The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency 


2016 Hurricane Preparedness Conference

“Building Resilience by Reducing Infrastructure Vulnerability”


Thursday, May 26, 2016

8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Registration Opens at 7:00 AM

Four Points by Sheraton

Tiffany Ballroom

1125 Boston-Providence Turnpike

Norwood MA 02062


The 2016 Massachusetts Hurricane Preparedness Conference entitled “Building Resilience by Reducing Infrastructure Vulnerability” will bring together more than 350 attendees from all disciplines and levels of emergency preparedness and response. This year’s conference will focus on identifying vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure related to hurricanes and enhancing resilience, and will feature speakers who are considered experts in their field, including: James Franklin, Branch Chief, National Hurricane Center; Michael Byrne, Deputy Regional Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency; Stephen Flynn, Co-Director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, and many more.

This is a great opportunity for participants to share ideas and best practices, gain knowledge and insight to existing vulnerabilities and ways to reduce them, and network with other emergency management professionals. The intended audience for the conference is state and local emergency management and public safety officials involved with hurricane preparedness response and recovery efforts.



Interested participants must register using MEMA’s online Training Registration System ( no later than 5/19/16.

To ensure diverse participation, all registrants will be placed on a waitlist and will be notified of acceptance no later than the conference registration deadline. Once approved, participants will receive a confirmation email via the MEMA Training Registration System. For registration assistance, accommodations (including dietary), or conference related questions, please contact MEMA’s Training and Exercise Unit at or 508-820-1408.

2016 Hurricane Conference Invitation  pdf format of 2016 Hurricane Conference Invitation


Agenda & Presentations

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM

Welcoming Remarks


8:15 AM - 9:00 AM

National Hurricane Center Update: Lessons Learned in 2015, What’s New for 2016 and What’s on the Horizon  pdf format of NHC Update Lessons Learned in 2015, What’s New for 2016
file size 9MB

James Franklin - Branch Chief, Hurricane Specialist Unit, National Hurricane Center

Mr. Franklin will discuss last year’s forecast challenges, changes and updates to the National Hurricane Center’s public information plan, and new storm surge products.


9:00 AM - 9:40 AM

Hurricane Threats from the New England Perspective  pdf format of Hurricane Threats from the New England Perspective
file size 4MB

Bob Thompson - Meteorologist-in-Charge, Weather Forecast Office, Taunton MA

Providing a more localized focus, Mr. Thompson will discuss impacts of past hurricanes, Massachusetts-specific threats and evacuation timing issues, wind impacts related to the unique nature of our landscape, and inundation mapping and inland flood hazards.


9:40 AM - 9:50 AM



9:50 AM - 10:50 AM

Bolstering Critical Infrastructure Resilience in the Face of Extreme Weather  pdf format of Bolstering Critical Infrastructure Resilience
file size 4MB

Stephen Flynn - Co-Director, George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security

Mr. Flynn will speak about the Department of Homeland Security Region 1 Resiliency Assessment of electrical system vulnerabilities and the need to enhance resiliency to extreme weather events.


10:50 AM - 11:30 AM

Planning for the Threat - Hurricane Evacuation Decision Making  pdf format of Hurricane Evacuation Decision Making
file size 4MB

Paul Morey - Hurricane & Earthquake Program Manager, FEMA Region I Simon van Leeuwen - Emergency Management Project Manager, TRC

Mr. Morey will provide a high-level overview of general Hurricane Evacuation Studies, basic hurricane evacuation decision-making considerations, and a short hurricane evacuation case study.  Using the current planning process for updating the Cape Cod Emergency Traffic Plan as a reference, Mr. van Leeuwen will discuss the studies used to inform some key assumptions of emergency traffic planning  and the importance of initiating evacuations and related traffic control measures in a timely manner.


11:30 AM - 12:05 PM

Lunch Break


12:05 PM - 12:35 PM

Hurricane Briefing Journal: Using GIS for Deliberate Planning and Response  pdf format of Using GIS for Deliberate Planning and Response
file size 4MB

Chad Council - Regional Geospatial Coordinator, FEMA Region I Desiree Kocis - GIS Coordinator, MEMA

Mr. Council and Mrs. Kocis will discuss the use of GIS web map journals as critical regional planning tools for hurricane preparedness, and highlight the benefits of geo-enabled planning and of using the ArcGIS Online platform for cross-agency resource sharing.


12:35 PM - 1:15 PM

Captain of the Port Hurricane Planning  pdf format of Captain of the Port Hurricane Planning
file size 1MB

Richard Klein - Security Specialist, Port Recovery, United States Coast Guard, Sector Boston

Mark Cutter - Assistant Branch Chief, Waterways Management, United States Coast Guard, Sector Boston

The Coast Guard’s pre-storm preparations in anticipation of a hurricane’s arrival is no small task. Mr. Klein and Mr. Cutter will speak to their first hand experiences on how hurricane preparations impact each port in the Commonwealth, and how these preparations provide information to emergency managers, port terminal operators, marinas, ships, bridges, and other critical stakeholders.


1:15 PM - 1:55 PM

Lessons Learned from the Region’s Electric System Operator  pdf format of Lessons Learned from the Electric System Operator
file size 1MB

John Norden - Director of Operations, ISO New England

Mr. Norden will present on his past hurricane experiences as the control room manager for the regional electric power system and working with neighboring and local system operators, generators and transmission owners, and will discuss future preparedness plans.


1:55 PM - 2:05 PM



2:05 PM - 2:50 PM


Real-World Resiliency Initiatives - MWRA  pdf format of Real-World Resiliency Initiatives - MWRA
file size 2MB

Robbin Peach – Resiliency Program Manager, Massachusetts Port Authority

Andrew Hildick-Smith - Director of Planning and Preparedness, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Ms. Peach and Mr. Hildick-Smith will participate on a panel to highlight their respective agency’s initiatives to build resiliency to flooding and storm surge. Ms. Peach will discuss Massport's process for creating its Flood Operations Plans for Logan International Airport and for Massport's Maritime Assets. Mr. Hildick-Smith will discuss what the MWRA has done for hurricane preparedness with an emphasis on protecting their facilities from future storm surges.


2:50 PM - 3:45 PM

Scale, Complexity, Velocity and Innovation: What’s Different about a Type 1 Event?  pdf format of What’s Different about a Type 1 Event?
file size 6MB

Michael Byrne - Deputy Regional Administrator, FEMA Region II

Mr. Byrne served as the Federal Coordinating Officer in the State of New York for FEMA’s response to Hurricane Sandy.  Encompassing all three aspects that define a Type 1 event - scale, velocity, and ambiguity - Mr. Byrne will share his experiences on the response to, and recovery from Sandy,  including the storm’s significant impacts to the residents of the impacted areas. Mr. Byrne will talk about the challenges of managing the numerous "incidents within incidents" occasioned by the powerful storm.


3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Closing Remarks