- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
- Massachusetts State Police
Christopher Besse, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
FRAMINGHAM, MA — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that Puerto Rico has accepted an offer from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to deploy 39 Massachusetts State Police troopers to assist with security duties in Puerto Rico. The request for assistance from Puerto Rico came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance.
“We are pleased to deploy Massachusetts State Police troopers to Puerto Rico to keep residents safe as they recover from the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These troopers follow dozens of law enforcement officers from across the Commonwealth who deployed to Puerto Rico in October, and our administration continues to provide personnel and resources to assist in recovery efforts from the devastating hurricanes that hit the island this past summer and fall.”
While deployed in Puerto Rico, the troopers will be paired with Puerto Rican law enforcement officers and will support law enforcement, security and traffic missions. Fourteen troopers will deploy on December 17th for a two week rotation that will end on December 31st. Additionally, 25 troopers will deploy on/about December 29th for a two week rotation that will end on January 15th.
“The deployment of these additional State Police troopers will provide the citizens of Puerto Rico with an added sense of security during recovery efforts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We continue to take steps to assist hurricane survivors who choose to self-evacuate to Massachusetts and urge everyone who wants to help support disaster relief operations to do so through cash donations to organizations listed on the state’s website.”
“Massachusetts has sent emergency response personnel across the nation to assist in the aftermath of the unprecedented 2017 hurricane season,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “We are proud to continue these efforts by sending additional troopers to Puerto Rico, and we thank the deploying personnel who represent the dedication of public safety employees in the Commonwealth.”
“We are grateful to Governor Baker and MEMA for making possible the opportunity for our troopers to help the citizens and first responders of Puerto Rico. The troopers in the previous deployments to the island found the mission to be extremely meaningful to them personally, and were struck by the tremendous gratitude of those they were helping. I am immensely proud of our troopers who have volunteered to serve these men, women and children who are in such dire need.” said Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent, Massachusetts State Police.
“MEMA continues to monitor the EMAC system and look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by recent disasters,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “EMAC is a critical tool in emergency management and we are fortunate to be able to continue to offer Puerto Rico specialized assistance during their recovery.”
Other Recent Disaster Response and Recovery Activities:
On December 12th, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education voted to grant students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island in-state tuition. The opportunity will be available at the University of Massachusetts campuses, state universities and community colleges through the spring semester in 2018. The state previously instituted similar policies for those affected by the September 11th terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina.
From December 12th - 30th, MEMA is providing virtual Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) support to Puerto Rico. During this time, MEMA has a 2-person EMAC A-Team working in the State EOC. The EMAC A-Team is in telephone and email communication with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) and its Emergency Operations Center, and the A-Team is managing all EMAC requests from, and offers to Puerto Rico, and is coordinating all EMAC deployments and EMAC issues on the island.
On November 27th, MEMA announced the coordination and shipment of 229 pallets of donated goods to Puerto Rico for distribution to disaster survivors. Additionally, 35 pallets of non-perishable food were distributed to food banks in Massachusetts that are supporting evacuees from Puerto Rico.
On November 22nd, MEMA announced the deployment of a 26-person medical team from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to Puerto Rico to assist in providing medical care on the island. The team, which included doctors, nurses, and other medical and support staff, deployed on November 25th and returned earlier this week.
On November 9th, MEMA announced the deployment of 4 state and local employees from Massachusetts to Puerto Rico to assist in hurricane recovery efforts. Two personnel deployed to Puerto Rico through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance. Two other personnel are detailed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in the federal response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
On October 25th, MEMA and the Massachusetts National Guard announced the mobilization of 15 soldiers from Massachusetts to Puerto Rico to assist in hurricane recovery efforts. The soldiers are providing public affairs support for current National Guard members operating in Puerto Rico, including processing media requests, preparing media advisories and stories, producing videos, taking and collecting photographs, and providing media escorts in the field.
On October 18th, MEMA announced the deployment of 5 state and local employees to join FEMA’s disaster response workforce. The employees, who are working under FEMA’s supervision, are helping deliver federal disaster support to survivors and communities in Florida and Puerto Rico.
On October 16th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of a 10-person Emergency Operations Center support team to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. While deployed in Puerto Rico, the team worked with the Central Island Coordination Task Force coordinating the delivery of goods and services across the island. The team included three MEMA employees and seven members of the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team (NWMIMT).
On October 4th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of 69 local and state law enforcement officers to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. The first 24 officers arrived in Puerto Rico on October 7th, the second cadre of 24 officers arrived in Puerto Rico on October 18th, and the final group of 21 officers arrived in Puerto Rico on November 1st. While in Puerto Rico, the law enforcement officers assisted with traffic and security duties. 13 Massachusetts State Police cruisers were also sent to Puerto Rico for use by the deployed officers.
On September 10th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment to Florida of a three-person Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team comprised of employees from MEMA and the Department of Environmental Protection, and a nine-person nursing team from Beth Israel Hospital to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.
Governor Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez and members of the Boston Foundation also announced the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund to support and respond to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The fund has been formed in partnership with the Latino Legacy fund and in cooperation with the Alliance for Puerto Rico. Funds raised will be distributed for reconstruction and relief on the island of Puerto Rico and to support self-evacuees arriving in Massachusetts from Puerto Rico for temporary or permanent residence.
The Baker-Polito Administration has developed a network of public, private and non-profit sector service providers that is working around the clock to ensure that the state is supporting the thousands of Puerto Ricans who have self-evacuated to Massachusetts since Hurricane Maria impacted the island.
Volunteers & Donations:
- 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 organization that is a member 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/
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.
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 free Massachusetts Alerts 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.