August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene Damage in Buckland.
About Emergency Preparedness
The Franklin Regional Council of Governments is involved in a number of emergency preparedness initiatives serving Franklin County. The FRCOG staffs the Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee, a regional all-hazard planning body with membership of a broad spectrum of public safety, health, industry, local government and other community members. Serving the four county western Massachusetts region, the FRCOG serves as fiduciary agent to the Western Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council, and is conducting regional planning projects for that entity. Working with these and other regional committees such as the Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition and Franklin County Emergency Communications System Oversight Committee, and with local governments, the FRCOG works to provide integrated planning and technical assistance meeting goals to improve and enhance our communities' ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters.
Citizen Volunteer Projects The Franklin County Citizen Corps program includes 90 volunteers in medical and non-medical roles. Our unit volunteers participate in required core trainings (MRC 101, Disaster Awareness, CPR/First Aid and ICS training) and on-going courses of interest defined by the group. The unit includes MRC (Medical Reserve Corps), CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), DART (Disaster Animal Response Team), and amateur radio operators, offering significant support resources to our 26 Franklin County communities. In 2011, Franklin County Citizen Corps members provided support during the tornados in Springfield and Monson, Tropical Storm Irene, and the October snowstorm. Work is currently underway to cross-train team members and build a cohesive, coordinated response organization, ready to respond to multiple types of disasters. For more information, please contact Nina Martin-Anzuoni.
Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee The Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (REPC) exists to enhance cooperative regional emergency planning for all hazards. Recently, the REPC has sponsored several table top exercises to allow responders and elected officials to test their written emergency plans. The REPC also has become a co-sponsor of the annual Tri-State Fire Mutual Aid Field Day. The REPC annually updates the county Hazardous Materials Emergency Plan. To submit your Tier II hazardous materials report, please submit it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, or to request Community Right-to-Know information, please contact Tracy Rogers.
The Franklin County REPC is hosting a free GPS Training-of-Trainers program for those in the public safety field. The day will begin with a two-hour seminar, led by Athol Fire Chief Tom Lozier, instructing students how to use their GPS devices. Following will be two drills in the field using what you just learned to a) find a lost hiker in the woods and b) determine the area of a brush fire and where it makes the most sense to deploy incoming equipment and apparatus. Students will be asked to commit to train members of their home departments within six months of completing the training. The training runs Friday 7/12/13 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and again on Saturday 7/13/13 at the Montague Public Safety Complex, 180 Turnpike Rd, Turners Falls. The two days of training are identical—students only need to attend one or the other. Click here to register.
The REPC has also received funding to assist communities with identifying hazard mitigation projects and preparing the information needed to apply for FEMA hazard mitigation funding. This process in 2013 resulted in grant applications totaling $568,108 submitted to FEMA to stabilize the riverbank along Route 112 in Colrain and behind the town garage in Hawley.
Homeland Security Planning FRCOG staff work in partnership with the other two regional planning agencies in Western Massachusetts to serve as consultants to the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council in the development of tools to strengthen the region's response to large-scale natural and man-made disasters. We are currently managing two projects across the four counties in western Massachusetts. The first is working with faith-based organizations to assess the role they may serve as rest centers after disasters. The second is working with faith-based organizations, civic clubs, and human service organizations to create a western Mass. VOAD (voluntary organizations active in disasters). Through this project we aim to build partnerships between emergency management and support organizations so that response during a disaster can be more organized and efficient.
Franklin County Emergency Communications System The Franklin County Emergency Communications System Oversight Committee continues to oversee construction and maintenance of a regional interoperable communications system linking police, fire, emergency medical services, and dispatch communications throughout and beyond the Franklin County region. Recently, the Committee completed implementation of an alarm reporting system that notifies the radio system manager of various types of system failure at the tower sites. The Committee is currently building radio towers in Orange and Royalston to improve communications in the North Quabbin area.
Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition The Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition (MAPHCO) is the regional coalition for public health emergency preparedness and serves 24 Franklin County and 2 Hampshire County towns. Funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Coalition plans and exercises its plans for responding to public health emergencies, such as an outbreak of the pandemic flu or other infectious diseases or a bio-terrorism attempt such as release of anthrax. The Coalition is divided into eight regional emergency dispensing sites—locations where vaccinations or other medication can be distributed in an emergency. Each dispensing site must conduct quarterly call-down drills, annual site notification drills, and annual facility set up drills to ensure its people and facility is ready to respond if an emergency arises. MAPHCO is currently working to enhance its relationship with other potential partners in the community, such as businesses, non-profit organizations, hospitals, long-term care facilities, the Sheriff’s Office, and other first responder groups.
MAPHCO held its Annual Meeting on April 22, 2013. The theme was how climate change is affecting public health work. Materials and presentations from that evening may be downloaded below:
- Climate Change Adaptation Efforts in MA (1.8M)
- MA State and Local Public Health Partnerships – Responding to Natural Disasters in 2011 (6.4M)
- Emergency Powers of Boards of Health (100K)
- CREW Poster (6KB)
- Public Health Fact Sheet – Eastern Equine Encephalitis (46K)
- EEE Public Service Announcement (21K)
- DPH Press Release Regarding EEE – August 2012 (17K)
- Communicating with Your Residents About EEE (77K)
- Communications Tools for Communities at High or Critical Risk for Mosquito-Borne Illness (74K)
- Communications Tools for Communities at Moderate Risk for Mosquito-Borne Illness (73K)
- Sample Messaging for Alerting Residents about Aerial Spraying of Pesticides (67K)
- Key Messages for People with Animals in Communities Being Sprayed with Aerial Pesticide (66K)
This page was last updated on 04/25/2013 .