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A First for New Jersey Schools

Hillsborough passes or exceeds every expectation in homeland security self assessment.

The became the first district in the state to participate in a baseline capabilities assessment by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness recently.

On March 29, the district–as well as members of Hillsborough’s Police, EMS, Fire and Office of Emergency Management departments–participated in the program. It gives participating organizations a meaningful and comprehensive baseline assessment of their emergency capabilities. The capabilities measured by this tool are derived from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Target Capabilities List and other best practice criteria.

“Ensuring that school districts test their emergency management plans is a key priority in our homeland security and preparedness strategy,” Edward Dickson, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said in a release.

“Through this self-assessment tool, school districts, working directly with local first-responders, are able to identify, and improve upon any gaps in their emergency response and recovery plans.”

The assessment was held at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy in Hillsborough and representatives from the New Jersey Department of Education were also on hand to observe. NJOHSP staff presented those participating with an emergency scenario to work through using current district and township emergency management procedures. Upon the completion of the assessment, the district was evaluated in seven different emergency response categories.

The district met or exceeded NJOHSP expectations in all seven areas.

“We appreciated the opportunity provided by NJOHSP to complete this assessment,” Scott Rocco, district assistant superintendent for personnel, said in a release. “This assessment allowed us to evaluate our emergency plans and procedures as well as reinforce the long-standing positive relationships we have with our local emergency agencies. Through this assessment, we have also recognized that our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training has proven to be essential in helping to handle emergency situations.”

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