Northampton Press

Monday, July 6, 2020

Borough council reacts to Fla. tragedy

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by LINDA WOJCIECHOWSKI Special to The Press in Local News

Should a crisis and tragedy occur in Northampton Borough like the one last week in south Florida, what would the responsibilities of borough officials be?

Borough Councilman Kenneth Hall, who is also the borough’s emergency management coordinator, addressed the issue with council members and officials at the borough council meeting Feb. 15.

The council meeting occurred just one day after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 14 students and three faculty members.

Hall said he has a two-hour course in incident command training that all council members should take.

“In the light of what happens daily, you have no idea what your responsibility is in a given situation, and it is your responsibility to know,” he said.

Councilman Robert McHale agreed.

“What we’ve seen in the last few days in south Florida is mind boggling. It can happen anywhere,” he said to Hall. “If there are things you feel we need to know as community leaders, make sure we are up to speed on what we need to do should an event like this happen.”

He asked Hall to provide council members with whatever information is necessary and said council members would take any courses needed.

“I don’t know what the protocol is for any of the schools in our district, but taking a look at the last few days, it makes me sit down in my seat and wonder what can happen tomorrow,” McHale said. “I am sure the school district has a response team that is ready, in the event — God forbid if it does happen — but certainly, we want to be on top of it as best we can.”

Hall said he would contact the school district to learn about its crisis planning.

“I am sure they have a plan,” he said. “My office should keep a copy of that.”

McHale commented he expects parents will be attending the next school board meeting to question school officials about preventing and reacting to an active shooter situation.