For Immediate Release - August 05, 2014

MEMA LAUNCHES “KNOW YOUR ZONE” HURRICANE AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Learn If You Live or Work in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone

FRAMINGHAM, MA – As part of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), has launched a new "Know Your Zone" hurricane awareness campaign to encourage residents and visitors to find out whether they live or work in a hurricane evacuation zone.

Over the past year, MEMA, in collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Commonwealth’s coastal communities, has developed hurricane evacuation zones for each coastal community in the state.  Most coastal communities now have two hurricane evacuation zones (Zones A and B), while Boston and Cambridge have three hurricane evacuation zones (Zones A, B and C).  If local or state officials need to issue evacuation recommendations or orders as a tropical storm or hurricane approaches, they will do so by referring to the Hurricane Evacuation Zones (Zones A, B or C)

"One of the key ways to prepare for a hurricane is to know whether you live or work in a designated evacuation zone. Over one million people live in the Massachusetts hurricane evacuation zones," said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz. "Take time now to find out whether you live or work in an evacuation zone and make a plan for what you will do if you are asked or ordered to evacuate your home or place of work as a hurricane approaches."

Hurricane evacuation zones are the areas most at risk of incurring dangerous coastal flooding from the storm surge associated with an approaching tropical storm or hurricane. Storm surge is the large volume of ocean water that is driven ashore by a hurricane or tropical storm. Storm surge, which is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane, poses a significant threat for drowning, washing away cars, and damaging property. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local emergency management officials recently established hurricane evacuation zones for all coastal communities based upon the extent of storm surge flooding (inundation) an area might experience during a hurricane or tropical storm. To learn if you live or work in an Evacuation Zone, go to the Know Your Evacuation Zone on MEMA’s website, which has a searchable map or PDF maps for each coastal community.

Massachusetts is most at risk for tropical storms and hurricanes from August through October.  With the second hurricane of the season now moving up the East Coast (Hurricane Bertha is expected to pass several hundred miles east of Massachusetts later this week), MEMA encourages residents to take key steps to prepare before a hurricane approaches:

  • Know Your Evacuation Zone – If you live or work in a coastal community, use our interactive Hurricane Evacuation Zone finder to learn if your home or place of work is in one of the three hurricane evacuation zones.
  • Know Your Risk – Understand the hazards associated with hurricanes and their risks: Storm Surge, Heavy Rain and Inland Flooding and High Winds.
  • Be Prepared – Prepare your family, your home and your business for a hurricane to reduce the risk of property damage, injury or death.
  • Stay Informed - Know how to receive warnings, alerts, and critical information before and during a storm. Download the Massachusetts Alerts smartphone app.

For additional hurricane preparedness tips and information, visit the MEMA Hurricane webpage. #KnowYourZone.

Know Your Zone graphic with a hurricane image

Hurricane evacuation zones should not be confused with flood insurance risk zones, which are designated by FEMA and available in the form of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). You can determine whether you live in a flood insurance risk zone by visiting https://msc.fema.gov/.

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, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Also, follow MEMA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; and 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 Massachusetts Alerts free 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.