Q1 – March 2021

Grant Nichols Confirmed HSEM Assistant Director

Assistant Director Grant Nichols being sworn in by Commissioner Quinn

CONCORD, NH – Director Jennifer L. Harper announces the appointment of Grant M. Nichols, of Dover, New Hampshire as the Assistant Director of New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management. On March 24th, Governor Sununu and the Executive Council approved Assistant Director Nichols’ appointment.

“Grant brings more than three decades of experience and knowledge and an unparalleled work ethic to the position,” Harper said.  “He has been at the forefront protecting communities and New Hampshire’s critical infrastructure for the past two decades; those skills and relationships will be an enormous asset in his new role as Assistant Director.”

Assistant Director Grant Nichols

Assistant Director Nichols has over 35 years of experience in the law enforcement field, most recently serving as the Deputy Chief Harbor Master for the NH Division of Ports and Harbors. Assistant Director Nichols is a U.S. Air Force veteran, a critical infrastructure security expert, and co-chair of the regional Coast Guard Area Maritime Security Committee.

“I am humbled and feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to join this group of professionals as Assistant Director.” Nichols said. “I am excited to join the team at HSEM in furthering the mission and commitment to the safety and security of New Hampshire’s residents and visitors. The role of HSEM in assisting individuals, communities and businesses to be more resilient and to quickly recover from disasters is essential to the State’s economic vitality.

“Grant is joining us at a critical time in the pandemic and will be a great addition to the team”, Harper added.

NHMS Mass Vaccination Super Sites

March 6th-8th & March 27th – 28th 2021

On March 6th, the state of New Hampshire, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Motor Speedway,  launched its three-day mass vaccination clinic in Loudon.  Over 11,000 New Hampshire residents were vaccinated over the three day period.  Over 1300 people were involved, coming from 100 different State, local, private and volunteer organizations.  The massive undertaking involved some glitches early on Saturday, but members of the team quickly worked to improve processes and by Monday most people were in and out of the site in under 30 minutes.

Chuck and Brenda were the final people to get vaccinated on the third and final day of the state’s first mass vaccination site at the NH Motor Speedway. Chuck celebrated his 85th birthday in style!
One of the many volunteers that made the event such a success vaccination a NH citizen.

“I just want to take a moment and just underscore a big thank you, what a phenomenal job everyone did from the Team, from the logistics end to all the volunteers actually making it happen on the ground. Everyone just with — there were so many smiles coming out of there. It was a good feel-good moment. But it was also great to see over 11,000 of our citizens walk away with kind of a one-and-done one-shot vaccine that they didn’t even have to come back for their second shot,” said Governor Sununu.

On March 27th, New Hampshire launched its second mass vaccination two-day event at the NH Motor Speedway. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, over 9000 people were vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The process ran so smoothly that at times the team was vaccinating up to 700 people per hour. Residents who were vaccinated at this event will return to NHMS on April 25th – 26th to receive their second dose.

NH HSEM thanks all of our partners, in particular the Capital Area Public Health Network, Concord Hospital, and the NH Motor Speedway for making these events successful.

The New Hampshire Silver Jackets Team, a state-led team of state and federal agencies and programs, announces the 2020 Spring Report of State Hydrology and Watershed ConditionsTeam members, including those from NHDES, United States Geological Survey, and the National Weather Service have worked together to compile information on the status of streamflows, groundwater conditions, lake levels, snowpack and flood potential heading into the spring snowmelt and runoff season. The report is designed to provide this important information to local emergency management directors and the public, in one place, so that they know how the spring runoff season may progress in terms of flood risk, enabling them to be better prepared.

The report also includes guidance for local officials and the public on factors to watch for as spring snowmelt proceeds, such as for ice jams, as well as web links to data and sites for additional information to consult as the spring season progresses. Information on the current status of flood mitigation programs, from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Office of Strategic Initiatives, is also included.

Municipal officials are especially encouraged to download a copy of the Spring Report of State Hydrology and Watershed Conditions .  Agency team members will monitor these conditions in the coming weeks as spring progresses, and are prepared to update this report in mid- to late-March if current predicted flood potential changes.

HSEM’s New Community Outreach Coordinator Vanessa Palange

Vanessa Palange

Vanessa Palange has spent the past 20 years working in multiple newsrooms across the state of New Hampshire. Most recently she spearheaded a design desk for Newspapers of New England and came up with ways to share content across the company’s New Hampshire papers, which include the Concord Monitor, Valley News and Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

She is looking forward to transitioning the skills she has learned in those newsrooms to the NH Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

HSEM Staff Updates


Vanesa Urango – Assistant Chief of Public Assistance – Vanesa started at HSEM as a meteorologist intern in the Operations Section in the summer of 2015. She came to the agency with a Bachelor’s in Meteorology and a Master’s in Applied Meteorology from Plymouth State University. Since her time as an intern, she has held positions at HSEM as a Program Assistant in the School Emergency Preparedness Program, a Program Assistant in Operations, the State All Hazards Planner, and the State Public Assistance Coordinator.

Robert Perocchi – EMPG Coordinator – Rob started with HSEM as a Secretary in 2019, then moved to the Public Assistance Program prior to his promotion to EMPG Coordinator. He has a a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media.

Courtney Jordan – Field Representative, Carroll and Coos counties – Courtney started with HSEM in 2019 as a part-time Program Assistant in Operations and was quickly promoted to the full-time Operations Program Assistant position. In January 2021, Courtney moved to the Special Facilities Field Representative position and now on to the Field Representative position for Carroll and Coos counties. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Masters Degree in Security and Resilience Studies.

Tayla Jacques – Program Assistant, Operations – Tayla started as a part-time Program Assistant in Operations in January 2021. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

New Hires

Megan Hoskins – Assistant Chief, Operations – Megan has been unofficially working with HSEM as the lead for scheduling state agency staff to work at the 211 Call Center since January 2021. She previously served as a Sergeant in the US Army and was formerly with the NH DMV for 10 years prior to her joining the HSEM staff.

Kimberly Castle – Assistant Chief, Radiological Emergency Preparedness – Kim started in March 2021 and is a former Market Asset Protection Manager for Walmart with 14 years experience in the emergency preparedness and management fields.

Diane Becker – Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program Specialist – Diane is rejoining HSEM after retiring in 2016. During her previous time at HSEM, Diane was the Chief of the Technological Hazards Section (now known as REP) and the Assistant Chief of Operations. She has Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science and Education from the University of New Hampshire.

Amy Carter – Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program Planner – Amy started in March 2021 as a Program Assistant and was quickly promoted to Program Planner. She has been with the Department of Safety since 2018, and has an Associate’s Degree from Hesser College.

Paul Kelly – REP Field Representative, Trainer – Paul started in March 2021 and is a retired Houston firefighter with 27 years experience.

Jennifer O’Leary – Public Assistance (PA) Coordinator – Jennifer started as the Public Assistance Coordinator in March 2021 and is an 18 year Department of Safety employee.

Holly Patterson – Program Assistant, Business Section – Holly started as full-time Program Assistant in February 2021 and has a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Geography and a Master’s Degree in Education – Student Affairs Administration from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.