Five State and Local Employees to Assist with Recovery from Recent Major Disasters
FRAMINGHAM, MA – The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) today announced that five public safety personnel from Massachusetts will be detailed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in the federal response to recent major disasters across the country.
“We are proud of these state and municipal employees headed to disaster areas to assist in the recovery process for our neighbors across the country,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth continues to offer personnel and resources to support our neighbors in California, Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the Virgin Islands, as well as FEMA, as the nation recovers from multiple major disasters.”
The major disasters caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and the forest fires in Northern California, have put an unprecedented demand on FEMA’s disaster response workforce. To bolster its disaster workforce, FEMA recently established a State Volunteer Surge Program and asked state emergency management agencies, such as MEMA, to identify state and municipal employees willing to deploy for up to 30 days to work as part of FEMA’s disaster response force in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The employees, who will work under FEMA’s supervision, will help deliver federal disaster support to survivors and communities. Under the Program, state and municipal agencies will be reimbursed by FEMA for all costs associated with deployment of their personnel.
Nick Child, Mass Department of Environmental Protection; Patrick Simon, Mass Department of Public Health; Dylan Glavin, Marion Fire Department; Maggie Fiola, MEMA; and Gina Valentine, MEMA, will deploy on Wednesday October 18th to the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, AL. The employees will go through a FEMA training program and will then be deployed to a disaster area for 30 days. The specific job functions and the disaster locations they deploy to have not yet been determined by FEMA.
“The deployment of these public safety personnel from Massachusetts will assist FEMA with the coordination of federal relief efforts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We continue to take steps to assist those impacted by the recent disasters and we urge everyone looking to help to support disaster relief operations through cash donations to organizations listed on the state’s website.”
“These public safety personnel detailed to FEMA continue the tradition of Massachusetts providing assistance to others after disasters,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “We thank the deploying personnel who have offered to support relief efforts across the country.”
“We have closely monitored the major disasters across the country in the last two months, and we have taken many steps to assist the impacted states and territories,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “I thank these employees for volunteering to work alongside FEMA personnel, and for their commitment to supporting disaster survivors and the recovery efforts in their communities.”
MEMA continues to look for opportunities to deploy additional personnel, equipment, and resources both through this State Volunteer Surge Program and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
Other Recent Disaster Response Activities:
On October 16th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of a 10-person emergency management team to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. While deployed in Puerto Rico, the team will be working with the Central Island Coordination Task Force, which coordinates the delivery of goods and services across the island. The team includes three MEMA employees and seven members of the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team (NWMIMT).
On October 4th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of local and state law enforcement officers to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. The first 24 officers arrived in Puerto Rico on October 7th, and the remaining officers will deploy in two-week rotations over the next month. While in Puerto Rico, the law enforcement officers will assist with traffic and security duties.
Governor Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez and members of the Boston Foundation also announced the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund to support and respond to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The fund has been formed in partnership with the Latino Legacy fund and in cooperation with the Alliance for Puerto Rico. Funds raised will be distributed for reconstruction and relief on the island of Puerto Rico and to support self-evacuees arriving in Massachusetts from Puerto Rico for temporary or permanent residence.
The Baker-Polito Administration has formed a state task force that is working to ensure that the state is prepared to support the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for individuals who choose to self-evacuate the island and seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts.
On September 10th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of a three-person Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team, and a nine-person nursing team to Florida to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.
Volunteers & Donations:
- Donations – Donating cash to recognized disaster relief organizations is the best way to help people in need after a disaster. Cash donations are efficient, flexible to use, and require no transportation. Consider donating to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other disaster relief organization that is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/
- Volunteers – Those looking to volunteer are encouraged to get involved with an established disaster relief organization. This ensures that volunteer efforts are coordinated and that the needs of disaster communities and survivors are met. People are asked not to self-deploy to a disaster area. Information on volunteering is available through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/
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.