PAL initiates safety plan
Published 4:54 pm Saturday, March 15, 2014
As part of a proactive “safe-community, safe–youth” program by the Beaufort County Police Activities League, PAL President Al Powell met with the Mid-East Housing Authority Board of Commissioners on Thursday and gave a presentation providing a real-world explanation as to why a facility should prepare an all-hazards emergency response plan for their specific location(s).
The presentation, “The ABC’s of Planning an All-Hazard Emergency Response Plan,” was geared to provide an uncomplicated approach to executive and senior-level decision-makers in creating a new emergency-response plan or modifying their existing plans.
According to Powell, at least 3,000 residents across seven counties, within the housing authority’s service area, would benefit from this type of pre-emptive plan.
“They’ve never really had an all-hazards type playbook to deal with a variety of situations, to encompass law-enforcement situations, weather-related situations, chemical spills, etcetera,” said Powell.
According to Powell, the presentation provided the “big picture” of what such a plan should incorporate while considering the Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements and the command and control structure. It also focused on the format that should be followed in designing this plan and how it should fit within the county and state emergency-response protocol. The presentation pointed out that the time of a crisis is not the time for an agency to start designing and implementing its procedures. To be effective and safe, a plan should be created before a potential hazard occurs and evaluated and improved by using periodic practice sessions with emergency personnel.
“We are focusing on all the facilities that handle youth — whether they live in a housing complex or attend a school — and make it a safer environment (for the youth),” said Powell.
Powell has a wide range of experience from serving as former chief of FBI terrorism unit, SWAT team member, FBI pilot, flight instructor and a member of the 9/11 World Trade Center investigation team from which to draw to prepare this presentation format.
“A lot of credit has to go to Marc Recko for arranging this presentation because he wanted the commissioners to hear why it is important to have a proactive all-hazards emergency response plan that is geared to address a multitude of possible events,” Powell said.
Recko is the executive director of the Mid-East Region Housing Authority and serves as chairman of the PAL board of directors.
Powell has been asked to help the authority modify and/or improve its existing emergency-response procedures.