Regional Shelter Project/Initiative
The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council has provided funding to the three regional planning agencies in Western Massachusetts (the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission) since the beginning of 2011 to develop and implement regional sheltering. This initiative includes the development of a regional shelter plan template, the use of this template to develop four regional shelter plans and the initial implementation (including preparation of draft service and facility use agreements) over a two year period. The plan templates are complete and can be downloaded here. Additional initiative partners include the American Red Cross, the Medical Reserve Corps, the Western Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Teams, Community Emergency Response Teams, local emergency management directors, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, local police chiefs, local fire chiefs, regional public health coalitions and other municipal representatives.
Municipalities may also find MEMA’s Statewide Mass Care Sheltering Coordination Plan: Local Shelter Toolkit helpful.
Hampshire Regional Sheltering
Since the beginning of 2011, the regional planning agencies have worked closely with the Hampshire REPC to develop a regional shelter plan for the county. Being the first county to push this initiative in Western Massachusetts, they have emerged as role models for the rest of the state. After being set back several months because of the tornadoes, Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm, the group is actively putting the finishing touches on their regional shelter plan. The draft Hampshire Regional Shelter Plan will be available summer 2012.
Berkshire Regional Sheltering
The Berkshire County Regional Shelter Initiative has been underway since the beginning of 2012. Working closely with the Northern, Central and Southern Regional Emergency Planning Committees, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has taken the lead in developing a county-wide regional shelter plan. Numerous sites have been identified as potential large scale shelter locations and project participants are actively reviewing the operational portion of the plan. A draft regional shelter plan will be available this summer.
Franklin County Regional Sheltering
The Franklin County Regional Shelter Initiative began in early 2012. Working with the Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (FCREPC), the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) took the lead in developing a county-wide regional shelter plan. The Franklin County Regional Sheltering Summit was held on March 7, 2012 at which more than 35 participants assisted in the selection of a number of potential shelter locations in the various geographic regions of Franklin County that might be appropriate for a range of hazard events. Over the next 15 months the FCREPC and the FRCOG developed the Franklin County Regional Shelter Plan. The plan can be download here.
Hampden County Regional Sheltering
The Hampden County Regional Shelter Initiative has been underway since the beginning of 2012. Working with the County Regional and Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has taken the lead in developing a Regional/Multi jurisdictional or stand alone shelter plan. The Hampden County Regional Sheltering Summit was held on Feb 17, 2012 at Westfield State University with more than 60 participants. A subcommittee was formed to address and work on the key components of sheltering. A draft Hampden County Regional/ Multi-jurisdictional or Stand alone Shelter Plan will be developed based on the template. The draft and the final list of shelter locations will be available for review summer 2012 by Subcommittee members. The next step in the project is to reconvene the subcommittee members and others that were part of the first listening session to address sheltering concerns in the county and to discuss how to distribute the documents to stakeholders. The current version of the Hampden County plan can be found here.