Saturday, June 15, 2024


CIty of Boston


Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the appointment of Adrian Jordan as the City’s new Chief of Emergency Preparedness. With 27 years of experience at the Boston Fire Department (BFD), in this new role, Jordan will lead emergency planning and preparedness as well as communication and coordination during emergency response. The pandemic, increasing cyber-security threats, projected sea level rise, and the accelerating extremes in Boston’s weather and natural disasters have highlighted the need for thoughtful, comprehensive planning in advance of an emergency and clear coordination and communication during an emergency to help Boston and its people manage any emergency or large scale event. Jordan started June 3.

“As the world becomes more unpredictable with weather emergencies and intense climate events, Boston must continue to plan and prepare for every scenario,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Adrian’s experience and leadership will help our city build an even safer Boston for all residents and communities.”

Responsive to more extreme heat earlier in the season, this role and the department has an increasing emphasis on planning for and coordinating the response and recovery to extreme weather events including high heat, severe rain, and major coastal flooding. The office, previously known as the Office of Emergency Management, is being renamed as the Office of Emergency Preparedness to reflect this shifting focus. Chief Jordan will be responsible for developing plans, ensuring their implementation, and leading coordination during extreme weather events. 

During his 27 years at Boston Fire, Jordan has gained expertise in technical rescue disciplines. He has worked in hazardous materials, technical rescue, safety divisions within BFD. Additionally, he has served as an instructor for programming run by Metro Boston Homeland Security Region. A Dorchester resident, Jordan migrated to Boston from Barbados with his parents in the 1990s. He is an avid golfer.

“I am so grateful to take on this new role as Chief of Emergency Preparedness, helping to advance the Mayor’s commitment to protecting Boston residents from the impacts of climate change. Working across city departments, we are taking an all-of-government approach to climate action,” said Chief of Emergency Preparedness Adrian Jordan. “Former Chief Benford has left big shoes to fill, but I’m eager to get to work to ensure in any emergency event, our residents and businesses are safe.”

Central to this role is ensuring that the City has developed thoughtful emergency plans, manages the response to those emergencies, and aids the City, its constituents, and the region in its recovery from emergencies. The Chief works across all City departments to develop comprehensive plans for potential emergencies that Boston may face. This includes ensuring the continuity of operations plans by departments, leading trainings and table-top exercises to test the plans that have been developed, and coaching leaders on how to manage during emergencies.

The Chief works with City departments to ensure that residents, businesses and community partners have the tools they need to weather emergencies that may impact the city. This includes managing the City’s emergency notification system, coordinating standards for deployment of flood barriers on private property, and training residents on what to do in emergencies. This also includes developing programs and policies, in coordination with other departments, that help constituents and businesses recover after an emergency. The Chief plays a central role in ensuring that there is coordination across City departments and supporting lead agencies in the execution of critical tasks.

The Chief also plays a leadership role in coordinating the Metro Boston Homeland Security Region, a consortium of municipal and state agencies in Greater Boston focused on homeland security and disaster preparedness. As Chief, he will oversee management of the UASI grant and facilitate the Metro Boston Homeland Security Region monthly meetings. 

Mayor Wu also announced Matthew Kearney will serve as Deputy Chief with a focus on both operations and resilience. Kearney is a lifelong Boston resident and product of Boston Public Schools, having grown up in West Roxbury and graduating from Boston Latin Academy. He has been with the Office of Emergency Preparedness for over five years holding positions in logistics, planning, and as the Director of Operations. He served for eight years in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, commissioning as a Field Artillery Officer through Army ROTC where he saw the parallels to emergency management and became interested in the field. Kearney is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), holds a bachelor's degree from Bridgewater State University, a master's in Emergency Management from Northeastern University and a master's in Business Administration from Boston University.

“I am extremely excited to take on this new role with OEP,” said Deputy Chief Matthew Kearney. “I am humbled to be fortunate of this opportunity to work for the City I grew up in and feel so passionately about.”

In preparation for more frequently intense heat, Mayor Wu is taking an all-of-government approach to address extreme heat. Multiple departments are working together to implement a variety of immediate and long-term heat mitigation strategies. This summer, the City will deploy a number of innovative new cooling approaches throughout our neighborhoods to help residents and visitors stay safe and enjoy the summer. This year’s offerings include outdoor misting towers to be deployed at fire stations and parks during heat emergencies and advisories and be set up at Open Streets events. Additionally, the Office of Emergency Preparedness will distribute Pop-Up Cooling Kits with misting tents during heat emergencies and at outdoor events hosted by departments and community organizations and will provide personal cooling kits to residents. The City will install three new “cool spots” at BCYFs Menino in Roslindale, Tobin in Mission Hill and Gallivan in Mattapan, expanding the pilot program to nine locations. These additions will complement the City’s existing network of pools and spray pads found across Boston

The City of Boston’s Tree Alliance program has also awarded $116,000 in funding to five non-profit partners: Boston Food Forest Coalition, South Boston NDC, Speak for the Trees, Tree Eastie, and WE Tree Boston. These organizations will plant over 170 trees starting in the spring of 2024. The City will also be expanding green infrastructure to support cooling work throughout Boston neighborhoods. This includes the development of cool roofs over certain MBTA bus shelters and retrofitting stamped brick and paved intersections to become planted areas and rain gardens. This work is included in the broader strategy to mitigate extreme heat in Boston as laid out in Mayor Wu’s Heat Resilience Solutions for Boston report. The Heat Plan provides a citywide framework to prepare Boston for hotter summers and more intense heat events. The Heat Plan presents 26 strategies that will help build a more just, equitable, and resilient Boston. 

Visit regularly to learn more about the latest strategies for staying cool and access the most up-to-date resources available. Each individual, family, and community’s plan may look different: from visiting a cooling center, to accessing one of Boston’s public pools or parks, or requesting a pop-up cooling kit for use at an outdoor event. In all extreme heat situations, please look out for your community, specifically heat-sensitive residents like elders, children, or unhoused people. 

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