Receiving an A+ in Emergency Preparedness is as easy as 1…2…3!

February 17th, 2014

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Schools – public, private, and independent – have a responsibility to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond, and recover from emergencies and disasters that can affect staff members and students.  As we’ve sadly witnessed from Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 to Moore, Oklahoma in 2013, our schools are susceptible to a wide range of natural and human-caused disasters.  Now is the time to take the appropriate steps to prepare for future threats. Working to address an identified gap in school crisis planning among private and independent schools, the National Capital Region Regional Planners Subcommittee will be hosting three School Preparedness Seminars this spring to discuss a variety of topics surrounding school safety.

Commonly referred to as the “Regional Planners,” the Subcommittee is made up of emergency management planners from each of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) member jurisdictions, as well as the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Regional Planners’ mission is to develop and maintain regional and local plans that together enhance the capability across the region to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Each full-day seminar will provide opportunities for participants across the region to meet, network, and share best practices. The key-note speakers and informational panels will raise awareness of school safety issues, provide Homeland Security and Safe School resources for stakeholders, provide an opportunity for local emergency management offices to meet and identify school safety personnel, and help participants recognize the threats to school safety and develop strategies to prevent, mitigate, and respond to situations.

Through our work for various emergency management entities in the region, several Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS) staffers are supporting this effort. Raymond Shin, CHHS Senior Law and Policy Analyst, is the Interim Project Management Officer (PMO) of the MWCOG Regional Planners and Ellen Cornelius, CHHS Senior Law and Policy Analyst, assisted in planning support on behalf of the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. Vernon Herron, CHHS Senior Policy Analyst, will utilize his many years of experience in law enforcement and crisis management training to moderate all three seminars. Additionally, as a representative of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, I have been the lead on the initiative since we began developing the seminars in early 2013. CHHS will continue to encourage Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia educators to participate in this valuable regional collaboration as the seminars approach.   

For more information on how to sign up for the School Preparedness Seminar, please visit http://www.eventbrite.com/org/4914843753. Do not miss this opportunity to get involved and be better prepared for disasters and emergencies. 

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