Archive for August 2017

UPDATED OUR RESOURCE LINKS PAGE

The staff at HMCC Region 3 have been busy updating important links to provide awareness for and resources to our partners and the general public. Please visit our RESOURCES page and click the “LINK” soon.

Thanks,

HMCC Region 3 staff

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Georgetown Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Named to Board of Govenors

Mark Munroe HMCC Region 3 Program Manager wishes to extend a warm welcome and hearty thank you to Fred Mitchell, Chief of the Georgetown Fire Department. Chief Mitchell has graciously agreed to become a member of the Region 3 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition Board of Governors. Chief Mitchell has been a standing member of the Emergency Operations Center Committee for the past year lending his public safety responder expertise to the committee.

Chief Mitchell will be representing the Emergency Medical Services discipline.

Welcome aboard Chief Mitchell!!

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Prepare Your Property for a Hurricane

The following is a release from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:

Prepare Your Home and Boat Before the Next Storm

FRAMINGHAM, MA – During hurricane season, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is reminding residents of steps they can take to protect their homes and boats from the damaging winds, torrential rainfall, and flooding that hurricanes or tropical storms can bring.

“There are many steps residents can take before a storm threatens to make our homes and boats more storm resistant,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Planning and pre-storm preparation can reduce injuries and property damage from tropical storms and hurricanes.”

Prepare Your Home for the Hazards of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane
Damaging winds and flooding from hurricanes and tropical storms can damage your home.

  • Learn whether your home is at risk of flooding during a tropical storm or hurricane by determining if your home is in a pre-designated hurricane evacuation zone (see Know Your Zone) and reviewing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood maps.
  • If your home is at risk of flooding during a tropical storm or hurricane, make sure that your furnace, water heater, electric panel and other mechanical components are high enough off the floors to ensure that they are not damaged by flood waters.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters to allow water to flow away from your home.
  • Elevate items stored in the basement to minimize damage from basement flooding.
  • If the basement or lower level of your property are prone to flooding, buy and install sump pumps with back-up power supplies. If you already have a sump pump, check regularly to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Consider installing check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains in your home.
  • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches around your home.
  • If you don’t have storm shutters, make temporary plywood covers for windows and glass doors and store them in a readily accessible place.
  • If you live in a coastal community, review the Homeowners Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards.
  • Prepare for possible power outages:
    • Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have fresh batteries.
    • Consider purchasing a generator to provide back-up power. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and know how to use it safely before an outage.

Protect Your Property with Insurance
Property insurance can provide you with coverage in case your home or possessions are damaged during an emergency or disaster.

  • Review your insurance policies to see if you have adequate coverage. If you are not sure you have enough coverage, talk to your agent or company.
  • Flood losses typically are not covered under renter and homeowner’s insurance, so consider purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP). Flood insurance is available whether or not your building is in an identified flood-prone area, and can be purchased through insurance agents in most communities. There is a 30-day waiting period before it takes effect.
  • Maintain a current written inventory of your possessions. Back up your inventory by videotaping or photographing each room in your house.
  • Keep insurance policies, your household inventory and other important papers together in a safe and secure place. Consider sending copies of these documents to a trusted friend or family member living outside your area, or storing copies at your place of work.

Protect Your Property with Insurance
Boat owners in Massachusetts can reduce the risk or extent of storm damage to their boats:

  • Monitor the weather forecast for your boating area.
  • Have an emergency plan that includes how, when and where you will move your boat prior to a tropical storm or hurricane to ensure its safety.
  • Take photos or videos of your boat and all valuable items in and on your boat. Store these records in a safe place
  • Review the boat’s insurance policy to determine your coverage and liability.
  • Keep important paperwork in a secure place away from the boat. This can include insurance policies, boat registrations, a recent photograph and description of the vessel, gear inventory, marina or storage lease agreements, and important telephone numbers.
  • Discuss storm plans with your harbormaster or local marina to learn about procedures and resources before a storm approaches.

For more information, see MEMA’s Hurricane Safety webpage.

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.

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HMCC Region 3 Program Manager Named as Center for Domestic Preparedness Instructor

The HMCC Region 3 is pleased to announce that Program Manager Mark Munroe has been named as an instructor at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (FEMA) in Anniston, Alabama. Munroe, who has been an instructor for 30 years, has taught around the world including Saudi Arabia. He has attended courses at CDP in the past and will be teaching Incident Command and Haz-Mat. Congratulations, Mark!

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State Public Health Officials Announce Moderate Risk for West Nile Virus in 36 New Communities

BOSTON (August 08, 2017)—The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that 36 additional communities are now at moderate risk for West Nile virus (WNV), bringing the total number of communities at moderate risk to 59 spread across eight counties. Moderate risk means mosquito activity is substantial enough that people should use personal protection to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. There have been no human cases of WNV this year.

The eight counties are Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Suffolk counties. The Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts and Worcester and its surrounding communities are experiencing more West Nile virus positive mosquito activity this year than in a typical season, said DPH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown.

“The Boston area is usually a focus of WNV activity, but this year we are seeing evidence of widespread WNV infection in mosquitoes with particularly significant activity in and around Worcester and in the Pioneer Valley,” Dr. Brown said.

“I encourage everyone to use the tools of prevention, including applying mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient according to the directions on the label, wearing clothing to reduce exposed skin when weather permits, draining standing water to prevent mosquito breeding and repairing window screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home,” she said. Dr. Brown warned that “August and early September are when we see most of our WNV infections in people.”

WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. In 2016, there were 16 human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts. While WNV can infect persons 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 an EPA-registered ingredient (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 mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health by calling 617-983-6800.

More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

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