The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) has provided funds to the Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association to conduct both Rope Rescue Training and Confined Space Rescue training for the Regional Team. WRHSAC also provided funds to purchase the trailers and the equipment. Here is a photo of the trailers leaving the manufacturers in North Carolina on their way to Chicopee, where the Regional Tech Rescue Team members are loading the equipment before the trailers are deployed to their staging locations.
The Massachusetts District Four Hazardous Material Response Team provided the summary which follows detailing how both training and equipment purchased by the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council greatly assisted the HazMat Team in their response to the recent train derailment in West Springfield. Thank you to Captain John Dearborn of Longmeadow Fire Department for this summary.
At the train derailment that took place on 2/21 and 2/22 in West Springfield we utilized several of pieces of equipment and training that was funded and supported by the Council.
First the Tank Car Specialist and The Advanced Tank Car Specialist Courses which the council supported members of the District-4 Haz-Mat team in attending was very useful during this incident. Members who attended this training, conducted the initial damage assessment of the the tank cars and conducted the initial risk assessment for the incident. When the CSX experts arrived and realized that team members had attended the same training they had, and that our damage assessment / risk assessment was ultimately the same as the CSX experts, it made the development of a joint incident action plan much easier.
Second Foam Unit #3 which was purchased with funding from the Council was deployed to the scene.
Foam Trailer at West Springfield Train Derailment
The foam trailer was stationed in a position in which it could be rapidly used for both fire suppression and or vapor suppression should a failure of the Rail Car occur. It should be noted that the type of foam stored on the Foam Units is an AR/AFFF. This foam is capable of suppressing both alcohol and hydrocarbon based fires. This foam is also compatible with many types of chemicals and is very effective as a vapor suppressor, to limit the development of both flammable and toxic vapors.
Third; The AREA RAE Air Monitoring System, Weather Stations and Safer Software where all deployed as a defensive measure. The system was utilized to model several scenarios should a leak or catastrophic failure occur. With real time weather input these scenarios would update and give real time risk assessment and show what populations where at risk during the incident. In the case of a release of the product, the AREA RAE monitors would feed real time readings into the system and would give immediate information to the Incident Management Team. This equipment was deployed for the duration of the incident and performed well.
I hope this brief write up shows the value of the investment the council has made in both equipment and training. Without this investment incidents like this would offer a greater challenge for first responders. I can tell you that in my opinion the public was better protected because of the councils support.
In preparation for the potential severe weather threat from Winter Storm NEMO, the Food Bank of Western Ma has shared their Emergency Food Networks list for each county with their emergency planning / preparedness partners. The Food Bank encourages responders to direct people to these resources if the need arises. Download the pdfs:
The UMass Medical School’s E.K. Shriver Center is looking for MA cities and towns to participate in an emergency preparedness project to build greater capacity in your town to meet the needs of citizens with disabilities.
The Shriver Center will provide a free disability awareness workshop for public health and public safety emergency responders, planners and managers.
To schedule a training for your town and learn more about the program please see this flyer.
For project information please contact Nancy Shea at the UMass Shriver Center.
The Council has created a video to help first responders and municipal officials understand the borrowing procedure for the Emergency Sheltering Equipment Trailers that are located throughout Western Mass. You can find the video on the Resources page.
The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council provided funds for the BearCat Armored response vehicle. The Bearcat is housed in Pittsfield and operated by the Berkshire Special Response Team. The Bearcat was recently presented to western Massachusetts law enforcement agencies at a trade show in Holyoke. See the MassLive.com article of that event here.
This YouTube slideshow was created from photos taken at the recent Sunderland Active Shooter Training. EMS Response to the Active Shooter was sponsored by the Sunderland Fire Department and taught by STS Consulting - EMS Tactical Training. Participants learned how to be aware of a potential active shooter incident and how to respond to an active shooter in progress.
Hurricane Sandy is currently moving through the Caribbean and is projected to move northward off the eastern Florida coast in the next two days. Although it is still too early to determine Sandy’s precise long-term track, there is increasing confidence that the storm will impact Southeastern New England, including Massachusetts. The extent of impact will depend on the storm’s track. Potential impacts include damaging winds, associated power outages, and freshwater and coastal flooding. Visit the National Hurricane Center Website for current status of the storm.
The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) has training and exercise funds available for award for regionally based trainings and exercises. The State Homeland Security Grant program which provides these funds is diminishing. WRHSAC anticipates that these funds will no longer be available after the FFY2011 grant cycle. The FFY2011 grant cycle ends June 30, 2014, however it is anticipated that the training and exercise funds will be expended before that date.
WRHSAC encourages municipality/first responder departments who may have plans to seek training and exercise funds from WRHSAC to do so sooner rather than later. These funds are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Municipalities and agencies are reminded that all training and exercise request must be regional in nature, and it is also encouraged that they be cross-discipline.
WRHSAC will be seeking grant funds for the reprogramming of public safety response radios with interoperable channels to meet the new Massachusetts Tactical Channel Plan. UHF public safety radios purchased with Homeland Security funds for WMLEC, FCECS, and the Berkshire County Simulcast System, including portables, mobiles and base stations, are included.
WRHSAC is seeking information on any additional public safety response radios owned by municipalities and not purchased through the above mentioned programs to detail the need for radio reprogramming in Western Massachusetts. Please fill out the WRHSAC Request for Radio Information and return to WRHSAC. We will be accepting this information through mid-Novmeber.
For additional information, please contact Susan Brown at 413.774.3167 x138, email@example.com
This document was prepared under a grant from FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.