More than 20 local school administrators, regional law enforcement, and fire department personnel who work directly with New York State schools, recently met for a multi-day training event on Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools, hosted by the Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center (MHRIC) at Ulster BOCES.
“This conference created an opportunity for professionals to gather together to have conversations about preparedness,” said MHRIC Financial and Physical Security Services Manager Tenisha Lane, one of the event’s organizers. “Preparedness is achieved and maintained through a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action.”
Presenters from the Ulster County Emergency Services Department and the New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services (DHSES) Office of Emergency Management reported on domestic terrorism prevention. Other topics covered by the conference included enhancing the components of a school Emergency Response Plan (ERP), how to conduct assessments, and how to develop annexes (which outline steps to respond to a variety of different emergencies) to enhance a school ERP.
The two-day event also provided school safety team members with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to refine or develop and exercise an all-hazards school Emergency Response Plan that meets New York State regulatory mandates.
“Emergency management planning comprises four phases, and it is important to factor in all of them when developing comprehensive, all-hazard emergency management plans for schools and school districts,” said Lane. “Each of the phases—prevention mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery— is intricately linked to the others, and together they form the foundation for efficient emergency response and continuity of operations.”
Guest speaker Gabriela Dominguez, a Senior Analyst from the New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services Office, encouraged participants to reach out to her or to her department on security services that they provide.
“A member of our field team will come to your school and sit and listen or provide feedback,” said Dominguez. “We are here to support you.”