Northampton County and the surrounding area has seen a dramatic increase in the number of large, often sprawling distribution centers and warehouses that have located in the area during the past decade. They now dot the landscape throughout region with more planned in the coming years. In fact, it’s a trend that’s been seen across much of Pennsylvania.

While the arrival of warehouses and distribution centers has brought welcome jobs and opportunities, there are questions surfacing about the capabilities of local emergency response agencies and stakeholders to manage emergency issues at the large enclosed structures.  

“These issues associated with emergency responses to large enclosed structures like distribution centers and warehouses are unique, challenging and potentially fatal,” said Thomas Barnowski, Director of Corporate & Public Safety Education for Northampton Community College. “We’re seeing a number of challenges related to structural awareness, fire safety, fire rescue and all aspects from response to recovery. These are not small issues.”

To raise awareness and discuss regional challenges, Northampton Community College (NCC) is hosting a virtual awareness program for stakeholders and emergency responders on Thursday, April 14, 10 a.m., virtually via Zoom.

The program will offer information about emerging efforts underway to provide safe and functional emergency response methods to area agencies and businesses. Subject matter experts will be on hand to discuss ongoing efforts to create training programs that focus on effective integrated incident response and recovery. “We believe that through a comprehensive approach of utilizing and managing all available resources, we can save lives and protect valuable property,” said Barnowski. “But we need municipalities, agencies and businesses to be engaged and to work together to come up with the right solutions.”  

Participants need to confirm attendance in advance. For more information or to confirm attendance, contact Heather Ehritz at hehritz@northampton.edu.