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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is committed to the “Whole Community” approach to emergency management which was initiated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2011, when FEMA recognized the need for a collective effort on the part of the private sector, community organizations, faith-based organizations, the general public, non-profits, schools, state, local, tribal governments, and others to plan for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.

One aspect of whole community planning involves integrating planning for individuals with access and functions needs in an inclusive manner. As we plan for preparedness we need to think about our own individual needs; those of our family; and those of our community. Everyone has distinct needs and abilities so preparedness plans should be unique too. By thinking about your own situation and that of your family and your neighbors too, everyone can be better prepared for an emergency event.

To learn more about planning for individuals with access and functional needs visit mass.gov/dph/ready. And to see an example of whole community planning in action, take a look at the work of the Boston Health Resilience Network here:

Written By:


Director, Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management

Director of the Emergency Preparedness Bureau

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