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.
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 Disasters, Build an Emergency Kit, and Get 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.
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.
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.