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  • Although the Council meets monthly, much work is done in the subcommittees. The Council has developed five subcommittees to address the needs and goals of the region.

    Chaired by: Linda Moriarty
    The Planning Subcommittee is charged with planning projects to meet the goals of the Council, state and national guidelines. This includes the development of the Regional Homeland Security Plan which is submitted to the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS). This executive plan outlines the goals and activities of the Council and determines Council funding.

    Some of the projects the Planning Subcommittee has been working on include:

    Resource Directory: The Planning Subcommittee recently completed a resource directory that is available to incident commanders and staff of region communities. Should a disaster occur, this directory will hopefully help to shorten the gap between time of need and the time it takes for the resource to arrive. The directory will be available to appropriate officials in every community and is a listing of regional assets, and includes heavy equipment and transportation such as dump trucks, generators, and cranes.

    Community Emergency Plans: Every community must have an evacuation plan so that if a disaster occurs, there is a plan in place to move residents out of the community quickly and safely. The Council is assisting cities and towns to help them update their plans to meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Our goals for the future are to map plans, and to link all of the evacuation plans to ensure that they make sense regionally.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)/Equipment
    Chaired by: Linda Moriarty
    This subcommittee has helped communities identify their needs for updated protective gear for first responders. Last year our focus was on police officers, this year on EMTs. Over 1,000 protective masks and six fit-testing devices were purchased. Fit-test devices have adapters that fit fire department "Scott Packs" and are available for all fire and police departments to utilize. Weve also purchased protective equipment kits for EMS services across the region. One of the goals of the Council is that equipment be made available for regional use.

    Training, Exercise and Public Awareness
    Chaired by: John Kenny
    The Western Council has directed nearly $500,000 towards training. Our goal is to lighten the burden on communities by offering partial or full reimbursement to first responders for federally mandated courses. By supporting trainings and exercises the Council will be helping to ensure that all people, places and equipment are functioning properly and in the event of a disaster everything will run smoothly. As an example, the Council funded training requests for federally required national incident management system training.

    To better prepare the public, the Council has been working on a public awareness campaign to help citizens of this region better prepare for an emergency. This effort includes a web site, radio advertising, coalition building and a quarterly newsletter.

    Intelligence & Information Technology
    Chaired by: Sgt. Phil Tarpey
    In this day and age, communities and first responders must work together internally and externally to assure optimal safety for their citizens. The Council is funding a regional pilot program that includes the police departments of Chicopee, Holyoke and Springfield. The project will also tie in the Hampden County Jail and the DAs office. All departments will work side by side sharing valuable information.

    Chaired By: Chief Russ Sienkiwicz
    The Council is proud of a new radio system that will provide seamless radio communication from the Vermont border to the Connecticut border. By expanding the current operating system, we were able to update it to meet the needs of the region. Upon completion, every first responder will be able to communicate across the region.

    The Council is also working to improve communication and sharing among communities through a Fusion Center that will allow for information to be shared across the state. The Council has committed $1-million to this project, along with the other Councils across the state. This will allow police departments to connect and share information working through one central database. In the future the Fusion Center will include fire, DPW and EMS departments.