Public Health & Safety

New Bedford’s natural environment is clean, healthy, accessible to residents and enhances the community’s quality of life.  

 

Public Health & Safety

NB Resilient Goals

New Bedford’s public health and safety are at risk from our local climate change predictions. We’re expected to see a rise in heat related illnesses, severe weather damage, food-borne illnesses, and infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease. To limit the risk from impacts, NB Resilient has laid out four goals:

  1. Ensure vulnerable communities are engaged in decision-making and prepared for climate impacts.
  2. Prepare and support New Bedford residents to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours after an extreme event.
  3. Improve accessibility to goods and services, such as fresh and healthy food and low-cost medical care.
  4. Build an effective emergency communication strategy across city departments and enhance public participation, availability of information, and quality of public services.

To learn more, read our Public Health & Safety Fact Sheet.

 

Food Security

Food Accessibility

The ability of all residents to access healthy food is critical to maintaining the health of a community. A priority action in NB Resilient is to improve access to local, healthy and affordable food by working with community partners to expand programming and outreach.

 

Food Security

Access to Healthy Food Options

Access to affordable nutritious food for all is a prequisite for a resilient community. Without it, large parts of the population are prone to a range of health complications as well as the ability to invest in themselves in other ways. 

The chart to the left shows Census Tracts within New Bedford with both a significant number of households using food assistance as well as the percentage who are more than a half mile from a grocery store that carries fresh fruit and vegetables.

Healthy Living

Health Vulnerabilities

Vulnerability to climate change is higher for the elderly, people with preexisting medical conditions, those living at a low income, and those with greater exposure to environmental contaminants. In addition to the health vulnerabilities below, New Bedford residents are hospitalized for asthma at a greater rate than Massachusetts residents as a whole. Children in New Bedford also have higher blood lead levels. One NB Resilient action is to increase access to primary and preventative health care, including mental health services.

Healthy Living

Age Friendly New Bedford

New Bedford is an age-friendly city—a place where civic and municipal leaders, community organizations, and residents are working together to create an environment that supports people of all ages and all abilities.

Teams of residents and community organizations are working together to improve residents’ health and quality of life, including access to housing, transportation, parks, healthcare, employment, and social opportunities.

Read the latest report here, which has resources for renting or owning a home and supporting home maintenance and repair. 

Emergency Preparedness

Knowing the Risks

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of storms. Intense storms can leave cities without power and in a state of emergency. NB Resilient seeks to improve the New Bedford's communication capabilities to ensure we are prepared for any kind of emergency. FEMA suggests that people should be prepared to survive in their home for 72 hours with out power after an emergency.

  

 

Emergency Preparedness

Awareness Saves Lives

CodeRed is an emergency notification system through which town officials can contact residents and businesses by phone or text to delivery important community alerts during times of emergency.

Set up an account today and stay informed by visiting the Code Red website.

Emergency Preparedness

All Hazards Preparedness

To be resilient in the face of all types of threats, the City of New Bedford has adopted a comprehensive Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan that covers a range of storms types and other types of threats.

In addition, the City's Emergency Management Department produces a number of resources to keep residents safe before, during, and after a major disaster.

A map of the SLOSH model, which estimates storm surge heights, laid over New Bedford. The map indicates that the regions of Clarks Cove, Fort Phoenix Reservation, and the South Shore Marshes will experience inundation from a category 1 hurricane. Much of New Bedford will be inundated by a category 4 hurricane.

 

Emergency Preparedness

Hazard Mitigation

While we face many hazards, there are steps that residents and businesses can do to reduce the risk of harm when those events occur. One of those is by building smarter, especially in places that face a particular climate risk, such as areas in storm water flooding or hurricane inundation zones.

Toolkits, such as those from A Better City provide a road map for dealing with climate related hazards such as flash flooding, urban heat island, and storm surge. 

Map from Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

How You Can Help

Be Prepared, Stay Healthy

The City is working hard to keep its residents safe and healthy! Here are some things you can do.


Create an emergency preparedness kit

See What You Need
Get active by opting for a bike

Check out Local Bike Routes
Buy fresh, local, affordable food

Coastal Foodshed