7:23 AM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 7:06 PM ]

After 10 years at the helm, the Easthampton Board of Health is stepping down as the fiscal agent for the Hampshire Public Health Preparedness Coalition. The Coalition is extremely grateful for the exceptional service that Easthampton has provided our member communities over the years. The Health Agents, Dennis Lacourse and Jackie Duda have always been available to support and assist communities and both have worked diligently on behalf of our coalition.

Now we want to extend a warm welcome to the Northampton Health Department, and Health Director Merridith O'Leary, as our new fiduciary. We are looking forward to working closely with her and the Northampton Board of Health over the coming year’s.

 Merridith can be reached at 587-1214 and moleary@northamptonma.gov.

Kelly Constantine, our very able Administrative Assistant will have a desk at the Northampton Health Department on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can reach her at  (413) 587-1314 phone  and (413) 587-1221 fax,  after August 5th. Her new email address is: kconstantine@northamptonma.gov.

New Executive Committee Meeting Location

The Executive Committee will be meeting in the Northampton City Hall Hearing Room  on the second floor of City Hall, 210 Main Street. There is access from Main Street, the rear of the building and handicap access from Crafts Avenue. Parking is available on Main Street (metered) , in the Round House Plaza long term lot behind the Municipal Building (where the Health Dept is.) and in the Parking Garage.  Access to the  elevator in the Municipal Building is from the back door of City Hall.

Ed Lesko

Chair, HPHPC Executive Committee


 

Together, We're Ready: DPH Preparedness Month Campaign

posted Sep 4, 2013, 10:26 AM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 7:28 AM ]

DPH has developed a media campaign and materials for you to use during Preparedness month (attached) using the theme “Together, We’re Ready”. The materials include an overview, graphics, posters, a brochure, a press release template, and social media materials. These are also available on a new DPH website http://www.Mass.gov/dph/ready . Consider adding information to your community websites, Facebook pages, twitter feeds. You can also print posters/brochures for the Town Hall, BOH office or public library. A video is available for local cable TV (see letter to partners for more information). Contact your local cable and encourage them to use it.Updated material should be ready by mid-August. In the meantime think about how to involve your community in preparedness activities.

 The purpose of the month-long campaign is to  encourage residents, families and communities to make plans and prepare for severe weather, natural disasters or other emergency events.

 Different themes will be used each week:

Week 1: Get Ready - Individual and Family Preparedness

Week 2: Get Involved - Join the Response

Week 3: We’re All in this Together - Considerations for Individuals with Access and Functional Needs

Week 4: Get Vaccinated - Fight the Flu

 p

 You can also add the logo to your signature (see example below). First copy the logo from the attached documents (Signature Block) ….then….In outlook go to options….signature….edit signature. Look for the symbol of the mountain and click. This will let you add a picture/logo. Insert the file. Voila!

 

MEMA ISSUES HURRICANE SAFETY TIPS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

posted Aug 26, 2013, 7:32 AM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 7:33 AM ]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            CONTACT: Peter Judge, MEMA PIO

August 25, 2013                                                                                                        (508) 820-2002

 FRAMINGHAM, MA – “Our business community should be aware of the potential of hurricane damage here in the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz. “Every business owner should prepare or review their own Preparedness and Recovery Plans. ‘Business as usual’ will not happen without good planning.”

 

·       Understand the risks and hazards that your business may encounter and learn about specific types of disasters with the resources at MEMA’s Be Informed webpage

·       Review your property insurance with your insurance agent. Take photographs or make a video of your business establishment, both inside and outside.

·       Determine and establish a written Hurricane Preparedness Plan for your business and its contents. Coordinate this plan with local and state officials.  Specify the conditions under which the plan will be implemented.

·       Test your plan, reviewing it annually. Establish an employee-training program of your Hurricane Plan.

·       Make plans for protection of your computer files, including an off-site back-up system to secure and safely store data.

·       Protect corporate records, keeping duplicates at an alternate location.

