Cocalico Area Leaders discuss shared emergency services

By on February 6, 2019

Denver Borough doesn’t want to “run around scattered” in case of an emergency.

“Fortunately, we haven’t had a (an emergency) situation, but as we all know, that can happen at any time,” said Mike Hession, borough manager, at the Jan. 22 Cocalico Area Leaders meeting.

“We’ve been without an emergency management coordinator for a little over a year,” said Hession. “We haven’t had much luck bringing somebody in. There had been some ideas about the possibility of sharing an EMC with other municipalities. Denver would be more than happy to look to see how maybe we can all partner together to fill that role that we can all benefit from.”

“We have one and we did talk to him about sharing it with Adamstown, actually,” said James Stoner, West Cocalico. “I think what everybody’s got to keep in mind is the responsibility of that person and the knowledge that they have, too, and the amount of time it takes to be that. I know that is the excuse of ours for not wanting to do it. It’s a lot of responsibility.”

“It’s probably something that’s going to show up in our budgets at some point in the future,” said Cindy Schweitzer, Adamstown.

Considering the significant drop in volunteer fire fighters, the EMC position may be “stressed.”

“Their work load is probably going to go up considerably,” said Romao Carrasco, East Cocalico.

“We approached the fire company because we thought that would be a natural extension and they came back and said the same thing, ‘Hey we have a limited number of people, and when there’s an event, we’re out,’” said Hession.

On a separate subject, Hession asked Cocalico School District Superintendent, Ella Musser, if there is a program at the school for students to do intern-type work for municipalities to give them experience and help at the same time.

“Absolutely,” said Musser. “We actually started last year, we had just a handful of interns, and this year we have 30 at different places. If you have a business, or borough work, we would be very interested in that.”

The Cocalico area leaders meeting lasted half an hour.
Hession updated on an intermunicipal agreement for shared emergency services.

“We are in the process of advertising to approve it,” said Hession, after going through minor changes submitted by Adamstown Borough and East and West Cocalico.

East Cocalico Township Police Department Chief Darrick Keppley seemed hesitant to bring up the topic of the newly installed School Resource Officer.

“I’m not trying to throw out a grenade, I’m just trying to inform everybody that the SRO is in place,” said Keppley. “He went to training last week and is now certified and luckily that training was covered by a federal grant. I’ve heard good comments from the administrators.”

“I heard from my son over at the high school that a bunch of the kids were actually impressed that your officer actually sits down and has lunch with them,” said Carrasco. “He thought that was the coolest thing, so thank you.”

West Cocalico shared comments on their latest news.

“Hopefully, for the school’s sake and emergency uses, we can get the Horseshoe Trail Bridge back up by July or August,” said Stoner.
Adamstown Borough had no comments when came their turn to speak on the agenda.

Michele Walter Fry is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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