(Wampsville, NY – July 2013) On Wednesday morning, May 29, representatives from 33 three local, state and federal agencies attended a four-hour workshop to discuss a coordinated response to an incident involving a school. A simulated scenario involving an active shooter was the backdrop of the day’s event.

The workshop, sponsored by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Emergency Services Office and Public Safety Communications Center (E-911), was planned over the past 14 months by representatives from each agency, including Emergency Preparedness Director Joe DeFrancisco and E-911 Director Paul Hartnett, and was overseen by Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley.

The purpose of the workshop was to bring all Madison County law enforcement agencies together with school districts, colleges, fire departments and EMS providers, along with various partner agencies, to discuss their mutual responses to a simulated incident in a school environment.

“The events of Sandy Hook and the response to the tragedy this past spring in Herkimer clearly stressed the urgency to meet to discuss and understand the policies, procedures and response mechanisms that are in place to protect our children and keep our communities as safe as possible,” Riley said. “Since the horrific events at Sandy Hook, numerous discussions have taken place between myself and each school district superintendent to discuss security posture and plans.

“Getting all the key players together at once rose quickly as priority.”

The objectives set during the workshop were to discuss policies, plans and procedures currently in place to react or respond to an incident; discuss mechanisms used to communicate during an incident within a school or college (within and across responder agencies and the public); discuss coordination and control of personnel and resources; discuss the law enforcement response to an incident within a school or college and the coordination and control of such as response in conjunction with schools, EMS and fire personnel; discuss other response and support needs and activity.

Each Madison County school district superintendent was in attendance, along with key members of their staff, and included the district superintendent and assistant superintendents of Madison-Oneida BOCES, and principal of Saint Patrick’s School in Oneida. In addition, representatives from Oneida Healthcare, Community Memorial Hospital, Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, the head of Upstate EMS Physician Response Team, Greater Lenox Ambulance Service, state Office of Emergency Management, stte Department of Health – Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, the Sheriff’s Office, State Police, Oneida City Police, Canastota Police, Chittenango Police, Cazenovia Police, SUNY Morrisville Police, Colgate College and Cazenovia College Public Safety officials, Madison County 911 Center, Madison County Fire Coordinators, Madison County EMS Coordinator, Canastota Fire Department, DeRuyter Fire Department, Oneida County Emergency Management and Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, all who would play a critical role in a major response, were also in attendance.

The workshop, facilitated by TREX Planning Associates from Ava was made possible through funds from the state Homeland Security Grant Program.

By martha

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