School administrators and law enforcement officials participate in ‘Keeping Kids Safe’ symposium

The Berks County Intermediate Unit, along with the Berks County Department of Emergency Services, who served as the event sponsor, hosted the 2023 Keeping Kids Safe Symposium which focused on Standard Response Protocol (SRP) and Standard Reunification Method (SRM) training for school administrators and law enforcement officials on Wednesday.

Participants gathered at the BCIU Main Office in Muhlenberg Township to receive this critical training provided by the “I Love U Guys” Foundation. Mr. Jim French served as the instructor for the event.

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The training addressed two main topics: Standard Response Protocol (SRP) and Standard Reunification Method (SRM). SRP provides consistent, clear, shared language, and actions among all students, staff, and first responders for all hazards. It is action-based and allows first responders, students, and parents to share a specific vocabulary for quick and coordinated action. SRM was introduced in 2012 to fill a critical void in school safety planning—How to reunite students with their parents after a crisis. Also included in the training was a segment on Incident Command and how it relates to crisis management for educators.

In addition to the SRP/SRM training, the program reinforced Berks County’s commitment to ensuring that the more than 70,000 students in Berks County have access to a safe and secure learning environment.

Dr. Jill Hackman, Executive Director of the Berks County Intermediate Unit, shared the importance of the SRP/SRM programming, “As a County, we remain committed to ensuring that the safety and security of our students and staff remains a top priority. Through these ongoing trainings, our education leaders and law enforcement, EMS, and fire officials are equipped to respond effectively and confidently in emergency situations, as well as expertly manage recovery and reunification efforts.”

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Mr. Russell Del Rosario, BCIU Safety and Security Program Administrator, commented on the successful training, “We are extremely fortunate and express our gratitude for the invaluable training Mr. Jim French and the ‘I Love U Guys’ Foundation provided to our county schools and law enforcement. The training underscores the importance of unified language and emergency protocols in times of crisis. Additionally, we would also like to thank the Berks County DES for sponsoring the event and their dedication to enhancing school safety and security.”

The Keeping Kids Safe Symposiums have been coordinated by the BCIU and its partners annually since 2009 for educators; emergency responders, including law enforcement officers, first responders, and emergency medical services personnel; elected officials, and mental health and community partners. The annual programs are devised to offer participants training opportunities, tools, and resources aimed to enhance emergency preparedness within the Berks County education community.

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