Should schools beef up security?
Updated On: Dec 17 2012 07:02:52 PM CST
As parents and loved ones in Newtown, Connecticut say goodbye to the tiniest victims of an elementary school mass shooting, tough questions are being asked in Berks County.
Is the county ready should a similar tragedy strike the region's schools?
Officials say they are ready, and have had extensive emergency response plans in place for four years now.
They say they are prepared for more than 20 different types of crisis situations, and have meticulous procedures for lockouts, lockdowns, evacuations and shelter.
"For a utility failure, a hazmat spill, a flood, an active shooter, a bomb threat, a suicide, and then there'll be procedural checklists for each of the school districts to work through," said Jill Hackman, assistant executive director, Berks County Intermediate Unit.
Administrators say preparedness will be vital in making sure students are protected.
"It's really important that our schools go through those exercises and routines and our staff members are informed on our they respond to such a crisis," said Hackman.
Meetings started back in November, with a focus on making sure that ambulance, police, and firefighters can respond to tragedies, jointly, without any confusion.
"The fire services workgroup, emergency management services, and we also have our local law enforcement, our state police, and chiefs of police who are partnering with us with regards to drills and practice," said Hackman.
"Unfortunately, we learn from other events in life whether something works or it doesn't work, so you have to critique your plans and make sure it properly works out," said Chief Paul R. Stoltz, Jr., Caernarvon Twp., Police Dept.
Revised emergency safety procedures should be in place by March.
Copyright 2012 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Liberty High School students dismissed following lock down
23 students taken to hospital from school bus crash on Route 222
Sleeping driver hits pole; police station, others lose electricity
Man slapped with $43,000 water bill
Cash 5 ticket worth $1.4M sold in Lehigh County
Large fish washes ashore along Delaware River
NJ mom charged with trying to kill her 3 teenagers
Tractor trailer overturns against home, strikes gas line
Police: Man caught at hotel with 1,200 bags of heroin
Thirsty intruder wearing pajama pants leads police on chase