Eastern Mass Teams Up with Organizations to Inspect Shelters

boston red cross prepares for hurricanes, inspects red cross shelter boston
“It’s going to help give us information for the State Regional Shelter Plan and tell us which facilities are a good fit for a large capacity of people, and which are not the best the fit.”

The state is getting ready for another big one.

In just one month, six organizations have deployed 100 volunteers to survey the ins and outs of area shelters.

The end goal? To see where to best fit a big group of people during the next big emergency.

“It’s going to help give us information for the State Regional Shelter Plan and tell us which facilities are a good fit for a large capacity of people, and which are not the best the fit,” explained Rachel Potts, Disaster Services Manager for the South Sector.

FEMA Corps volunteers, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the 249th Division Army Corp of Engineers, the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team and the Department of Agriculture teamed up with the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts to survey various shelter locations around the region.

The American Red Cross and other agencies open shelters at local schools when necessary. Last year, Eastern Mass opened several shelters during big storms like Superstorm Sandy and the February blizzard.

Potts said the Red Cross trained some agencies how to use new MEMA assessment tools before they started the inspections.

“We trained them, split them into two teams and they went throughout the region,” she said. She said the Army Corp of Engineers traveled here through a grant, and looked at facility generators and studied their capacity. At some sites, representatives from various town agencies joined the effort.

The effort will end this week, when volunteers input the information to the state.

“This info will give us a better idea of where to put people,” Potts said.