·       Consider a stockpile of emergency supplies for your business. Things like water, food, battery powered radios, flashlights, and other items found in home emergency kits can tailored for the needs of your business in case employees are stranded at work.

·       Well in advance, acquire emergency protective equipment and supplies. Heavy plastic sheeting, duct tape, sandbags, emergency generator, chain saw and large pieces of plywood will help protect your property.

·       As storms approach, remember to bring in display racks and other objects, such as trashcans that might cause damage if airborne.  Remove outdoor signs, especially those that swing or are portable.

·       Move merchandise, equipment or furniture away from windows or skylights. Elevate boxes or equipment, if possible. 

·       Consider if there is non-critical electrical appliances and equipment that you might turn off if power outages are anticipated.  An ensuing power surge, once power is restored, could be damaging to connected equipment. For critical appliances and equipment, consider surge protectors, batteries, alternative power supplies and other items to protect your critical equipment.

·       As part of your plan, develop a crisis communications plan to detail how you will communicate with employees, local authorities, customers, suppliers and others during and after a disaster.

·       Develop employee notification procedures and methods to keep employees updated on the status of the business, when and where to report to work, etc. As part of this plan, consider having multiple methods for notification and information sharing in case methods are interrupted by damage or utility outages. Consider a hotline where employees can call in for information or a check in system for employee to let the company know their status.

·       Develop an employee identification system, such as picture ID badges. This may help employees gain access to the area after a hurricane.

·       As part of your plans, consider transportation challenges that employees may face that sometimes occur during emergencies such as public transit system closure, travel bans, shelter-in-place orders, etc and develop contingency plans.

·       Prepare for utility disruptions. Businesses are usually dependent on electricity, gas, telecommunications, internet, phone, water, and sewer services. Plan ahead for extended disruptions to these services and speak with service providers about potential alternatives and backup options such as generators.

·       If possible, make arrangements to pay employees in cash.  It may be several days before banking institutions are operational.

 

FEMA's Ready Business program and website (http://www.ready.gov/business) has a variety of resources for business preparedness and planning including templates, planning documents, and links to a free online assessment tool. FEMA's "Prepare for Emergencies Now. Information for Businesses" brochure. The Small Business Administration also has resource on their Emergency Preparedness webpage.

 

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Also, continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMAFacebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA. Download the free ping4alert! app to your Smartphone to receive important weather alerts and emergency messages from MEMA.  Easy instructions are available at www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.

 

EVACUATION STEPS FOR A HURRICANE

posted Jul 15, 2013, 6:18 PM by Mary Kersell

MEMA Offers Tips to Help Prepare You and Your Family

 FRAMINGHAM, MA - “If evacuation is necessary for an approaching hurricane, or any type of natural or man-made emergency, the key is that you and your family respond quickly and responsibly,” states Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz. “Unlike many types of storms, hurricanes are closely tracked by the Media, for as long as a week before reaching New England, therefore everyone is usually afforded enough warning and should not be taken off guard if directed to take precautionary steps, including an evacuation.” 

 Being Alerted

State or local Public Safety officials may alert you by one or several methods.  Learn what methods are utilized in your community from your community’s Emergency Management Director. The various methods could include:

    

  • Local notification systems such as “Reverse 9-1-1 type” systems. These systems usually require opt-in/registration in advance, so check with your local public safety officials about which system they use and how to register. 
  •  Local notifications from public safety vehicles public address announcements or door to door notifications. 
  • Outdoor sirens. 
  • Commercial media. 
  • MEMA’s Ping4 smartphone app
  • MEMA’s Twitter or Facebook accounts or the social media accounts of a public safety agency in your community. 
  •  The Emergency Alert System (EAS) via radio and television. 
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts
  • All Hazards National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. 
  • U.S. Coast Guard Marine Broadcast 
  • A message on Teletypewriters (TTY).

