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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

2011 Hurricane Irene Response in Massachusetts

HPP Funds Improve Disaster Planning and Communications

When Hurricane Irene struck Massachusetts in August 2011, the state Department of Public Health and local healthcare facilities had to manage the health impacts of flooding and power outages, particularly in Berkshire and Franklin Counties.   Several healthcare facilities lost power and some either didn’t have back-up generators or had backup generators that failed.  However, Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) training, funding and communication support helped Massachusetts health officials and responders meet the challenges brought by the storm.
 

Before the disaster struck or was even predicted, HPP was helping Massachusetts plan for disasters.  HPP funding helped hospitals, community health centers, regional EMS agencies, and long-term care facilities revise operational plans; purchase equipment and supplies; and design and conduct preparedness related trainings and exercises. 

HPP also supported the development of mutual aid agreements and resource inventories for long-term healthcare facilities.  When some of these facilities lost power during the storm, they relied on those agreements to help them provide the care that their patients needed.

HPP funding also supports the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Health and Homeland Alert Network (HHAN), which is the primary alert notification tool that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, state emergency management and state police during emergency situations.  These partners used the HHAN extensively throughout Hurricane Irene to stay in contact with one another and improve situational awareness.

  • This page last reviewed: May 16, 2012