First Responders, professional staff and volunteers will participate in an Active Threat Drill in collaboration with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC) on January 25 at 8:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and coordinated by its Director of Community Security, Brad Orsini, the drill will test various aspects of the community’s critical threat and response plan.
“This drill will help our First Responders increase their preparedness and response to major critical incidents,” said Orsini. “We have fortunately never had a significant incident, but this type of drill presents an important opportunity to practice in case of an emergency and to determine how to improve the plan.”
The Active Threat Drill, which will take place at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, is part of an effort to ensure that security professionals at Jewish institutions around the area have training and preparation and are able to coordinate well with Pittsburgh area First Responders in case of an emergency.
“We are so pleased to be working in partnership with the Jewish Federation and public safety officials in improving emergency preparedness,” said Jason Kunzman, Chief Program Officer for the JCC.
The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety, including Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Departments plan to participate in the drill. Some Jewish organizations will send a representative to participate and to witness the drill, helping them to garner additional security knowledge for their own facilities. Some security staff at Jewish organizations, many of whom have joined the Jewish Communal Security Team to improve communication efforts, will also participate.
“Training staff and community members to help in an emergency plays a vital role in reducing the impact because they are often the first ones to respond,” said Orsini. “Drills like this also offer a great opportunity for our Jewish Communal Security Team and CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] to liaison with our First Responders so we can all help in time of crisis.”
In order to make the drill more realistic, Orsini and the Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety who are running the exercise will keep details of the scenario secret until the night of the drill. Volunteers will play a variety of roles in the simulation and will get instructions on their involvement before the exercise starts.