The Northern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee has received a $25,000 grant to enhance the ability of local first responders to evacuate residents and supply a shelter during an emergency or disaster.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports Amalio Jusino, assistant chief of the Northern Berkshire EMS, came up with the plan to target the grant, and the application for it was written in cooperation with the emergency planning committee, according to North Adams Fire Chief Steve Meranti.

Jusino said the 2018 Competitive Emergency Management Performance Grant from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is meant to benefit regional efforts at improving disaster response.

The Northern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee has no operating budget and the committee members are all volunteer. The committee encompasses the communities of North Adams, Williamstown, Adams, Cheshire, New Ashford, Clarksburg, Savoy and Florida.

With the money, Jusino said, officials intend to enhance three prongs of disaster response: sheltering, evacuation management and community points of distribution. Those disasters could include flooding, power outages, wildfires or heat waves.

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