This past Saturday, I attended the all-day Harvard Safety Symposium at the Bromfield School.

The citizens of Harvard should be extremely proud of our school officials, Harvard Ambulance, Police and Fire departments for organizing this School Safety Symposium.

Approximately 200 school personnel and emergency responders from all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire were in attendance. Two of our selectmen, Ron Ricci and Bill Johnson, also attended. The knowledge and comments shared by the speakers -- Principal Frank DeAngelis, from Columbine High School, Colorado; Sheriff Fred Wegener and John-Michael Keyes from the Platte Canyon High School, Colorado Hostage Crisis; Joe Bergant, superintendent of the Chardon Public Schools, Ohio; and Chiefs Larry Gaspar and Assistant Chief Tom Hummel of the Chardon Fire Department -- who all spoke in detail relative to the shootings and hostage situations at their schools.

I do believe all in attendance are today better educated to address a crisis in their school community. In addition, Dr. John Nicolette, Police and Public Safety Psychologist, spoke of the stress and trauma our emergency responders face in their jobs serving our community. In my tenure as Harvard fire chief, I attended many seminars at the state and national fire chief conventions as well as the state and national fire academies. I cannot recall a more profound educational program.

I know all attendees are returning to their communities with new knowledge and understanding, which will make our schools a safer place for our children.


Fire Chief, retired