 Planning for Evacuation

  • Talk to your local emergency management director about the risks in your community and neighborhood. Learn proposed evacuation routes and locations of public shelters. In addition, if you or a family member requires special assistance to evacuate ask about special assistance programs or registries.
  • Specifically for hurricanes, citizens in coastal community can view the Hurricane Inundation Maps for their community to determine risk of potential inundation for personal and family planning and preparedness. Those who live or work in inundation areas should plan for and be prepared to evacuate during a hurricane and should listen to local public safety officials and weather forecasts before and during a hurricane for evacuation information.
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan of what you would do if asked to evacuate. Consider where you would go, how you would get there, what you would bring. In your planning, consider different scales of evacuation – neighborhood, town, county, etc.
  • If you undergo routine medical treatments or receive home health services, work with your service provider in advance to understand their emergency plan and to find backup providers that you might use in an emergency.
  •  If you do not have personal transportation or a way to evacuate, make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
  • eep your car fueled if evacuation seems likely.  Gas stations may be closed during an emergency, or unable to pump gas during power outages.
  • Assemble an Emergency Kit. Realize that if you have to evacuate you might not be able to bring your entire kit with you, so have the key items you might need in a portable “Go Bag” to take with you.
  • Know how to shut off your home’s electricity, gas and water supplies at main switches and valves.
  • Make a plan in advance of what you would do with your pets if you have to evacuate. While service animals will be allowed inside shelters household pets are not allowed in all shelters. Consider additional options for your pet, such as staying with relatives or friends, a kennel, or pet friendly hotels. Have pet supplies, medicines, carriers and tags for your pet. See MEMA’s Pets and Animals in Emergencies webpage. Remember: “If you go, they go!”  
  • If you require accessible transportation to evacuate an area, identify resources both public and private.

What to do if asked to evacuate

  • Gather all persons and pets in the house together.
  • Household members outside the area may be advised not to return during an evacuation. They may be directed to a shelter or reception center where you can join them.
  • Take only essential items with you (consider your needs and the needs of your family members when deciding what items to take).
  • Do not call your 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency. Call 2-1-1 for information or questions.
  • Stay tuned to your Emergency Alert System radio station or other news media to get updated information.
  • If you need a ride or assistance, contact friends, family, neighbors, or others who can assist you. If you are unable to obtain assistance, listen to your radio or TV for information on provisions being made to assist those who need assistance in evacuating. If necessary, contact your local emergency management office to let them know who you are, where you live, and what kind of assistance you need. Do not wait until the last minute to call for assistance as local authorities may be unable to assist you.
  • If designated evacuation routes are established, follow the routes - other routes might be blocked and expect traffic.
What to take with you

Think of essential items (consider your needs and the needs of your family members when deciding what items to take). Remember you may be away from home for a few hours to a few days.

  • Clothing for several days.Personal hygiene items (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
  • Prescription medicines, medical equipment, assistive devices/aids and important medical records.
  • Cell phone and charger.
  • Identification and important papers.
  •  Checkbook, credit card and cash.
  •  Baby supplies.
  • Food and water for your trip.
  • Blankets, pillows, and towels (particularly if headed to a public shelter).
  • Contact information of friends/family/ physicians/service providers, and your insurance agency.
  • A map and/or GPS device (you may end up far from home and detours are common).
  •  An emergency kit for your vehicle.
  • Your pet(s) and pet essential pet supplies.
  • Any other items or information unique to your needs as emergency shelters might not have the items you need.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Also, continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA. Download the free ping4alert! app to your Smartphone to receive important weather alerts and emergency messages from MEMA.  Easy instructions are available at www.mass.gov/mema/mobileappp.

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NEW DPH Policy for Use of PHEP Funds to Travel to Conferences

posted Jun 25, 2013, 10:28 PM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Jul 1, 2014, 2:55 PM ]


Crisis Counselling and Mental Health Support Resources

posted May 14, 2013, 2:45 PM by Mary Kersell


While the Boston Marathon is primarily a Boston/Metrowest event; runners, volunteers, and spectators gather from across the state, nation and world to participate in this historic occasion. While many from the Boston area were either directly injured or are suffering from effects in the aftermath of the traumatic events, there are also individuals and groups from across the state that were impacted.

