ACHCA Massachusetts Chapter

Emergency Planning

Updated March 2, 2011


For more information please contact
Margaret Leoni
VP of Regulatory Affairs at the MA Senior Care Association
617-558-0202 ext 228
Massachusetts Emergency Medical Service Regions
The Department of Public Health divides the State into five (5) regions for purposes of Emergency response. (pdf)

In January 2011, Mass Senior Care, in partnership with Russell Phillips & Associates provided a series of regional sessions to assist in enhancing Emergency Preparedness plans. Specifically, we covered the following topics:
  • Completing a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA) specific to your facility;
  • Using the Influx/Surge Capacity guidelines to customize your plans; and
  • Using Mutual Aid Plans to support local and regional disasters.

Below are the handouts we used at these sessions.

-Mass Senior Care HVA Workshop
-Hazard Vulnerability Analysis
-Influx Surge Guide

Additional tools that you may find helpful in the event of an evacuation of your building or for the influx/surge of residents into your building include:

-Resident Tracking Chart
-Incoming Resident Log Sheet
-Evacuation Survey – Transportation
-Resident Medical Records and Equipment Tracking Sheet

Presentations from the Emergency Preparedness Seminar in May 2010:

-Comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan
-Incident Command
-Massachusetts Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (MassMAP)

2nd Annual Statewide Emergency Preparedness Seminar
Wednesday - May 18, 2011
Holiday Inn, Boxboro, MA

MDPH – Circular Letter, April 2008

Communications during an Emergency: Government Emergency Telecommunications Service Program Calling Cards, Health and Homeland Alert Network and Mutual Aid Evacuation and Supply Plans. (pdf)

Massachusetts Health & Homeland Alert Network [HHAN]

The HHAN is intended to ensure rapid and timely access to information for health preparedness and response on a 24/7/365 basis. It is a web based messaging system that is used to transmit health alerts, advisories and updates over modes of communication selected by each user; i.e., text messaging, voice activated messages via work and home landline and cellular and email notification. HHAN users are grouped by topic area in order to target alerts to the appropriate audience.

Currently there is a Long Term Care Facilities [LTCF] group and our goal is to ensure that all nursing homes, assisted living residences and rest homes are enrolled in this group.

To register send an email to: Dana Ohannessian, at with the email addresses of all facility staff who should receive alerts. You may provide as many contacts as you deem appropriate for your facility. Once the HHAN generates the email invitation, staff can login to the system and set up their accounts. JOIN TODAY!

Government Emergency Telecommunication Service [GETS] Calling Cards

In 2008 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health [MDPH] issued a GETS calling card to all nursing homes. GETS provides a high probability of completion for phone calls when normal calling methods via a landline phone are unsuccessful. The federal government designed GETS for periods of severe network congestion or disruption to access priority service. The card is activated and ready to use. Its use, during an emergency, is free of charge. MDPH does monitor usage on a monthly basis. This calling card provides access phone numbers, a PIN number and concise dialing instructions. LTCFs should place clearly marked GETS cards and accompanying informational packets at a main switchboard for use during an emergency.

What about wireless/cellular phones and priority access? Wireless Priority Service (WPS) is a White House-directed National Security/Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) National Communications System (NCS) program for priority cellular network access. LTCFs are encouraged to register for wireless priority service. As that service is tied to the cellular provider and user account, WPS must be obtained independently. Visit for more information regarding the Wireless Priority System

Questions? Contact Dana Ohannessian,

LTC Facility Survey Guidance and Provider Attestation Tool
Survey Guidelines

Massachusetts Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan [MassMap]
This plan, the first of its kind in the nation, establishes a course of action and an agreed commitment among participating nursing homes, assisted living residences and rest homes to assist each other as needed in the time of a disaster. While your facility may already be part of a community based Mutual Aid Plan or incorporated into your Company’s overall emergency and/or evacuation plan process this unique statewide plan will supplement those existing resources when the local or corporate plan is overwhelmed by a regional disaster.

Assistance may come in the form of:

  • Providing pre-designated evacuation locations for residents during a disaster; and/or
  • Providing or sharing supplies, equipment, transportation, staff or pharmaceuticals to a facility when a disaster overwhelms their own community or exceeds the capability of internal emergency preparedness plans
    Benefits to participating include:
  • Preplanned Evacuation Strategy - fast evacuation (i.e. Fire/Gas Leak) and delayed evacuation (i.e. Hurricane/Loss of Emergency power.)
  • Preplanned Supply, Equipment and Pharmaceutical Support when Isolated.
  • Provide local public safety incident commanders with easy on-site access to user-friendly plans including contact

Visit for more information.

