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Home Guard

The 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.

Twenty 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 suspected incident.

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.

Designated 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 June 26th.-27th.

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 or easi@easi.org.


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