Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency officials will, for the first time, include public safety officials from the western part of the state in their annual hurricane preparedness meeting tomorrow in Devens. MEMA spokesman Peter Judge says the decision to expand the scope of the event is a response to the onslaught of storms that devastated sections of western Massachusetts last year. Judge says for a long time concerns about major damage from hurricanes and tropical storms were focused on the eastern part of the state. But last years stormy weather, Judge says,changed that.
“Anybody who may have been on the fence as far as– do we really have to prepare for a tropical storm in this part of the state– i think was certainly brought home last year.”
Judge says though the meeting will focus on preparation for hurricane season which typically starts around the 1st of June, the basic skills learned can be applied to tropical storms and tornadoes too. Judge says emergency workers aren’t doing anything particularly different this year than last despite last year’s bad weather. He suspects people would be less surprised by a bad storm this year. But he says much of emergency response is dictated by the arbitrary timing of storms.
“Remember when the tornado came through basically four or five o’ clock and a lot of folks who we utilizeto repsond to events like this were literally on their way home on the roads. so as opposed to it happening at noon time or at two o clock in the afternoon folks would have been in place.”
Judge expects more than 300 public safety officials from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands will attend the Massachusetts hurricane preparedness meeting.