Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planning

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission acts as the fiduciary agent for:

Berkshire Medical Reserve Corp

The Berkshire Medical Reserve Corps (BMRC) exists to improve the health and safety of our communities and our region.  The Unit is made up of medical and non-medical volunteers who are trained to respond to public health emergencies and disasters when activated by a local community leader or hospital.  Members also participate in and conduct education and outreach events throughout the year that promote our mission of community health, emergency preparedness, and resiliency.  The BMRC works closely with each of three regional emergency preparedness committees in Berkshire County, three regional hospitals, and the Berkshire County Boards of Health Association (BCBOHA).  They collaborate with other organizations and create programs such as the Berkshire Disaster Animal Response Team (Berkshire DART) to ensure the most effective response capabilities during events where people and animals are impacted.

Partnering For Emergency Preparedness With Faith Based Organizations

With grant assistance from the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council, the four counties of Western Massachusetts (Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin) continue their very successful community work on individuals requiring additional assistance (IRAA) and community organizations.  The latest project focused on preparing the faith based community both to prepare for and to respond in an emergency.
Additional work continues, including collaboration with the American Red Cross and other community service organizations to create VOADs or Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planning 

Since 2004, Berkshire County Boards of Health Association (BCBOHA) has acted as the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Berkshire County.  Federal Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) money, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is granted to State Departments of Public Health to increase and enhance preparedness in the event of a public health emergency.  The MA Department of Public Health (DPH) then grants some of that funding to local public health through the regional preparedness coalitions. 
This money comes with a set of aggressive deliverables.  BCBOHA staff works locally, regionally and on a state level to meet these deliverables each year.  This year the deliverables include:
• Participation in a public health and healthcare Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA)
• Expansion and analysis of regional and local partnerships
• Emergency Operations procedures, including NIMS/ICS training and personnel to fill Incident Command positions
• Analysis of public information capability
• Updated contact lists for all BOH personnel
• HHAN awareness, registration and drills, including at least one drill outside regular hours
• Updated EDS planning, including, for each jurisdiction: Technical Assessment Review (TAR) and Improvement Plan, Call down Drill, Set up Drill and Site Notification Drill
• Emergency planning with individuals with access and functional needs
• Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) for each jurisdiction.

For full details on the PHEP deliverables and funding, please see our website, bcboha.org.