May 20, 2024
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Strengthening Community Resilience: JEPP’s Summer Emergency Preparedness Training

(Courtesy of JEPP) In an ever-changing world where preparedness and safety are paramount, the Jewish Emergency Preparedness Project (JEPP) has taken significant strides to empower and safeguard its community. This summer, JEPP embarked on a mission to fortify the readiness of summer camps, synagogues, and day and pre-schools by delivering vital in-person and hands-on emergency preparedness training. This comprehensive program focused on building awareness, instilling confidence, and familiarizing participants with emergency procedures, benefiting teachers, counselors, ushers and volunteers alike.

 

Building Awareness and Confidence

JEPP’s emergency preparedness training began with a fundamental objective: to establish a robust foundation of awareness and confidence among participants. Recognizing that every community faces unique challenges, JEPP tailored its training to address specific risks associated with each setting.

Summer camp staff received specialized guidance on handling heatwaves and water-related emergencies. Through practical, on-site exercises, they acquired the skills necessary to ensure the safety of campers during outdoor activities. Meanwhile, synagogue ushers and volunteers received training to respond effectively to security concerns, empowering them to protect congregants during gatherings and services, particularly during the High Holiday season.

By customizing the training to suit the needs of each group and delivering it in person, JEPP ensured that all participants left the sessions well-prepared and self-assured. In addition to technical skills, the training placed a strong emphasis on effective communication during emergencies. Participants were taught how to relay information clearly and calmly, a skill vital in preventing panic and confusion during crisis situations. This not only equipped them with knowledge but also boosted their confidence to take swift and effective action when needed.

Familiarization With Emergency Procedures Through Hands-On Training

JEPP’s training program went beyond theoretical knowledge by providing practical, hands-on experience. Familiarization with emergency procedures was a cornerstone of the training, ensuring that participants knew precisely how to respond when faced with real-life scenarios. These hands-on training sessions took place on-site at the respective institutions.

For summer camp counselors, engaging in evacuation drills became a routine, honing their ability to lead children safely to designated meeting points in the event of an emergency through live simulations. Synagogue ushers and volunteers practiced responding to security threats, gaining valuable experience in assessing situations and taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of congregants in real-world scenarios, such as health issues and active shooter situations.

By offering practical exercises and simulations in person and on-site, JEPP’s training program ensured that participants could confidently apply their knowledge when it mattered most. One usher at Chabad of the Main Line remarked: “The interactive nature of the training, along with active participation, allowed us to work together to formulate plans for various events. We were able to see and learn about the different exits in the building, enhancing our understanding of synagogue security and safety.”

Engaging and Interactive Training

One of the remarkable aspects of JEPP’s training program was its engaging and interactive nature, facilitated through in-person interactions and hands-on learning. JEPP recognized that active participation enhances learning, and it employed various teaching methods to make the training sessions both enjoyable and effective. Workshops, role-playing, and scenario-based exercises were utilized to engage participants actively, all conducted in person. These methods not only made the training more enjoyable but also increased retention of essential information. As a result, participants left the sessions not only better informed but also feeling empowered to respond effectively to emergencies. A teacher from FELS exclaimed: “What truly stood out during the training was the focus on handling different, realistic scenarios and putting our learning into action. We even discovered safer hiding places for students within our building, which was an eye-opening experience.”

JEPP’s reach extended to various Jewish organizations, including Perelman Jewish Day School, FELS, Chabad of the Main Line, Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, Chizuk Amuno, Cheder Chabad, Jewish Learning Venture, Bnos Yisroel, JCC, Camp Chavaya, Golden Slipper Camp, and Gan Israel Camp. Each of these institutions benefited from the invaluable training provided by JEPP, strengthening their preparedness and resilience in the face of emergencies.

Through its engaging and practical training approach, facilitated by in-person and hands-on experiences, JEPP has not only made these communities safer but also bolstered their capacity to respond effectively in emergencies. As members of the organization reflect on this summer’s training, it is evident that JEPP’s commitment to strengthening community resilience has made a profound and lasting impact on the safety and preparedness of its community members.

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