Pennsylvania county to enact all hazards plan for public schools

Public school officials in Berks County, Pennsylvania, recently made progress toward the completion of a standardized county-wide emergency preparedness and response program to improve communication between first responders and schools during emergencies.

The Berks County All Hazards Planning program is inspired by plans belonging to the Federal Emergency Management Association and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association. The program consists of a minimum of 26 emergency scenarios, including bioterror, school shootings, industrial hazards and nuclear power plant emergencies, the Tri County Record reports.

"What (AHP implementation) will do is place a leaner county-wide emergency plan in place," Paul Stolz, Caernarvon Township's police chief, said, according to the Tri County Record. "There is not currently a standardized plan for all of (Berks County's public schools). Once (AHP) is put into place we will know what everyone is expected to do in case of a major emergency - school personnel, students, police, fire, EMS...we will know across the board what will be done in case of an emergency."

The plan, which is scheduled for implementation by March 14, addresses how schools should take action in the face of various emergencies and how to handle communication with the public.

AHP received 100 percent commitment from the schools involved and discussions are taking place with local first responders, fire departments and police to ensure the plan is implemented effectively throughout the county, the Tri County Record reports.