DALLAS, Pa. — Local education professionals, police and public safety units had the opportunity to take part in an eight-hour threat and response training held at Penn State Wilkes-Barre in December.
Through lectures, interactive discussions and expert-led, hands-on exercises, attendees learned about planning and response tactics for bomb threats and how to perform potentially lifesaving first aid.
Participants included faculty, staff, police and public safety officers and administrators from Penn State Hazleton, Penn State Schuylkill and Penn State Wilkes-Barre and representatives from the Dallas, Lake-Lehman and Susquehanna Township school districts. Police units from Dallas and Lake-Lehman and local K-9 trainers also participated.
“When planning this event at the Wilkes-Barre campus, we saw the value of having representation from various organizations in our region,” said Sergeant James Joos, with University Police. “By bringing together professionals with diverse perspectives, job responsibilities and life experiences, the training becomes more impactful to our community. We were able to discuss different ideas and intricacies related to our respective institutions. Doing so equips us to think through and develop plans for scenarios we may not have originally considered.”
Representatives from New Mexico Tech guided those in attendance through two professional trainings developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), New Mexico Tech and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The first training, “Understanding and Planning for School Bombing Incidents," gave individuals a foundation to build on in their planning and responding to school bomb threats and bomb incidents through lectures and exercises. Threat response strategies for pre- and post-detonation were covered, as well as actionable items specific to participating institutions’ needs.
Following the first training, participants learned about hazards and injuries associated with bombings and how to perform life-saving actions in the immediate aftermath of a bombing incident in the “Surviving Bombing Incidents for Educators” course. Attendees received personal trauma kits from FEMA including tourniquets, chest seals and pressure dressings after learning about and demonstrating proper use of the materials.
“The safety and security of our campus community is our utmost priority,” said Lynda Goldstein, chancellor and chief academic officer, who participated in both sessions. “This daylong training was an important part of our campus’ efforts to continue to increase our preparedness and response to emergency scenarios.”
Various trainings and exercises are ongoing throughout the year. Safety information for the campus community is available on the police and public safety page.