In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are available for meetings by appointment only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar at the Meetings and Events link below.

Archive | Emergency Preparedness

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**COVID-19 Data and Updates**

For the latest re-opening information for local governments, click here
For a Franklin County data dashboard from the Public Health Institute of Western MA, click here.
For the state’s map showing local testing numbers and color-coded risk levels, click here.For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.
For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.
For resources and guidance for businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and job seekers, click here.

Testing resources:

 

 

To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates:

Millers River Watershed in Critical Drought Condition

Due to five months of below-normal rainfall, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared a Level 3 – Critical Drought in the Southeast Region of the Commonwealth and in the Millers and Charles River watersheds. The other six regions across the state — the Western, Connecticut River Valley, Central, Northeast, Cape Cod, and Islands regions— remain at a Level 2 – Significant Drought.

For more information on the current drought conditions, and technical guidance regarding drought management actions, please visit www.mass.gov/ma-drought-management.

Halloween During COVID: Spooky and Safe!

In response to requests from town administrators and board of health members in a number of towns, the FRCOG has pulled together a Halloween COVID safety poster with tips for both trick-or-treaters and those they visit.

Communities can request hard copies (11×17) by calling 413-774-3167 extension 1 and leaving a message or download it here: FRCOG halloween safety tips poster

Helpful links:

https://www.mass.gov/news/halloween-during-covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

How to make a candy chute for safe dispensing of candy.

 

tips for safe trick or treating and celebrating

West Nile Virus and EEE are back! Prevent Mosquito Bites!

Mosquitoes can spread diseases that make you sick. In Massachusetts, mosquitoes can give you eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus or West Nile virus (WNV). EEE can cause severe illness and possibly lead to death in any age group. EEE does not occur every year, but based on mosquito sampling, a high risk of occurrence of human cases currently exists.

Outbreaks of EEE usually occur in Massachusetts every 10-20 years. These outbreaks will typically last two to three years. The most recent outbreak of EEE in Massachusetts began in 2019 and included twelve cases with six fatalities. The first EEE positive mosquito sample within the State this season was detected in Orange on 7/2/20 and Wendell 7/6/20. Risk levels remain elevated through to frost.

The best way to avoid both of these illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites.

You can be bitten at any time. Most mosquitoes are active from just before dusk, through the night until dawn.

There are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites, and the illnesses they can cause.

Protect yourself from illness by doing simple things:

  • Use insect repellents any time you are outdoors
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing
  • Schedule outdoor activities to avoid the hours from dusk to dawn during peak mosquito season
  • Repair damaged window and door screens
  • Remove standing water from the areas around your home

See a video from DPH on EEE here: https://youtu.be/VekccoVW6aQ

For more information, including current maps of risk levels and findings of EEE and WNV in Massachusetts see https://www.mass.gov/mosquitoes-and-ticks or contact Regional Public Health Nurse Lisa White for more information at 413-665-1400 x 114.

 

COVID-19 Activity at FRCOG and Municipal Resources

Here at the FRCOG we are working on the global Coronavirus outbreak and resulting cases of COVID-19 illness, and how to prepare for potential cases in our communities in a number of ways. We have created a municipal resource page at:  https://frcog.org/covid-19-resources/ This page is a list of links to important and frequently-updated resources for different municipal roles, including boards of health, first responders, and select boards.

The FRCOG’s Emergency Preparedness Program has two initiatives underway:

The Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition has activated a Joint Information Committee to align messaging from local boards of health to their municipal partners and residents. The committee co-chairs are Carolyn Shores Ness, Deerfield Board of Health, and Norene Pease, Shutesbury Board of Health. The Committee’s goal is to provide credible information sources, and to provide actions citizens can take to protect themselves. The Committee also requests that local officials share any public messaging your community is creating or sharing so that they may better align the regional messaging. You can see this week’s message at the COG’s COVID-19 page.

Staff have developed and shared a resource page for Long Term Care, EMS, Hospitals and Public Health at the Western MA Health & Medical Coordinating Coalition’s website at region1hmcc.org The HMCC Duty Officer is actively responding to concerns and resource requests from partners in healthcare and public health.

The FRCOG ‘s health district, the Cooperative Public Health Service, serves 14 towns. CPHS Public Health Nurse Lisa White is in contact with senior centers, schools, and others as part of preparing for the local response to any person who is screened as having or being exposed to COVID-19, which will be managed through the MAVEN database we already use for infectious disease surveillance. Our response in coordination with DPH and providers may include developing systems for daily monitoring of temperatures of quarantined residents, investigating contacts, and conducting clinical investigation and reporting for individuals who have tested positive for COVID19. Additional staff capacity to manage future cases has been identified, and CPHS is working with its boards of health to help them prepare for town-level activities.

On a side note, FRCOG is working to advocate for attention to the needs of our communities in responding to this outbreak: Lisa White was at the State House last week testifying before the Public Health Committee on rural COVID-19 preparedness status and needs.

And finally, we are examining the FRCOG’s own Continuity of Operations Plan and  having a discussion with the COG’s governing committees to discuss work-from-home protocols in the case of either personal or community quarantines. We are happy to share any protocols we develop with towns.

Please check the COVID-19 page regularly for updates and staff contacts.

FRCOG is hiring!

Would you or someone you know like to join our team?

Please check out the positions available here by visiting our Employment Page!

 

What is the state of emergency preparedness in Franklin County?

The Emergency Preparedness Program, with input from selectboards, town administrators, police, fire, emergency medical services, public health, and emergency managers, has completed its report on the state of emergency preparedness in Franklin County. The “Emergency Preparedness Program Future Plans” chapter, beginning on page 15, outlines how FRCOG Emergency Preparedness staff will focus their efforts over the next five years. Thank you to everyone who took part in this process. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Franklin County Citizen Corps Transitions

As of July 1st, the Regional Preparedness Program no longer coordinates the Franklin County Citizen Corps. In order to create a more robust team of volunteers, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and Fairview Hospital agreed to oversee both the Berkshire and Franklin County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units. These units will plan together, train together, and exercise together to create one larger team with two geographic foci. Please reach out to Corinne McKeown at Fairview Hospital for more information.

As part of this transition, we have dissolved the Franklin County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Hampshire Emergency Animal Response Team (HEART) has taken on our DART volunteers. For more information about HEART, please reach out to Larry Holmberg. Bene pigiausios dalys automobiliams BMW, Audi, VW, Volvo, Ford, Honda, Renault internetu.

We wish our Citizen Corps coordinator, Robert Quinn-O’Connor a happy and relaxing summer and say thank you for taking such good care of our volunteers for the last five years.

FRCOG signs the Stigma Pledge

Massachusetts is in the midst of a heartbreaking crisis of addiction and overdose, and one of the most important things we can all do to prevent further deaths is reduce the stigma experienced by people with substance use disorder. Only 1 in 12 people people with this disorder seek treatment — can you imagine if numbers were similarly low for diabetes?
FRCOG’s staff have signed the Boston Medical Center Stigma Pledge and will work to make sure we use non-stigmatizing language. Join us!

To learn more about the Pledge, click here.

To review an “Addictionary” of stigmatizing and non-stigmatizing language, click here.