Natural and man-made disasters can strike at any time. Massachusetts is susceptible to many natural hazards including floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, winter weather and blizzards, tornadoes, coastal storms, thunderstorms, lightning, severe weather, and many others. In addition man-made disasters can also occur including hazardous materials incidents, nuclear power plant incidents, power outages, transportation accidents, water supply problems, terrorism and others. Being aware of the different types of incidents that can occur is a critical part of being prepared for emergencies.
To learn more about each of these hazards, use the links on the right side of this page to learn about the potential emergencies that can happen where you live and the appropriate ways to respond to them. When you know what to do, you can plan with your household and prepare in advance to be ready before the emergency. In addition to preparedness tips before the storm, these links also provide tips on how to stay safe during and after the emergencies.
In addition to being informed of the types of disasters that could occur, staying informed leading up to and during an emergency is also critical. While many events have little to no notice, hurricanes, blizzards and other weather events do have some advance notice. Be aware of severe weather watches and warnings and understand what they mean. These watches and warnings can be obtained from media sources, the National Weather Service, Massachusetts Alerts, and All Hazards National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios. By being alerted of these severe weather warnings, you can take necessary protective actions to keep you and your family safe.
During emergencies information may be available from a number of sources. It is important to sign up for and be prepared to get information in several ways since not all methods are used for all emergencies, and power outages and other effects of the disaster may cause disruptions in how people get information. Some of the primary ways to get information during an emergency include:
- Local notification systems such as “Reverse 9-1-1 type” systems. These systems usually require opt-in/registration in advance, so check with your local public safety officials about which system they use and how to register.
- Local notifications from public safety vehicles public address announcements or door to door notifications.
- Outdoor sirens.
- Commercial media (TV and radio).
- MEMA’s Massachusetts Alerts smartphone app
- MEMA’s Twitter or Facebook accounts or the social media accounts of a public safety agency in your community.
- MEMA's website: www.mass.gov/mema or your local community government website.
- The Emergency Alert System (EAS) via radio and television.
- Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).
- All Hazards National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio.
- U.S. Coast Guard Marine Broadcast.
- A message on Teletypewriters (TTY).
- Call 2-1-1 for Non-Emergency Assistance . 2-1-1 is the Commonwealth's primary telephone call center during times of emergency and is able to provide information on emergency resources such as shelter locations.