Emergency Preparedness

A staff member from a western MA hospital prepares to act as an active shooter during an ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) train-the-trainer session held in Pittsfield in February.

EMERGENCY RESPONDERS–If you are looking for Emergency Contact Information, look on the Resources for Emergencies page. If you need emergency assistance from the Medical Reserve Corps, Disaster Animal Response Team, the Berkshire County or Pioneer Valley Community Organizations Active in Disasters, or the Health & Medical Coordinating Coalition duty officer, please call our 24/7 answering service at (413) 773-1502.

Mission Statement
The Emergency Preparedness Program partners with Franklin County communities to facilitate the continuous improvement of emergency management in the region. We do this by:

  • Coordinating preparedness efforts amongst town governments, first responders, and the private sector,
  • Writing regional emergency plans,
  • Offering trainings and exercises,
  • Providing technical assistance with respect to emergency planning, post-incident analysis, and inter-municipal sharing of services, and
  • Advocating for the region’s interests.

Strategic Planning
The Emergency Preparedness Program, with input from selectboards, town administrators, police, fire, emergency medical services, public health, and emergency managers, has drafted a report on the state of emergency preparedness in Franklin County. We are asking stakeholders to review the report and email us with your feedback by the end of August. 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. We are your partners in emergency preparedness; we can’t do this work without your guidance.
The Emergency Preparedness Program coordinates the REPC, an emergency planning committee for all 26 Franklin County towns. The REPC receives Tier II hazardous materials reports from facilities in the County under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

For more information, or to request Community Right-to-Know information, please contact Dan Nietsche, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

The Emergency Preparedness Program coordinates MAPHCO, a public health emergency preparedness coalition serving 24 Franklin County towns and two Hampshire County towns. Greg Lewis serves as the Coalition’s public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) planner.

For more information on MAPHCO, please contact Greg Lewis, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planner.

The FRCOG serves as the sponsoring organization of the Western Massachusetts Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition (HMCC). The HMCC coordinates public health and medical emergency preparedness in Region 1 (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties).

For more information, please contact Tracy Rogers, Emergency Preparedness Program manager, or visit the HMCC’s website, which contains information about current public health and healthcare emergencies in progress as well as a multitude of emergency planning resources.

To request assistance from the HMCC, please contact the HMCC Duty Officer by calling our 24/7 answering service at (413) 773-1502. For non-emergent communication, you may email the duty officer.

The Emergency Preparedness Program coordinates the FCECS. The FCECS Oversight Committee oversees construction and maintenance of a regional interoperable communications system linking police, fire, emergency medical services, and dispatch communications throughout and beyond the Franklin County region.

For more information, please contact Dan Nietsche, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

Sharing of Public Safety Services
The Emergency Preparedness Program assists municipalities and districts that want to explore sharing public safety services such as fire, police, and emergency medical services. We are currently working with the Buckland, Shelburne Falls, and Shelburne Center fire districts as well as the Town of Charlemont to determine how to share administrative services and to coordinate large equipment and apparatus purchases.

Franklin County Citizen Corps
The Emergency 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.

Community Organizations Active in Disasters
A Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) is an umbrella organization that brings together agencies or groups that want to assist during an emergency, but aren’t part of the formal emergency response system.

The COAD itself does not provide direct services, but its member organizations do. The COAD provides a network based on coordination, communication, collaboration, and cooperation through which each organization can more effectively and efficiently assist in a disaster response.

COAD brings together organizations from many sectors of the community: primarily nonprofit agencies, businesses, and faith-based organizations.

During or after a disaster, local public safety officials can call on COAD members to provide support in response or recovery efforts.

Western Massachusetts currently has two operating COADs: the Berkshire County COAD and the Pioneer Valley COAD (covering Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties).  The COADs have a joint Emergency Operations Plan so the two entities can work together when a disaster strikes in western Mass. You may learn what kinds of services the COAD provides by downloading a copy of their brochure.

To request assistance from the either COAD, please contact the HMCC Duty Officer through our 24/7 answering service at (413) 773-1502.