National County Government Month Department Spotlight- Public Safety
The next National County Government Month spotlight goes to the Public Safety Department, which encompasses the 911 Center, Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and Training Center. The mission of the Public Safety Department is to provide support and training to Pike County’s Fire Services and Emergency Responders so they may provide citizens with the finest available emergency services.
Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination supplies were allocated and distributed through hospitals and health care centers. Being that Pike County does not have a hospital or urgent care facility located within its boundaries, our Office of Emergency Management stepped into the role of pandemic mitigation.
Through long established relationships with surrounding counties and the PA Department of Health, in addition to grant management, the OEM has hosted COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics in Pike County.
The Training Center served as a mass testing and vaccination site, with the goal of ensuring that any individual who wanted a vaccine had the opportunity to receive one. Vaccines were also delivered to more than 275 homebound individuals.
On the busiest day, more than 1,200 individuals were vaccinated at our Training Center. Throughout the course of the pandemic, more than 20,000 COVID-19 tests and upwards of 10,000 doses COVID-19 vaccines were administered through the Office of Emergency Management.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Initiative
Another example of the OEM’s innovative spirit is the development and implementation of Pike County’s Emergency Medical Services matching grants program for municipalities. Realizing the nation-wide shortage of EMS personnel and funding, felt locally in Pike County, our Department of Public Safety proactively designed a study to identify key causes of the EMS crisis and develop solutions.
There were two significant outcomes.
- Establishment of the Pike County Emergency Services Initiative Fund administered by the Greater Pike Community Foundation. OEM staff collaborated with residents, community professionals, and the local foundation to help create a scholarship fund that relieves the financial burden associated with EMS training programs. Since the fund’s creation, there have been 60 scholarship recipients, 30 of which have gone on to serve in the county.
- Establishment of a County EMS matching grant program to help expand Emergency Medical Services for Pike municipalities. The Commissioners committed general funds to match annual municipal EMS allocations up to 2 mills. The interest among municipalities in Pike County has been overwhelmingly positive, with increased services already being realized.
The Pike County Training Center is a state-of-the-art facility with a 4-story Class A Burn Building, a Confined Space Unit, a Flashover Simulator Unit, Class B Props, and more. The facility’s amenities allow for hands-on, complete, realistic, and safe training programs for individuals in Pike County to train in an efficient manner to better protect and serve our area. Agencies from all over the county conduct training sessions at the facility on a daily basis.
There are a variety of high-quality classes and programs are offered ranging from introductory to refresher courses. Click here to view the Training Center’s schedule of courses.
The Training Center houses the County’s 911 Center.
Our 911 Dispatchers serve as the first point of contact for individuals seeking emergency services. They are extensively trained to process emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance and information. These individuals effectively communicate with authorities in order to mitigate emergency situations.
We are thankful for the work they do to create a safer community for Pike County residents and visitors.
Code Red is the emergency alert system offered by the Public Safety Department. Citizens can sign up, free of charge, to receive text and phone calls regarding emergency situations or critical community alerts. Examples include evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports.
To increase interest in the emergency services and first responder fields among young people, the Public Safety Department holds fun and informational events, which provide opportunities to explore the emergency medical field as a potential career path.
The Training Center will be hosting a Jr. Weekend on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The weekend will allow individuals to participate in life-like scenarios to experience what it is like being a member of the emergency services field. Attendees interested in EMS will learn skills such as patient assessments, how to take vital signs, and setting up a rehab station. Individuals interested in fire services will be able to try on gear, enter a zero-visibility environment, practice victim rescues, and do a hose line search.
To register for Jr. Weekend, please call the Training Center at 570-296-1960.
Over the summer of 2021, the Pike County Public Safety Department held a Youth Responder Camp at the Training Center. Each day focused on learning a different responder service including law enforcement, fire protection, and emergency medical services. Skills were taught by the OEM staff, along with members from various responder programs including the Sherriff’s Office, the Pike County Correctional Facility, emergency medical services agencies, and local fire protection agencies.
Through hands-on activities, campers were able to learn the duties and responsibilities of each responder service. The camp was open to young people ages 10-18. Over 80 young adults attended.
Wallenpaupack Protective Services Initiative
The Wallenpaupack Protective Services Academy, held at the Pike County Training Center, is a newly implemented career technical program through Wallenpaupack Area School District. The three-year program focuses on learning the emergency service field- law enforcement, EMS, and fire. Over the course of the program, students have the availability to earn almost 60 college credits. Students interested in enrolling in the program should contact their school counselor.