Stressing readiness a positive

In case of violence, county conducts training

In recent weeks, we’ve noticed what seems to be an increase in training sessions to help our area prepare for the unexpected.

At a time when no region seems immune from acts of violence, it’s encouraging to see such training because it offers a good answer when people asks: “What can I do?” and “Is our area prepared?”

If a shooting starts, react quickly by fleeing if you can, Blair County Deputy Sheriff Robert Archey told courthouse employees at a recent training session. The next option is to hide, Archey said, and if that’s not possible, then fight the attacker with whatever is available.

Several weeks ago, county employees had the opportunity to take a Mental Health First Aid USA class where they learned skills to use when confronting someone developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. That same class, available from trained volunteers, has been offered in other local settings too.

On Wednesday night, representatives of local agencies gathered at PennDOT headquarters in Hollidaysburg for a tabletop drill in which they pretended to respond to an emergency with mass casualties that shut down Interstate 99 and Route 220 in Blair County after it allowed the release of a hazardous substance.

Emergency Management Agency Director Dan Boyles called the drill a valuable exercise to help local responders identify their strengths and shortcomings.

On Tuesday, emergency responders have another training opportunity, when the Blair County Local Emergency Planning Committee hosts its annual Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) summit at the Blair County Convention Center.

This year’s line up of speakers includes ones who will address efforts that worked well in preparing for or dealing with shootings, storm-related damages and chemical spills.

Those involved in these training sessions deserve praise for educating themselves and others who will likely be the best prepared and ready to act appropriately if and when they’re faced with reacting to an unexpected event.

We urge everyone to look for opportunities to do what they can to be prepared.