FREE Opportunity for Long Term Care facilities located in the Department of Public Health- EMS Region 2, to join the MassMAP

The City of Worcester-Partnership for Enhancement of Regional Preparedness [PERP] and the Worcester Metropolitan Medical Response System [WMMRS] set aside money to pay for long term care facilities to join MassMap. Click the link for more information. Region 2 Mutual Aid Letter

DPH Regional Healthcare Preparedness Groups Checkout the one in your region

Mass mapRegion 2 - Partnership for the Enhancement of Regional Preparedness [PERP]
This grant, known as the PERP grant, is designed to enhance regional collective capacity to share resources and respond to public health and medical threats and emergencies throughout the region. PERP is governed by a ten person executive committee representing ten diverse health and medical disciplines including public health, the metropolitan medical response system (MMRS), local hospitals, an ACS level 1 trauma center, local physicians, EMS, specialty care hospitals, long term care facilities, health centers and home health agencies.

Check out their website for more information

EMSRegion 4C Healthcare Preparedness Committee
“The Region 4C Healthcare Preparedness Committee exists to foster disaster planning among the healthcarecommunity in Region 4C, by maintaining consistent lines of communication, assessing the healthcare community capabilities and vulnerabilities, and working collaboratively to fill the gapsidentified via development of deliverable-based projects.”

Goal 1. Identify and develop protocols to enhance emergency medical response capabilities via the development of the MMRS Go-Teams.
Goal 2. Identify and develop processes to coordinate the family reunification function of the patient tracking system in response to a healthcare emergency.
Goal 3. Identify and develop processes to coordinate healthcare facility evacuation plans with local first responders.

For more information contact: Jeremiah Kunze,

PEERThe Partnership for Effective Emergency Response (PEER) is a collaborative effort to enhance the communication capacity in the Greater Boston metropolitan area during response to health and medical emergencies and disasters. PEER includes the five discipline areas of hospitals, local health departments, long-term care facilities, ambulance services, and community health centers that serves 2.2 million people and 62 cities and towns in Preparedness Regions 4A, 4B, and 4C. PEER is coordinated by the Office of Public Health Practice at the Boston University School of Public Health.

PEER Notification and Communication System now LIVE!

A self-paced PEER Handbook and Quick Reference Guides for HHAN and WebEOC are available for download at  These materials provide detailed instructions on both when and how to contact the MPDH Duty Officer to report an incident of regional significance.  Users may also access log-on screens for HHAN and Boston WebEOC via the website.
The PEER Information Management System is available as a fully functional means of notification and communication for use by all 428 health-related agencies in the disciplines of community health centers, emergency medical services, hospitals, long-term care facilities and public health departments in Region 4.

If you would like to receive a Microsoft Outlook Contact v-card that includes instructions on how and when to page the Duty Officer, send an email to and include "Duty Officer Contact Information Request" in the subject line.   

Region 4AB HealthCare Emergency Preparedness Committee

The acute care hospitals of Metro Boston convene on a monthly basis to strengthen healthcare preparedness efforts in the region. The meetings are generally held the 3rd Friday of the month at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Our community partners are always welcome and we are often joined by members of the LTC, EMS, local public health and community health center disciplines.

For more information contact: Judy Bernice, MDPH Regional Coordinator at


Scope / Mission of the workgroup:

• Preparing the region to care for disaster victims by supporting responders, and receivers, with the necessary resources for them to be able to provide shelter, food, water and other essential services.
• Preparing the region to care for disaster victims by supporting responders, and receivers, with the necessary resources for them to be able to provide medical care in a variety of locations, including alternate care sites.

Workgroup representatives:

Hospitals Long Term Care Facilities
Public Health Community Health Centers
EMS American Red Cross
Local Emergency Management Councils on Aging
Councils on Disabilities

For more information contact: Sub-committee chair, Michael Flanagan, Director of Security and Emergency Preparedness, Norwood Hospital - A Caritas Family Hospital

Homeland Security Regions

Mass mapMassachusetts is divided into five homeland security planning regions (pdf) -- Northeast, Southeast, Central, West and the Boston metropolitan area -- each with a regional homeland security advisory council.


Central Mass
Western Region
Northeast Region
Southeast Region

Free Education and Training Opportunities

UMass Medical SchoolThe Center of Excellence for Emergency Preparedness Education and Training [CEEPET]

MISSION STATEMENT: The Mission of the Training Center is to assess, develop, provide, coordinate and evaluate competency-based emergency preparedness education and training utilizing an all-hazards approach.

Check it out at :

DelValle InstituteThe DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness provides high quality all-hazards training for public health, health care, and public safety personnel, with a focus on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive incident preparedness, response, and recovery. The DelValle Institute is a program of Boston EMS and the Boston Public Health Commission.

FEMAFEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

DISASTER - It strikes anytime, anywhere. It takes many forms -- a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, a flood, a fire or a hazardous spill, an act of nature or an act of terrorism. It builds over days or weeks, or hits suddenly, without warning. Every year, millions of Americans face disaster, and its terrifying consequences.

On March 1, 2003, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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This page was last updated 31 March 2011

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