Weather Alert:

Agawam and Pittsfield MA

8:30 am to 5:00 pm

WRHSAC is hosting two sessions of Mental Health First Aid Training – Public Safety Module. This is a nationally coordinated training facilitated by the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Two sessions of this one day training will be held:

  • Friday, October 6, 2017 at MEMA Region 3/4, Agawam, MA (This session is full)
  • Friday, November 3, at Berkshire Community College @ Conte Federal Building, Pittsfield, MA

Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety provides first responders with response options to help them de-escalate incidents and better understand mental illnesses so they can respond to mental health related calls appropriately without compromising safety. This is an 8-hour course that teaches a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources, and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, and self-help care.

This training is appropriate for all first responder disciplines.

Eight (8) hours of OEMS credits are available.

This training is free. A light breakfast and full lunch will be provided.

We encourage you to register soon. Due to the interactive nature of the training, course size is limited to 30. The courses are expected to fill quickly. Registration is open to first responders from western Massachusetts. WRHSAC is offering these two sessions to asses interest in this training. If interest is high, additional sessions will likely be offered in the future.

Registration is closed for these trainings. 


Multiple Locations

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council in partnership with UMass Amherst, Springfield College and Williams College offer
Family Reunification Training. 

After Action Reports from real-world incidents and from regional exercises have identified the reunification of children and their family/care-givers as a gap of concern for emergency preparedness and response. WRHSAC has been working to address this gap in western Massachusetts through its Children in Disasters: Keeping Kids Safe initiative. Over the last year WRHSAC has develop a Family Reunification Plan Template, a complete toolkit which agencies, schools, or municipalities may adopt to create their own Family Reunification Plan. (The link to this template will be available soon).

The training will be facilitated by I Love You Guys Foundation. I Love You Guys have developed the Standard Response Protocol and Standard Reunification Method, which are being utilized across the country as best practice for reunification. These documents were key to the development of WRHSAC’s Family Reunification Template.  

This training will prepare participants to reunify children with their families following an emergency incident. WRHSAC’s Family Reunification Plan Template will be provided to participants to develop their own reunification plans. Appropriate for schools, colleges, municipalities, emergency management directors, first responders and any agency providing services to children in western Massachusetts.

Three separate sessions of this training will be held:

  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017—Springfield College, Springfield, MA
  • Thursday, October 26, 2017—Williams College, Williamstown, MA
  • Friday, October 27, 2017—UMass Amherst, Amherst, MA – This session is full and waitlisted
  • 8:00am to 5:00pm each session

The training is free and food will be provided.

Comfort dogs and their handlers from HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response will also be present. 

To register please complete the form below and indicate which session you wish to attend. All registrants will be placed on a wait list. You will be notified of acceptance.

Any inquires can be addressed to Raine Brown, Homeland Security Program Manager, 413-774-3167 x138

To register please complete this form:

  • Please indicate which session you wish to attend. Choose only one. The Friday October 27 session at UMass is full.
  • You may also indicate here if you'd like to be added to the UMass session waitlist, although you are highly encouraged to register for one of the other sessions.

Hazmat Team Training

WRHSAC provides support to Massachusetts Department of Fire Services District 4 & 5 Hazmat Teams through funding for training and equipment. Last week District 4 members participated in a training on the chemistry of the weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) taught by OPS15Public Safety Multimedia was once again on the ready with his camera and captured a great summary of the training. Check it out!  Thank you to Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Region III/IV for hosting the training and to Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Homeland Security Division for their assistance with grant administration.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Workshop

Upcoming Trainings & Events

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council has several exciting events and training opportunities coming up over the next several months. Mark the dates on your calendar and watch your email and this website for registration information. Registration for most of these events will be opened in September, 2017.

Mental Health First Aid Training Public Safety Module
Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse. This module is specifically designed for first responders and provides them with effective response options to de-escalate incidents without compromising safety. Two sessions of this training are scheduled.

Friday, October 6, 2017 – Agawam, MA and
Friday, November 3, 2017 – Pittsfield, MA

Reunification Training / Family Reunification Plan Template
This training will prepare participants to reunify children with their families following an emergency incident. WRHSAC’s Family Reunification Plan Template will be provided to participants to develop their own reunification plans. Appropriate for schools, colleges, municipalities and any agency providing services to children. Three separate sessions of this training will be held.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – Springfield College
Thursday, October 26, 2017 – Williams College
Friday, October 27, 2017 – UMass Amherst


Behavioral Analysis & Targeted Violence Workshop
This workshop is a follow up to WRHSAC’s Active Shooter Symposium held in March 2016. WRHSAC will again partner with the FBI Springfield Office. Participants will be provided with information relevant to emerging trends in incidents of targeted violence. This workshop will be appropriate for all first responder disciplines, schools and colleges, and public and private agencies.

Thursday, December 14, 2017 – UMass Amherst


Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Training

This course prepares participants to effectively, appropriately, and safely plan for and respond to a disaster incident involving children, addressing the specific needs of pediatric victims in the event of a community based-incident.  This training will be appropriate for EMDs, Emergency Planners, Public Health, School Administrators, Hospital & ER Personnel, Public Safety. This is a two-day training.

