National Emergency Preparedness Month 2016

Emergency Preparedness Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the important work being done to make sure our communities are safe, healthy, and ready for public health emergencies and/or disasters.

The theme “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today” is the continuing theme from 2015.  Often families are not with their loved ones when catastrophe strikes, so having up-to-date contact information for those you need to get in touch with during a public health emergency and/or disaster is critical.  It is also possible to collect names and addresses of your neighbors and talking to them one by one so that if something should happen you can call different neighbors and ask what can you do or how can you help.

Ask about plans at the places where family spends the most time: work, school and other places you frequent.  If none exist, consider volunteering to help develop one.  You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead, and communicate with others in advance.

Over 60 percent of Americans say preparation for natural or man-made disasters is very important to them, however, only a staggering 17 percent of Americans claim to be prepared for an emergency situation, according to a new survey commissioned by the Ad Council.

Disasters can have a major impact on the workplace, both for the people who work there, and to workplace operations.  After a disaster, workplaces cannot recover without their people and people cannot recover without a job to go back to.

Organizations can have tremendous influence on their personnel when it comes to preparing for a disaster.  When employers encourage employees to be prepared for disasters, employees are 75 percent more likely to take action.  And with more than 63 percent of the US population aged 16 or older in the labor force, the workplace is one of the most effective environments for educating and encouraging people to take steps to be ready for disasters, which includes being fully age-appropriate immunized – flu, pneumonia, HPV, MMR, etc.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said, “Unfortunately, as we have dealt with here in our own Springfield, it is better to be prepared and forewarned, than not. I commend Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Emergency Preparedness Director Bob Hassett, all our brave and dedicated police, firefighters, first responders and associated city departments for always being there in our time of need.”

“Emergencies can happen at any time,” said Helen Caulton-Harris, Springfield Health Commissioner.  “Taking a few simple steps now to prepare yourself, your family and your community makes the entire community more resilient and better able to respond to emergency events.”  All residents, Don’t Wait. CommunicateMake Your Emergency Plan Today.

For further information contact:

                                    Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response Coordinator

                                    Tony L. Pettaway

                                    (413) 750-2696


                                    National Weather Services





Scholar Athletes Launches Third ‘Zone’ in Springfield Public Schools

Monday, November 7, 2016

Springfield Scholar Athletes (SSA) launched its third SSA Zone at the High School of Commerce today with a ribbon cutting ceremony. SSA is a nonprofit organization working to reduce the opportunity gap for high school students in Springfield by supporting academic achievement through athletics. SSA began working in the city in August 2014 at Putnam Academy, and the success at Putnam led to the launch of a second SSA Zone at neighboring High School of Science and Technology (HSST) and now it’s third at the High School of Commerce.   

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno of Springfield, Superintendent of Schools Daniel J. Warwick and Rebekah Salwasser, Executive Director of Scholar Athletes, joined other guests and high school student Zone members to celebrate the ribbon cutting. Springfield Scholar Athletes is the first expansion for Scholar Athletes outside of Boston.

In partnership with Springfield Public School System, the City of Springfield, and the surrounding communities, this expansion is an opportunity to impact more students through this proven model of success. SSA Zones are school-based learning centers designed and resourced to support and encourage students to set academic and athletic goals, gain needed support to help them stay on track, and provide access and opportunities to explore post-secondary education options.

Superintendent Warwick stated the importance of the work of SSA. “Sometimes all students need is that extra support in order to go from good to great and be successful in school.  As we see our graduation rate continue to climb in the right direction, we are grateful for SSA and their commitment to Springfield Public Schools.  Not only have they started something impactful in our schools, they continue to expand it so that more of our students are beneficiaries of their great work.”

“We are truly excited about the addition of our third Zone and supporting more young people through our work in Springfield,” said Rebekah Salwasser.

About Springfield Scholar Athletes: (SSA)

Springfield Scholar Athletes’, under the umbrella of Scholar Athletes, also operating in Boston as Scholar Athletes (SA) mission is to reduce the opportunity gap for public high school students by supporting academic achievement through athletics. This focus is based on the proven link between athletic participation and positive academic performance. SSA offers students safe, dynamic school-based learning centers called Zones, complete with technology and resources, where they can study and finish their homework during the day and after school. Zones are managed by full-time, fully-trained Program Coordinators to provide academic coaching and mentoring.  SSA programming will include tutoring, an effort that engages students from local colleges, post-secondary guidance, intramural sports as well as academic/athletic scholarships and NCAA navigation guidance.  These collaborative services instill a mindset of excellence in students and athletes alike; building social/emotional skills, shaping character, and enhancing opportunities for success.