   Recognizing this, I am in touch to let you know that there are a variety of crisis counseling and mental health support resources available to individuals and groups affected by the Marathon bombings and subsequent events. What follows are some suggestions for telephone, online, and in-person support options. For the present requests and questions on mental health and crisis counseling are being directed to the Boston Medical Intelligence Center (MIC) at  mic@bostonems.org or 617-343-6920. Planning is underway for transitional and long term support and I will be in touch if and when any points of contact are changed.  We will continue to gather information on resources, and will provide updates as available.

   

Telephone Support

 

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline 800-985-5990 can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy.  This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is also available via SMS (text TalkWithUs to 66746) to anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of this event.

   

City of Boston Healthline 617-534-5050 has counselors available 9AM-5PM from 4/22-4/26.

  

 Online Support

 

American Red Cross’s Disaster Mental Health Services

 

http://www.redcross.org/find-help/disaster-recovery/recovering-emotionally

 

  SAMHSA Disaster Distress

 

http://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/

  

Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress - This tip sheet outlines the common signs of stress after a disaster and provides stress reduction strategies:  http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/NMH05-0209R/NMH05-0209R.pdf 

 

Dealing with the Effects of Trauma: A Self-Help Guide - This guide provides more in-depth information on recovering from a traumatic event and is geared toward those whose reactions may be lingering:  http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Dealing-with-the-Effects-of-Trauma-A-Self-Help-Guide/SMA-3717 

 

Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth Cope after a Disaster or Traumatic Event - This fact sheet helps parents and teachers recognize and address problems in children and teens affected by the trauma after an act of violence. It describes signs of stress reactions that are common in young trauma survivors at different ages, and offers tips on how to help:  http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-Talking-to-Children-and-Youth-After-Traumatic-Events-A-Guide-for-Parents-and-Educators/KEN01-0093R 

 

Tips for Managing and Preventing Stress: A Guide for Emergency Response and Public Safety Workers - This fact sheet gives organizational and individual tips for stress prevention and management for emergency response workers and public safety workers. It describes normal reactions to a disaster, signs of the need for stress management, and ways to handle stress:  http://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/mhsa/disaster-tips-managing-stress-for-emergency-response-public-safety-workers.pdf

 

  In-Person Counseling Support

 

There are many in-person resources available. Individuals are encouraged to check with their employer’s Employee Assistance Program and/or personal physician for a referral to a behavioral health clinician. In many cases health insurers, including MassHealth, provide coverage for mental health support services.

  

In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the American Red Cross, the Boston Public Health Commission, and others to coordinate support and assistance to any organization that requests it. A spectrum of resources are available including local, regional, and federal teams of crisis counseling and mental health professionals that have been mobilized to support and assist organizations or entities affected by the bombings and subsequent law enforcement actions.

  

If you have a request for crisis counseling and mental health support for any of your communities, please provide the Boston Medical Intelligence Center (mic@bostonems.org or 617-343-6920) with answers (or as many answers as possible) to the following questions:

  

Name of Organization

 

Point of Contact Name

 

POC 24x7 Phone

 

POC Email Address

 

The estimated size of the audience requiring crisis counseling support?

 

Type of audience (clinical providers, families, volunteers, etc)

 

Requested date(s) for the sessions

 

Is a suitable room (conference room, auditorium, etc) available at your location?

 

Other information that would be helpful

 

 

 


MDPH Assistive Technologies in Emergencies document

posted Mar 8, 2013, 2:18 PM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Jul 1, 2014, 2:56 PM ]

Attached is a new document developed by DPH at the request of local public health outlining a variety of Assistive Technologies to help ensure cummunication with the Whole Community during an emergency.

Food Bank of Western Ma Emergency Food Networks

posted Oct 29, 2012, 12:00 PM by Mary Kersell

In preparation for the potential severe weather threat from Hurricane Sandy, the Food Bank of Western Ma has shared their Emergency Food Networks list for each county with their emergency planning / preparedness partners. The Food Bank encourages responders to direct people to these resources if the need arises. Download the pdfs:

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