October 5, 2012
FRAMINGHAM, MA—Governor Deval Patrick today held his weekly cabinet meeting at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Headquarters in Framingham, where he joined Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and members of his cabinet to tour the newly renovated State Emergency Operations Center and received a demonstration of Ping4alerts!, a new public alerting technology for smartphone users.
“We are determined to be prepared to meet any emergency this Commonwealth may face,” said Governor Patrick. “This facility will help.”
“This newly added and innovative technology will allow public safety entities throughout the Commonwealth to not only alert citizens of an impending problem, but also push out many forms of specific information with detailed steps to help ensure their safety,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
This is the first major upgrade to the operations center since it was built in the 1960s. The project included opening up walls on both ends of the room, raising the floor so that wiring could be buried beneath it, taking out a portion of the raised command area, and installing all new communications and display technologies. The operations center is now state-of-the-art and significantly enhances MEMA’s abilities during disasters and emergencies to maintain situational awareness, coordinate state response and recovery efforts including support to cities and towns, facilitate intrastate and interstate mutual aid, and facilitate requests for assistance from the federal government.
Ping4alerts! is a new free mobile communications app for alerting citizens about Public Safety and Public Health emergencies and disasters. Through geofencing technology, Ping4alerts! enables MEMA to send highly targeted, instant multimedia alerts to iPhone and Android devices to notify citizens to situations and events happening near them. The application can be downloaded at www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.
The smartphone alerts come in addition to MEMA’s well-established public alerting system which includes radio and television alerts through the Emergency Alert System, the Mass211 system, and posts and Mass.gov and MEMA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
“The upgrades to our facility and MEMA’s partnership with Ping4alerts! announced by Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray demonstrate this Administration’s commitment to innovation to help the Commonwealth respond to and recover from emergencies here in the Commonwealth,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man-made. For additional information about MEMA and All Hazards Preparedness, go to the MEMA website at www.mass.gov/mema.
MEMA’s YouTube video can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/user/MassachusettsEMA?feature=watch