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Falls Supervisors Update Emergency Operations Plan

The idea is to never have to use it, but in case of an emergency, Falls Township has a newly updated emergency operations plan outlining everything needed in the event of a crisis situation.

Guidelines for handling nuclear disasters, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and active shooter situations are all detailed in the three-ring binder, according to the Township’s Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator Rich Dippolito.

The Falls Supervisors at its recent meeting approved a resolution to adopt and put into place the updated emergency operations plans.

“It’s a fluid document,” Dippolito said. “You try to keep it for any kind of conceivable disaster that may occur.”

Falls Supervisor Chairman Bob Harvie commended Dippolito on keeping the emergency operations plan up-to-date and flexible.

“It’s obviously a never-ending struggle, as procedures change, policies change materials change, situations that might arise that you never thought of happening two years ago,” Harvie said.

Dippolito’s office, in conjunction with Falls Township Police, offer active shooter training at schools, as well as local businesses. Next on his immediate agenda is to offer the training at the municipal building as well.

The emergency management team leads the run, hide, fight active shooter training. It’s also important for schools, businesses and other large buildings to label inside and outside doors so emergency responders can find people in case of a fire or active shooter situation. The national standard denotes the front of the building as A, the left as B, the right as C and the back as D. Doors follow a numbering system as well that tells crews, for instance, where someone would be located if they see a door marked C11.

“It could be a fire. Somebody’s hurt,” Dippolito said, offering an example. “They’re disoriented. They can’t get out, but they see a number.”

The emergency operations plan has been in place since at least the 1980s, Dippolito said.

“It was something that was probably much more prevalent back before we had communication like we do now. Now it’s so simple to pick up your cell phone,” he said.

If and when emergencies are on the horizon, Dippolito posts helpful tips, insight and warnings for residents on the fire marshal’s Facebook page.


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