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Baker-Polito Administration Announces Mobilization Of Massachusetts National Guard To Puerto Rico For Hurricane Response And Recovery

Oct 10, 2017 03:01PM ● Published by Theresa Gilman

Baker-Polito Administration outlined the efforts Massachusetts is undertaking to provide assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

(Editor's Note: the following information was provided by the office of the Baker-Polito Administration.)

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced that Puerto Rico has accepted an offer from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to mobilize a team of 69 law enforcement officers from across Massachusetts to assist with security duties in Puerto Rico. The request for assistance from Puerto Rico came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance.

“We are proud that a team of law enforcement officers will deploy to Puerto Rico to help keep residents safe after the recent catastrophic hurricanes,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “The Commonwealth continues to offer personnel and equipment resources as needed to Puerto Rico, and is preparing to welcome disaster survivors traveling to Massachusetts.  We will keep collaborating at all levels of government to support Puerto Rico throughout this difficult time.”

While deployed in Puerto Rico, law enforcement officers are expected to assist local law enforcement with enforcing the curfew and other security measures. The deployment includes a total of 69 state and local police officers, divided into three separate two week rotations and also includes 13 Massachusetts State Police cruisers which will be used by officers for the duration of the deployment. FEMA will arrange for the military to fly the cruisers to Puerto Rico, and to return them after the six week deployment.

Travel details, including the deployment dates of both officers and cruisers are being organized by MEMA and the deploying agencies.

“The deployment of these law enforcement officers from Massachusetts will provide the citizens of Puerto Rico an added sense of security during recovery efforts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We continue to take steps to assist those impacted by the recent hurricanes by preparing for those residents who choose to self-evacuate to Massachusetts, partnering with the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund, monitoring requests for assistance, and we urge everyone looking to help to support disaster relief operations through cash donations to organizations listed on the state’s website.”

“Massachusetts emergency response personnel have previously been sent across the nation to assist in the aftermath of disasters,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “We are proud to continue this tradition by sending additional personnel to Puerto Rico and thank the deploying personnel who exemplify the dedication of public safety employees in the Commonwealth.”

“EMAC is a critical component of emergency management,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Here in Massachusetts, we have previously been both the recipient and provider of EMAC assistance in a variety of disasters. We are fortunate to be able to offer Puerto Rico this specialized assistance during their time of need.”

MEMA continues to monitor the EMAC system and look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Puerto Rico. 

On September 29th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the mobilization of the Massachusetts National Guard to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. The National Guard’s Joint Site Incident Satellite Communications Capability (JISCC) team will support satellite-based data and mobile communications on the island, where communication lines have been severely damaged.

Governor Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez and members of the Boston Foundation also announced the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund to support and respond to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.  The fund has been formed in partnership with the Latino Legacy fund and in cooperation with the Alliance for Puerto Rico. Funds raised will be distributed for reconstruction and relief on the island of Puerto Rico and to support self-evacuees arriving in Massachusetts from Puerto Rico for temporary or permanent residence.

The Baker-Polito Administration has formed a state task force that is working to ensure that the state is prepared to support the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for individuals who choose to self-evacuate the island and seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts. 

State officials remain in communication with the Government of Puerto Rico and federal authorities and are ready and willing to offer emergency assistance, such as personnel and equipment, at the request of Puerto Rico. 

Volunteers, Donations:
Donations - Donating cash to recognized disaster relief organizations is the best way to help people in need after a disaster. Cash donations are efficient, flexible to use, and require no transportation. Consider donating to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other disaster relief organization that is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD):https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/.

Volunteers – Those looking to volunteer are encouraged to get involved with an established disaster relief organization.  This ensures that volunteer efforts are coordinated and that the needs of disaster communities and survivors are met.  People are asked not to self-deploy to a disaster area.  Information on volunteering is available through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD):https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/.

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