A Guide to Keep Your Schools Safe

In the face of tragedies like those that occurred recently at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, many schools around the country are scrambling to improve their safety policies. Some schools simply talk about changes, while others are actually taking action. There are many resources available for schools and community groups that want to improve upon their security measures, and one of these was just produced by Frank Storch, a Security Consultant and Coordinator for CERT in Baltimore.

An expert in the field of security for over 35 years, Frank Storch has specifically focused his attention on Jewish school throughout North American and has recently completed an essential guide called Keep Your School Safe. This new guide provides schools with a thorough review of their existing security measures and with a comprehensive way to evaluate new measures they should undertake.

As Frank Storch of Baltimore explains at the beginning of his guide, “Based on over 35 years of hands-on safety and security consulting experience, and my role as Coordinator of the Northern Park Heights CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), I believe that every school can benefit from re-evaluating and updating its safety and security measures. This is due to the constantly changing nature of outside threats, the increasing availability of new equipment and methods, and the need for staff and students to be up to date on their safety and security training.

In this light, I present this “Keep Your School Safe” guide. The purpose of this guide is to help your school ask the right questions, the answers to which will help you create a safety and security program customized to your own particular needs. After completing an assessment of your security needs and outlining a plan to address them (including the anticipated budget), consider applying for a Homeland Security grant, as well as to private foundations, charitable organizations, non-profit and for-profit companies, and local sponsors for funding.”

Frank Storch Helps Hurricane Sandy Victims in Baltimore and Beyond

While overseas Frank Storch, Baltimore community leader, heard that a hurricane was approaching his hometown of Baltimore.

Baltimore Braces for Hurricane Sandy

“I got a call on Thursday saying there was a big storm happening. I said to myself, ‘I have to be back in Baltimore,’” said Storch.

Despite having to spend an extra $2,000 to change his flight plans, Storch and his wife returned to the US on Sunday, ready to chip in however necessary to help his neighbors and friends in Baltimore.

“I got back,” he said, “and I spent the next several hours going to every Home Depot and drug store to get batteries and flashlights.”

From his home Storch distributed the flashlights and batteries to about 500 people who came to his door on Sunday night, and several hundred more on Monday night, until there were no more remaining.

Luckily the Baltimore community was not hit as hard by Sandy as other parts of the East Coast like New Jersey and New York.  Realizing that he could help people in dire need in the New York area, Storch sprang into action. On Wednesday evening, after hearing that there were still many people in the New York area without electricity, water and other basics, Storch tracked down five truckloads of supplies including 120 generators, and drove them to Far Rockaway, an area devastated by the violent storm. In coordination with the community rescue group Hatzalah of Far Rockaway,  Storch arrived in the Queens neighborhood and began distribution of supplies.

“You get there and you do it. You just get the job done,” Storch said.

“It is really a heartwarming story,” he said, noting the reaction of the residents when he arrived who would be able to have at least some relief from the pressures inflicted on them by Sandy. “It was just so beautiful.”

Storch also had to coordinate his actions with the Community Emergency Response Team, CERT. Without their permission Storch and his crew would not have been able to enter the area. Even with their caravan of trucks and van, they were only allowed to enter because Far Rockaway was considered “bad, but not dangerous.” Thanks to Frank Storch’s initiative and the help of all those he recruited to help him, the effects of Hurricane Sandy were to some extent mitigated.