Incident Management Team & Massachusetts National Guard Soldiers Deploy to Florida to Assist with Hurricane Irma Response & Recovery
FRAMINGHAM, MA — The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is coordinating the deployment of a 12 person Incident Management Team and an 18 person Massachusetts National Guard public affairs team to Florida to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma. The requests for assistance from Florida came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance.
The 12 person Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team (IMT) will support response operations, with a focus on supporting search and rescue, water rescue, logistics/resource needs, and coordinating with a Federal Urban Search and Rescue Task Force that is operating in the area. The team will depart Massachusetts on Monday, September 11th, and is expected to be deployed for approximately two weeks.
The 18 person Massachusetts National Guard public affairs team is part of the Guard’s 65thPress Camp Headquarters. In Florida, the unit will handle public affairs for the National Guard Joint Task Force Jupiter, including command and control of all public affairs assets, running a media operations center, processing media requests, and providing media escorts in the field. The team will depart Massachusetts by Tuesday, September 12th, and is expected to be deployed for up to 30 days.
These deployments are in addition to the deployments of a three-person emergency operations center (EOC) support team and a nine-person nursing team announced on Sunday, September 10th.
MEMA continues to monitor the EMAC system and look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Florida and other areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.
Volunteers, Donations, and Hurricane Preparedness
- 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 organizations that are members 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/
- Hurricane Preparedness – Late August and September is the peak of New England’s hurricane season. MEMA encourages all residents to learn if they live in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone, and to make a family emergency plan, build an emergency kit, and stay informed. Hurricane preparedness resources are available on MEMA’s website: http://www.mass.gov/mema/hurricanes
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is an interstate mutual aid agreement among all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. EMAC enables the Governor (through State Emergency Management officials) to request disaster assistance such as personnel and equipment from other states before, during, or after a disaster. Impacted states looking for assistance broadcast resource requests through the EMAC system and other states may offer to fill the request if they have the necessary resources. The requesting state then chooses which assisting state’s offer to accept.
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.