Safety training can never be underestimated

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2007

The recent article regarding the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District staff finding and safely extinguishing the fire at the Alternative School in Kenai was much appreciated.

The training the article referred to was provided through the borough's Citizen Corps Program known as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

This program, managed by Citizens Corps Director Glenda Landua as part of the KPB Office of Emergency Management, has provided such training to a significant number of citizens across the peninsula over the past few years and is always available to provide CERT training to neighborhoods and civic groups.

This spring the school district became very proactive in providing this training to their staff across the peninsula. Working with Glenda, a program was established to train hundreds of school administrators, teachers and support staff in all aspects of emergency response, prior to the start of this school year.

The participation and response from the educators was enthusiastic. They experienced hours of instruction and hands-on training in subjects such as fire and medical emergencies, search and rescue within schools, evacuation management and accounting for students in an emergency, emergency triage, emergency communications and general protection of students, staff and facilities in disaster and intrusion situations.

Students account for roughly 20 percent of the entire borough population. Having trained people in our schools to assist students in an emergency means safer schools and the ability to more efficiently deploy emergency service resources that will be spread thin in an areawide disaster.

In some instances, such as an earthquake, roads could become impassable, requiring a facility such as a school to be self-sufficient for a period of time. This training provides preparation for that.

In addition to Glenda, Kay Steele and Bonnie Hanson of our office, and the borough assembly and mayor's office, I would like to thank the school district administration for their support and significant effort toward this training, as well as the professionals and experts of the Seward fire and police, the city of Kenai fire and police, Central Emergency Services, Nikiski Fire Department, Alaska State Troopers and many others that volunteered to deliver the training.

Whether it's a kitchen fire as seen at the Alternative School or a major areawide disaster, this training obviously has great value.

Scott Walden

Coordinator

Office of Emergency Management

Kenai Peninsula Borough



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