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City Offers Emergency Planning Tips as part of National Preparedness Month

For Immediate Release: 9/13/2018 4:22 pm

September is National Preparedness Month and the City of Worcester Division of Emergency Management is highlighting the importance of emergency preparedness by encouraging proactive planning for disasters and other types of emergencies.

“The recent tornado in neighboring Webster is just one example of how emergency situations can happen quickly and cause significant destruction,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “It’s a priority for the City of Worcester to be prepared for any kind of emergency we might face.”

In Worcester, that could mean natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, severe winter weather, tornadoes, coastal storms, thunderstorms, earthquakes, lightning and extreme temperatures. The City could also face man-made disasters such as hazardous materials incidents, nuclear power plant incidents, power outages, transportation accidents, water supply problems and terrorism.

The Division of Emergency Management develops plans and procedures to ensure the highest levels of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Emergency Management also maintains a comprehensive, risk-based, multi-hazard emergency management/training program and coordinates federal, state and local resources for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery operations.

“Having an emergency plan and then practicing that plan is essential to being prepared for many different situations that could arise,” said Michael Shanley, acting director of Emergency Communications for the City of Worcester. “In addition, having effective and efficient notification systems in place to alert the public is invaluable, especially in situations that don’t allow time for advanced warnings.”

ALERTWorcester is the City’s automated emergency notification system. Residents are urged to sign up to be notified by the City of Worcester in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts. The system delivers weather alerts and general community alerts as well as notices from the Department of Public Works & Parks such as information on parking bans, leaf collection, trash pickup delays, boil water orders and street closures. Alerts can be sent to cell phones, home phones or via email. Residents can choose how they want to receive notifications. With winter weather arriving in a few months, now is the time to sign up for ALERTWorcester.

The City also encourages residents to sign up for Smart911, a service where users can create a personal profile which provides details that 911 dispatchers may need in order to assist them in an emergency. Users can provide information such as the number of household members, address and location information or medical information. Anytime an emergency call is made from a phone registered with a Safety Profile, the 911 systems recognize that phone number and will automatically display the appropriate profile. The information is only seen in the event that an emergency call is placed.

This year’s National Preparedness Month features four weekly themes: Make and Practice Your Plan, Learn Life Saving Skills, Check Your Coverage and Save For an Emergency.

The following tips are being offered as simple steps for residents to follow in preparing their homes, businesses and communities for emergency situations.

Make and Practice Your Plan:

  • Make an emergency plan and practice it
  • Sign up for alerts and warnings: Residents are strongly encouraged to sign-up for ALERTWorcester and Smart911.
  • Follow the Division of Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Download the free Massachusetts Alerts smartphone app from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
  • Call 2-1-1, the Commonwealth’s primary telephone information call center during disasters. Operators can provide emergency sheltering and evacuation information in your area.
  • Learn your evacuation zone and have an evacuation plan.

Learn Life Saving Skills:

Check Your Coverage:

Save For An Emergency:

For questions or assistance with emergency preparation, please contact the Division of Emergency Management at 508-799-1840 or email

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