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Emergency medical services personnel and other public safety officials tour the Presbyterian Manor campus.[/caption]

Recent natural disasters around our part of the world have many people evaluating their emergency preparedness, and Newton Presbyterian Manor is no exception.

Over three days in September, 44 members of Newton Fire/EMS took a guided tour of our entire campus, from common areas to cottages, from attics to boiler rooms. They learned the names of every location, resident room layouts, emergency exits, and types of construction materials in each building. Each firefighter, paramedic, and EMT received a handout with all of the information they had learned.

“Some of the firefighters were brand new, and they had never been in our building before,” said Steve Seidl, director of environmental services for Newton Presbyterian Manor. “It’s an opportunity not only for us to meet them but for them to see our buildings. Should there ever be an emergency situation, they will have that familiarity.”

The tour was led by maintenance supervisor Alvin Savage, who has been with Presbyterian Manor for 24 years, Steve said. “He knows it like the back of his hand.”

October is a natural time to conduct the tour and meeting because National Fire Prevention Week is observed every year during the week of Oct. 9. With many natural and man-made disasters in the news, it’s only natural to want to learn more about the plans and procedures in place for our staff and our residents. Residents and their families are welcome to ask about our emergency plans at any time.

Steve also tries to meet regularly with all three of our resident councils about emergency preparedness. “It’s a great opportunity for me to tell the residents what we’re doing to protect them. It’s part of my job to reassure them,” he said.

It had been a while since the last Fire/EMS tour, Steve said. From now on, however, they plan to make it an annual event for personnel at all three Fire/EMS stations.

“Our staff does drills as a team together, and we try to make it a learning process,” Steve said. “We feel like we are prepared.”

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