Focus on Prevention and Preparation, Strengthening Partnerships
Boston, MA (September 23, 2007) – Governor Patrick today released a new State Homeland Security Strategy (SHSS) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which outlines current and planned homeland security initiatives and stresses cooperation between all levels of government, the private sector, and Massachusetts residents.
“We have created, with the advice and help of our many federal, state and local partners, a comprehensive strategy for homeland security in Massachusetts,” said Governor Patrick. “The strategy is aimed at preparing the state to effectively prevent or respond to disasters – both natural and manmade.”
The new State Homeland Security Strategy emphasizes cooperation with other public safety stakeholders in order to prevent, protect, respond to, and recover from any and all critical incidents. The strategy focuses on three goals: creating a common operating picture among all public safety stakeholders, strengthening and expanding partnerships, and focusing on private sector and public participation in prevention and preparedness.
The plan highlights strategic state planning which will:
Enhance first responder communication statewide
Consolidate Boston evacuation plan with those in other cities and towns
Modernize government preparation for and management of crises
“In support of the strategy’s three goals, we are working on a number of large-scale projects which will significantly improve homeland security in the Commonwealth. One project of paramount importance is to enhance interoperability capacity across the state, so that first responders can easily and quickly contact each other during an emergency, regardless of their location or affiliation. We are also focusing our resources on addressing potential gaps in strategic planning in conjunction with our homeland security partners. This includes updating the statewide mass evacuation and sheltering plans and revising the Commonwealth’s Continuity of Government efforts,” said Secretary of Public Safety Kevin Burke.
“Since taking office in January 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration has worked hard to create a strategy that is transparent to the public and instills confidence in the citizens of the Commonwealth. As state homeland security funds from the federal government decline, the state’s obligation to its citizens requires a developed and comprehensive approach to homeland security that also addresses the needs of citizens who may need extra assistance in an emergency, such as those with disabilities,” said Undersecretary for Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem.
Consistent with these efforts, earlier this month the Administration launched its new campaign for Preparedness Month entitled “HELP US HELP YOU: SECURITY IS IN YOUR HANDS TOO.” This campaign seeks to educate and empower the citizens of the Commonwealth, without fear, to take simple steps to prepare themselves for an emergency, so that limited public resources can be reserved for first responders and communities who may need more assistance.
Copies of the Homeland Security Strategy are available for media review and can be found online at www.mass.gov/helpushelpyou and www.mass.gov/eops. State Undersecretary for Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem is available for comment by appointment.