February 21 & 22, 2018 – Location TBD



Warm Zone Operations and Triage Training Photo Essay

On June 28 & 29, 2017 WRHSAC conducted a Warm Zone Operations and Triage Training. The training was conducted by Emergency Response Consulting and was held at The Red Barn at Hampshire College.

This two-day training provided participants with performance level training in Warm Zone operations. The focus was on cross-discipline coordination on scene, particularly between EMS, Fire and Police. Tactical formations, communication, team integrity, and more was also included. Special focus was given to wound assessment and triage prioritization. The first day was primarily lecture format covering warm zone development, the active shooter, MCI in a hostile environment and triage dynamics. Drills and scenarios were practiced on day 2. Participating disciplines included EMS, fire, police, hospitals, schools, CERT/MRC, Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team and Search & Rescue.

The drills of the training are shown through this photo essay taken and produced by Public Safety Multimedia

Wide Area Search Training Photo Story

The Wide Area Search Training conducted in early June was a great success. We had 49 participants from multiple agencies including Berkshire Mountain Search & Rescue, Western Mass Technical Rescue, Environmental Police, Mass State Police, UMass Amherst PD (our gracious hosts), DCR, Northwest Mass Incident Management Team, and more.

Josh Shanley of Public Safety Multimedia joined us one day to document the training and put together this great photo story of the training. Many thanks Josh!

Wide Area Search

And a great thank you to Texas A&M Engineering Extension Services (TEEX) for delivering the training!

Pan Flu Planning Subcommittee Meeting Change

The WRHSAC Pan Flu Planning Subcommittee is changing their standing meeting time. The new meeting time will be at 9am on the first Tuesday of every month. This change will begin on January 3, 2017. The meeting location is Department of Public Health, 23 Service Center Road, Northampton, MA. This meeting is conducted in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Open Meeting laws.

The December Pan Flu Planning meeting will be on Wednesday, December 7, at 2PM, Department of Public Health, 23 Service Center Road, Northampton, MA.

WMEMS, 168 Industrial Drive, Northampton, MA

10:00 am

WRHSAC Meeting

UMass Amherst Campus Center

8:15 am to 5:00 pm

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council is offering Medical Preparedness and Response to Bombing Incidents on Thursday and Friday, November 3 & 4, 2016. This two day training is free and open to all emergency response disciplines. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day.

We had a great class. Thanks to everyone who attended. 

Medical Preparedness and Response to Bombing Incidents Training addresses medical preparedness for and response to blast effects through a combination of lectures, small group activities and tabletop participant exercises. Participants completing this course will gain an enhanced understanding and awareness of issues and considerations relating to bombing incidents. Content areas include identification of targets, explosives characteristics, pre-attack indicators, pre- and post-detonation response, bombing injuries, security, and resource management.

This course is designed for personnel from any professional background who may become part of a community response to a bombing event. This interactive, instructor-facilitated program employs case studies and research-based information designed to enhance medical preparedness for and response to blast effects. Breakout sessions address considerations and concerns specific both to medical responders and emergency planners.

This training represents a cooperative effort between New Mexico Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (NMT/EMRTC) and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (TEEX/NERRTC), a member of The Texas A&M University System. To register complete the form at the bottom of this page.


  • Terrorism target identification
  • Types of terrorism
  • Explosive characteristics and behaviors
  • Homemade explosives
  • Pre-attack indicators
  • Blast injuries types and treatment
  • Mass casualty triage
  • Pre- and post-detonation response
  • Planning considerations
  • Command considerations
  • Understanding local/state/federal resources
  • Case studies
  • Integrated tabletop exercise
  • Audience

Recommended Audience:

  • Fire Services
  • Law Enforcement (federal, state, local, county)
  • SWAT/ Special Response team members
  • Tactical Medics
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
  • Hospital personnel
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Emergency management organizations
  • Emergency managers and planners
  • City Medical / Public Health
  • County Medical / Public Health
  • State Medical / Public Health
  • Federal Medical / Public Health
  • Private Industry
  • Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
  • Dispatchers


FEMA / SID Number Students must register and bring a copy of their SID number to class. Register online:

CE Credits

This course is approved and accredited for continuing education hours from:

ENA- Emergency Nurses Association

AAFP – America Academy of Family Physicians

OEMS – Office of Emergency Medical Services


University of Massachusetts Campus Center

One Campus Center Way

Amherst, MA

Time: Registration will begin at 8:15 am and light breakfast buffet will be available. Course will begin promptly at 9am and end at 5pm each day.

September 20th Meetings Cancelled

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council is mourning the loss of Linda Moriarty, our EMS representative, long-time member of the Council. She will be greatly missed. Funeral services for Ms. Moriarty will be held on Tuesday, September 20th. Due to this all WRHSAC meetings schedule for that day have been cancelled. A reschedule date will be announced soon.

Our sincerest condolences to Ms. Moriarty’s family and dearest loved ones.