Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps Home Guard Pilot Program was
kicked off in May 2003. It was designed to encourage the involvement
of PaSEC volunteers to educate people in their communities across the
Commonwealth to become more aware of their surroundings and the
potential places that a bioterrorism act could threaten Pennsylvania's
source water and drinking water resources.
Initial contact was made with 25 PaSECs to introduce the Home Guard
pilot program and its concept. Initially two volunteers from 10
SECs were recruited to attend the Third Statewide Annual Water
Monitoring Conference & More in Clearfield on June 26-28.
|Sporting their new Home Guard
jackets, Clearfield, PA Home Guard Designated Trainers pose with
Cheryl Nolan, EASI's Statewide Home Guard Coordinator.
volunteers participated in an extensive three-day training on
bioterrorism with Bob Nelson and Associates. Three
additional trainings that yielded 5 additional designated trainers
were held at local PaSEC offices. This was for the people who were not
able to attend the conference in Clearfield. The goal was to
provide information about threats of bioterrorism in watersheds and
water systems to the volunteers who are already participating in a
successful water-monitoring program throughout Pennsylvania.
They trained volunteers on threats in general and then focused on
particular types of bioterrorism such as chemical, and biological.
Specifically discussed was how bioterrorism agents can be introduced
into the water systems and the vulnerability of those systems.
Finally volunteers were trained on who to contact and ways to report a
|Pennsylvania Home Guard Designated Trainers were
celebrated at a recognition dinner in Clearfield, PA, for their
diligence in training citizens in their communities to be alert
against bio-terrorism threats to community water supplies.
Home Guard trainers from each of the 6 regions within the state formed
committees to meet with the DEP regional managers and their staffs to
discuss the goal of the Home Guard program, learn what the partnership
with the DEP meant to the Home Guard program and how to make the
program successful in each region.
28 Designated trainers went out into their communities between June
and October and gave presentations to various offices of aging, Lions
Clubs, senior centers, utilities meetings, conservation district
offices, and other environmental gatherings to share the Home Guard
training program. Ongoing trainings continue to take place and
interaction between the volunteers encourages new ideas on places to
present the Home Guard training.
The goal of the Home Guard Program is to reach as many citizens as
possible within the designated trainers' communities who would like to
be educated on the potential threat of bioterrorism, how it could
potentially affect their communities, and how to become a significant
partner in deterring these types of threats. Designated trainers have
presented to over 350 people in 28 counties.
Many groups are collaborating with their local utilities, Emergency
Management Agencies and DEP offices on potential targets and how they
can better keep an eye on them to recognize any type of terrorist
threat that may possibly occur. With continued expansion in the number
of senior volunteers committed to the Home Guard Program and the
creation of more partnerships within every community we can then help
assure that the waterways and drinking water sources in the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are safe.
York County PaSEC Home Guard Program
The Yorktown Senior Center is very happy to host the
Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps. It is a worthwhile project and
we are proud to be associated with them. It is great the seniors are
so dedicated and productive. I am a designated trainer for the
Home Guard program. We had an intense training in Clearfield Pa. on
I also attended a meeting on July 5th with the DEP and met our contact
person, Kerry Leib (Environmental Emergency Response Program Manager).
It is important in the respect that if they get a phone call from us
that they will take it very seriously and know that it isn't a hoax or
just someone fooling around. They are glad to have reliable eyes
and ears out and about. We are not to take terrorist threats lightly
or anything that looks suspicious.
We are hoping that we can educate as many people as we can to be more
aware of things that go on around them and understand that we cannot
sit by and not get involved. --
Pat Clayton/Board President, Yorktown Senior Center and Project
Supervisor of the York County Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps
In partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection, EASI has produced a Home Guard Training and Field Manual,
available on CD. To obtain the manual, please contact EASI's
Pennsylvania Home Guard Coordinator Cheryl Nolan at PaHomeGuard@aol.com