Mr. Chris Doerr to serve as new Coordinator of Emergency Management and Safe Schools
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TOWAMENCIN- “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Few people embody this Dwight Eisenhower quote quite like Mr. Chris Doerr, the new Coordinator of Emergency Management and Safe Schools for North Penn School District.
Graduating from the North Penn Class of 2002, Chris Doerr headed to Philadelphia to join the ranks of Channel 3 News.
Kept busy with emergency response pieces, Doerr chased down police and fire trucks and investigated scenes of emergencies. The time spent with Channel 3 piqued Doerr’s interest in preventing accidents and disasters. He has since instituted extra steps for emergency preparation in his community.
“It’s not all about responding,” he explained, “it’s about being ready before we have to respond.”
After several years in the city, he returned to his hometown and worked in the North Penn Communications Department, where one of his many duties was to handle the communication systems for security. Now the Coordinator of Emergency Management and Safe Schools for North Penn, Doerr’s goals are to ensure the welfare of every person who sets foot in the district.
“We have to make sure that we build and maintain the safest environment that we possibly can, so that students can learn and teachers can teach safely,” explained Doerr.
Doerr hopes to rewrite and rebuild the All Hazards Plan for the District. Acknowledging that each of North Penn’s schools is its own community, he also plans to meet with all of the principals and security staff to form emergency preparation plans that will work for their respective schools.
“I’m excited that the school district had faith in me and chose me to lead our efforts in safety and security,” reflected the North Penn alum.
Doerr could name the best thing about North Penn without hesitation.
“I think the best thing about North Penn is also the worst thing; it’s our size. Particularly at the high school, we have a little over 3,000 kids, and it could be difficult to stand out in that crowd, but at the same time, with that size there’s always something for everybody to do,” he explained. “Whatever it is that you enjoy or are interested in, there’s somebody else in North Penn who is interested in that same thing. So, for students, I think that size is an advantage.”
Doerr added that, “When it comes to emergency preparedness, to roll out a whole new initiative for a school district of this size is challenging, but we can do it, because we’re North Penn.”
As the new Coordinator of Emergency Management and Safe Schools, Doerr reflected on the process that goes into ensuring the security of North Penn. While the plans themselves are vital, it is the planning procedure that is most crucial to the safety of the district.
“It’s the process that goes into creating those plans and the relationships that we build with other people,” Doerr said. “The relationships that we have with one another here at North Penn and the relationships the school district has with our emergency responders are the important pieces that are forged when we go through our emergency planning processes.”
When he isn’t working to ensure the safety of North Penn, Doerr has served his neighbors for five years as a volunteer firefighter. As the assistant chief of the fire department and the deputy emergency manager for Towamencin Township, Doerr stands equipped to react to any emergency throughout all of Montgomery County.
To any who are considering careers in emergency preparedness, Doerr advises that the desire to learn everything about the subject is the best course of action.
“Emergency preparedness is not a static field where you learn the basic concepts and it stays the same,” he explained. “Emergencies are always changing; it’s always something new, something different. My principle is never stop learning, never stop challenging yourself.”
Doerr reported that many fire departments have received fewer volunteers than they have in recent years, and urged anyone interested to go to their local department and see how they can contribute.
“There’s nothing more thrilling than getting on a firetruck and going to an emergency and being able to help people,” stated Doerr.
Regardless of how the district and its occupants change in the future, one thing will always remain constant: Mr. Chris Doerr will do his part to ensure the safety of North Penn School District.
“North Penn is a very safe place, but there are always new things that come up, and there are always new things we can do to be safer, and this job is about identifying those things and being ready for them,” Doerr concluded.