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Preparing for challenges

Alissa Widman Neese • Feb 27, 2013 at 6:01 AM


They can, however, ensure they’re prepared to react with the safest, most effective means possible.


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Dozens of local school officials gathered to refine their emergency response plans this week, teaming up with nearby law enforcement officers and emergency management agencies for a two-day, 16-hour course.

Perkins police Chief Ken Klamar and fire instructor Steve Westcott taught the free workshop-style class at E H OVE . Th e pa i r a n d about 30 others from Ohio attended a training session last summer with Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives.

 This week’s class was the first offered in Ohio, but it certainly won’t be the last, Klamar said.

“We want to do our part to get the ball rolling on forward thinking,” he said. “We want our schools to have the best possible plans in place for any situation, no matter how big or small.”

Hazards discussed ranged from extreme situations, including shootings, fires or natural disasters, to smaller issues like illness outbreaks, network outages and gas leaks.

Individuals from EHOVE, Sandusky, Perkins, Vermilion, Sandusky Central Catholic and Norwalk schools attended.

The event wasn’t coordinated in response to the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, but the tragedy affirmed the need to educate school leaders as quickly as possible, Westcott said

 “With so many  tragic stories circulating, parents are ver y concerned w ith student safety,” said Mike Claar, Sandusky Central Catholic School chief financial officer. “We want to ensure we’re doing all we can to take security to the next level.”

Gathering almost 50 individuals provided opportunities to develop collaborative response plans across districts, said Dan Shupe, Vermilion Schools resource officer.

“This was very proactive,” Shupe said. “We learned a lot to take back with us.”

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