By Sue Ellen Woodcock
With his trademark humor Fire Chief Paul Flanagan kicked off the Town’s Fall Forum with a presentation on the status for emergency preparedness.
According to the Town’s charter two forums are required to be held each year, one in the fall and one in the spring where all department heads give updates.
Flanagan said many people in Town have various roles in emergency planning, including Fire, Police, Public Works, Inspectional Services, the Town Administration, the Town’s Medical Reserve Corps and the School Department. Training for different emergency scenarios is also important and both police and fire train regularly.
Police undergo firearms training, self defense and specialized training such as urban shield, active shooter training (which first responders also train for), SWAT training with the North Metro SWAT team, crisis intervention training.
In the fire department there is also training in rope rescue, hazmat training, ice rescue, flood water rescue, structural collapse, and more
The department of public works is also involved for its heavy equipment used in clean up, tree removal, snow removal and more.
“For the past year we’ve discussed emergency preparedness to plan for a catastrophic or ordinary event,” Flanagan said. “Two years ago it was snow. I feel we are very prepared for what Mother Nature has to throw at us.”
He added that Winthrop is a geographic challenge with only two neighbors – Boston and Revere.
Joining Flanagan in the presentation were Police Chief Terence Delehanty and Superintendent of Schools John Macero.
Delehanty also shared information on the use of a lock-down method, used at schools and similar institutions. His advice for parents let them know exactly what to do. “During an actual incident, do NOT go to the school. You will be turned away and you will be reunited with your child as soon as possible. Coming to the school will negativity impact our ability to solve the problem.”
Flanagan also urged residents to sign up for the Code Red alert system the town has. So far there are 10,600 residents signed up. To sign up go to the town’s website at www.town.winthrop.ma.us