Press Release

Press Release MEMA Deploys Additional Personnel to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Recovery

Four State and Local Employees to Assist with Hurricane Recovery Efforts
For immediate release:
11/09/2017
  • Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Media Contact

Christopher Besse, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

FRAMINGHAM, MA — The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) today announced that four public safety personnel from Massachusetts will be deploying to Puerto Rico to assist in hurricane recovery efforts. Two personnel will be 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 will be detailed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in the federal response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

“We are proud of these state and municipal employees headed to Puerto Rico to assist in the recovery process after recent hurricanes devastated the island,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth continues to offer personnel and resources to support our neighbors recovering from major disasters in Puerto Rico and across the nation.”

MEMA employees Allen Phillips and Lori Gifford will deploy to Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) to assist with the EMAC process and will be tasked with coordinating EMAC Operations, Planning and Logistics functions. The employees will be traveling to Puerto Rico on November 12th, and are expected to be deployed for 14 days.

Mike Cawley from MEMA and George Rose from the Lowell Fire Department deployed on November 8th to join FEMA’s State Volunteer Surge Program. This program was recently established by FEMA to bolster its disaster workforce by using state and municipal employees, under FEMA’s supervision, to deliver federal disaster support to survivors and communities. The employees will go through a FEMA training program and will be assigned to support federal disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Currently there are five other state and municipal employees from Massachusetts detailed to FEMA under this program; four of them are in Puerto Rico and the fifth is in Florida.

“The deployment of these public safety personnel from Massachusetts will assist Puerto Rico and FEMA with the coordination of disaster relief efforts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We continue to take steps to assist those impacted by the recent disasters and we urge everyone looking to help to support disaster relief operations through cash donations to organizations listed on the state’s website.”

“These public safety personnel deploying under EMAC and detailed to FEMA continue the tradition of Massachusetts providing assistance to others after disasters,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “We thank the deploying personnel who have offered to support relief efforts in Puerto Rico.”

“We have taken many steps to assist the states and territories impacted by major disasters across the country over the last few months,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “I thank these employees for offering to assist Puerto Rico and FEMA, and for their commitment to supporting disaster survivors and the recovery efforts in their communities.”

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.

Other Recent Disaster Response Activities:

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 management team to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. While deployed in Puerto Rico, the team worked with the Central Island Coordination Task Force, which coordinates the delivery of goods and services across the island. The team includes 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 are assisting with traffic and security duties.

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 formed a state task force that is working to ensure that the state is prepared to support the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for individuals who choose to self-evacuate the island and seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts.

On September 10th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of a three-person Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team, and a nine-person nursing team to Florida to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.

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/

About MEMA

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.

Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; 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 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.

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Media Contact

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency 

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency ensures the state is prepared to withstand, respond to and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters.

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