Bellwood Boro and Antis Township agree to combine resources in emergency situations

Who’s going to respond to a 3-car pile up on Interstate 99 in Antis Township? Who’s going to be there when one of the three local reservoirs begin flooding? What happens if there’s a repeat of the 9-11 tragedy right here in our own backyard?
These are questions that will soon be pointed in the directions of the joint Emergency Operations Plan authority, which is currently being worked out by officials in Bellwood Borough and Antis Township.
At last evening’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Bellwood Borough Council, officials unanimously voted, 6-0, to enter into an agreement with Antis Township to form the new authority. Antis Township Supervisor Ray Amato, said the benefits of such an organization would not only better protect the two municipality’s citizens, but also make emergency responders more organized when a call comes in.
“The way we do thing now when something happens is really senseless,” said Bellwood Council President Wayne Snare. “One person runs here while another is running there. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.
“This kind of organization would tighten the operations up a little and give the emergency people the organization they need to get out to an accident scene in a timely and prepared matter,” said Snare.
According to Amato, the idea of forming a combined organization arose after the state and federal government began pressuring smaller communities to form emergency plans after the events of 9-11.
“We knew we needed to put some kind of plan together,” said Amato. “We’re still early in the planning, but I’m hoping we get things going here within the next 90 days.”
According to Amato, the plan would combine the resources of both the township and the borough when an emergency situation would arise. These resources include the sharing of equipment, employees and police.
Amato said the headquarters for any emergency operation would be inside the Bellwood Borough building. Here, computers, telephones, generators, etc., would be stored for emergency situations. He added that the three fire companies, located in Tipton, Pinecroft and Bellwood, would be established as emergency shelters.
Although the plan is still in its infant stages and officials continue to hammer out details, both municipalities see the move as a step forward.
“I really believe this will be a good program and a benefit to our residents,” said Snare. “Our municipalities may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but this is definitely something we can agree on.”
Amato echoed Snare’s thoughts.
“We’re happy it’s moving forward,” he said. “Our residents deserve to be protected in the best and most efficient way possible. An organization like this will let us do that.”