This action was taken at the supervisors' workshop meeting, held Tuesday evening, Nov. 27 at the township's municipal building.
"It's important that we know what we're going to do," said Paul Whiteman, chairman of the board of supervisors. "We need a more comprehensive, inter-related approach to an emergency.
"While our existing plan works, we need to reassure our residents that a plan exists."
Rhoads briefly reviewed the basic implementation procedures to activate an emergencyplan. "The supervisors have responsibility for everybody in the township," he pointed out. "They give emergency management personnel the approval to open the Emergency Operations Center (located
at the Friendship Fire Co. on Main Street in Morgantown). The emergency management team then acts as coordinators between the supervisors, police, fire/rescue, road crew, and auxiliary police. We're there to coordinate, assist, and communicate with Berks County for backup in an emergency." He added that in the time of emergency "it is best that we work together."
Whiteman suggestedthat the board of supervisors and emergency management personnel consider doing a dry run that would simulate an emergency requiring the evacuation of Morgantown.
As the discussion continued, factors basic to the implementation of an emergency plan were identified such as the transportation of school students and senior citizens, availability of vehicles, methods of contacting and keeping residents informed of what action would be needed on their part, what directions would need to be followed, and who would be issuing directions and interfacing with county officials and the media among other concerns.
Township Secretary John Burdy emphasized the need for public education on emergency procedures. "Our residents must know where to turn to for crucial information," he said. "We need to examine the communication vehicles we need to inform and post our residents."
Whiteman added that it is necessary to enhance the existing emergency management plan in terms of communication so that residents know where to turn. He recommended that a number of communication vehicles be evaluated ranging from flyers listing key actions for residents to take to refrigerator-type magnets that would provide key information at a glance.
Burdy suggested that information crucial to understanding and acting in an emergency be posted to the township's website as well.
Norm Rhoads agreed to have an enhanced emergency management plan ready for preliminary review at the next meeting of the board of supervisors.
It was also agreed that before any simulated emergencies would be staged, the community would have the opportunity in a public meeting to learn more about and question any aspect of the township's emergency management plan.
In other business, Len Smith of Morgantown requested an update on the 2002 township budget. Chairman Whiteman reported that the 2002 budget for the township has been projected at $1,140,000, and that it is a balanced budget with no anticipated increase in taxes.
John Burdy reported that a contract between Caernarvon Township and Berks County that would provide the township with $20,000 in matching grant funds for parks and recreation needs had been reviewed by the township's solicitor, Brett Huckabee and found to be in order. A motion was passed to sign the contract and return it to Berks County as soon as possible.
The board of supervisors also approved the release of $77,763 to Penn Wood Farms as the development had fulfilled the infrastructure requirements for the community.
In view of the pending retirement of Police Chief Edgar A. Kirlin, the supervisors approved advertising for a new township chief of police.
The next meeting of the Caernarvon/Berks Board of Supervisors will be Tuesday evening, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the township's Municipal Building located at Main and Chestnut streets in Morgantown. For information on services and history, go to the township's website: www.caernarvon.org.