In\u00a0the wake of the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Baker-Polito Administration today outlined\u00a0the\u00a0efforts Massachusetts is undertaking\u00a0to provide assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,\u00a0including the formation of a task force that will ensure that the state is prepared to support residents of Puerto Rico who chose to self-evacuate the island and seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts.\u00a0State officials remain in communication with the Government of Puerto Rico and federal authorities and are ready and willing to offer emergency assistance, such as personnel and equipment, at the request of Puerto Rico.\u00a0\n\n\t\t\t\u201cMy heart breaks for the people of\u00a0Puerto Rico, whose lives were turned upside down by the devastation of these merciless\u00a0hurricanes,\u201d said Governor Baker.\u00a0 \u201cPuerto Rican\u00a0communities\u00a0across Massachusetts have also been traumatized by images of the destruction\u00a0and by fears that loved ones\u00a0there\u00a0are in danger. \u00a0Massachusetts is ready to welcome disaster survivors and our administration is preparing to support those who seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts. We stand 100%\u00a0ready to send help to Puerto Rico, including personnel and equipment and will remain\u00a0in constant communication with Puerto Rican officials as well as the federal authorities managing recovery efforts.\u201d\n\n\t\t\t\u201cThe damaging impacts of the back-to-back Hurricanes in Puerto Rico is unimaginable and our hearts go out to everyone affected by the storms, especially as many are still trying to make contact with loved ones,\u201d said Lt. Governor Polito.\u00a0 \u201cMassachusetts is ready and willing to offer emergency management support to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico at their request, and we urge everyone looking to help to heed the requests of Puerto Rico by supporting disaster relief operations through cash donations to organizations listed on our state website.\u201d\n\n\t\t\tMEMA is in the process of\u00a0working with\u00a0federal and state agencies\u00a0and\u00a0non-profit\u00a0\u00a0organizations to\u00a0ensure that the state is ready to\u00a0provide support for people who self-evacuate to Massachusetts from Puerto Rico.\u00a0 The Baker-Polito Administration\u00a0is committed to meeting the needs of disaster survivors who seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts by providing\u00a0financial, housing, health care, jobs,\u00a0and\u00a0reunification services, as necessary. Representatives from MEMA, Housing and Community Development, Health and Human Services, Education and several other state and local agencies are convening to start preparations to support those who seek assistance in Massachusetts.\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\t\t\t\u0022The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Massachusetts National Guard have assets and personnel at the ready and can mobilize them post-haste if called upon to do so,\u0022\u00a0said Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Secretary Dan Bennett, who oversees both agencies. \u0022Puerto Rico and her citizens are foremost\u00a0in our minds\u00a0and we have made all necessary\u00a0preparations to provide\u00a0maximum support to ease the terrible suffering there.\u0022\n\n\t\t\tThe administration has been informed by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), which works closely with FEMA and coordinates state-to-state mutual aid through the EMAC system, that due to extreme logistical challenges in Puerto Rico, such as damaged infrastructure and reduced capabilities at air strips, officials are strongly discouraging self-deployment of personnel and unsolicited donations of goods.\u00a0 At this time, Puerto Rico\u2019s mutual aid needs are being met by the deployment of federal resources, and by using the EMAC system to facilitate assistance from states.\u00a0 The public, which is eager to help, is being asked by Puerto Rico to make cash donations as follows: \u00a0\n\n\t\t\tYou can help support the recovery \u0026 reconstruction of Puerto Rico by directing donations to United for Puerto Rico, at\u00a0http://unitedforpuertorico.com.\n\t\t\t\tDonate to the Red Cross, which is deeply involved in Puerto Rico\u2019s relief operations, by visiting\u00a0http://www.redcross.org\u00a0\n\t\t\t\tDonate to other disaster relief organizations working in Puerto Rico.\u00a0 Many of these organizations are listed on the website of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD):\u00a0https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/. The National VOAD asks people not to send unsolicited donated items.\n\t\t\tMassachusetts is a member of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which functions as a national online system available for all states and territories, including Puerto Rico, to facilitate mutual aid and coordinate the provision of certain emergency management assets.\u00a0 MEMA continues to regularly monitor and respond to EMAC requests and is ready, willing, and able to assist if a request is made that the Commonwealth is able to fulfill; indeed, MEMA responded to an EMAC request from Puerto Rico to provide an EMAC support team, but Puerto Rico confirmed that the capability had been filled by another state.\u00a0\n\n\t\t\tThe Commonwealth is willing and able to deploy a wide array of personnel and equipment at the request of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, including but not limited to:\n\n\t\t\tSworn state and local police officers\n\t\t\t\tNational Guard personnel and resources\n\t\t\t\tHazardous Materials Technicians\n\t\t\t\tEnvironmental Assessment Teams\n\t\t\t\tBuilding, road and bridge inspectors\n\t\t\t\tIncident Management Assistance Teams\n\t\t\t\tShelter supplies (cots, blankets, comfort kits) and Support Teams\n\t\t\t\tAnimal Rescue, Veterinarian Teams and Animal Shelter Teams\n\t\t\t\tSwift and Moving Water Rescue Teams (personnel and boats)\n\t\t\t\tHeavy equipment (dump trucks, plows, front end loaders, etc.)\n\t\t\t\tEmergency Operations Center (EOC) Support Teams\n\t\t\t\tEmergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) A-Team\n\t\t\t\tPublic Assistance Coordinators\n\t\t\t\tFire-Based Technical Rescue Teams\n\t\t\t\tMobile Command Centers\n\t\t\t\tPublic Safety Communications Support/Restoration Teams\n\t\t\t\tPublic Health Inspectors\n\t\t\t\tGeographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists\n\t\t\t\tCoastal Zone Impact Assessment Personnel\n\t\t\t\tFire and Fire Code Inspectors\n\t\t\t\tSaw crews\n\t\t\t\tPublic Information Officers\n\t\t\t\tDisaster Recovery Center (DRC) staff\n\t\t\t\tDisaster Mental Health Teams\n\t\t\t\tDive Teams\n\t\t\tThe Massachusetts National Guard (MANG) is in contact with the National Guard Bureau (NGB) as they work to identify and prioritize military resources needed for response operations in Puerto Rico.\u00a0 Similar to the EMAC program, MANG is willing and able to assist in recovery efforts should federal officials identify and request one of their resources.