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Lehigh Valley

Dorney Park to host preparedness drill for emergency responders

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - Dorney Park and South Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co., are teaming up to conduct a preparedness drill involving hundreds of local emergency responders and volunteers.

The exercise, scheduled for Mon., May 13 and sponsored by the Northeast Pennsylvania Regional Counter Terrorism Task Force, will simulate a hazardous condition with multiple causalities during the peak of the park's summer season, officials said.

"On a busy day, attendance at Dorney Park can result in the doubling of our population in South Whitehall," said Jon Hammer, township manager. "We are committed to the well-being and public safety of our long term residents as well as our one-day visitors. This exercise is part of our ongoing proactive approach to ensure that our first responders are prepared and equipped to handle any emergency."

The focus if the drill, officials said, will be on the coordination of key emergency responders, critical decisions, and integration of the multi-jurisdictional assets necessary to save lives and protect the public.

"A crisis never occurs when it is convenient, so it is wise that agencies prepare for the inevitable in a proactive manner," said Steven Harper, president, Strategic Crisis Solutions, an emergency preparedness management firm that will conduct and evaluate the exercise. "To that end, we have assembled a diverse team to challenge and stretch the responders in a 'no fault,' win - win environment."

Emergency responders will mitigate the fictional crisis, perform crime scene investigations, and provide medical treatment for volunteers playing the role of victims, said officials, adding that as many as 400 people are expected to take part.

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