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About DES

About DES

The Berks County Department of Emergency Services fulfills our mission by;

  • Preparing for Emergencies - The Berks County Department of Emergency Services and its associated programs represents insurance to protect the County of Berks and its citizens when disaster strikes and reduces the County's liability for hazards that may strike.  This is accomplished by taking an active role in the five phases of emergency management;
      • Prevention includes actions taken to avoid an incident or to intervene to stop and incident from occurring.
      • Mitigation includes actions taken to reduce the loss of life and property from natural or man-made disasters by avoiding or lessening the impact of a disaster and providing value to the public by creating safer communities.
      • Preparedness includes actions that involve a combination of planning, resources, training, exercising and organizing to build, sustain, and improve operational capacities.
      • Response includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs.
      • Recovery includes actions that assist in returning to a sense or normalcy after a disaster.

  • Answering the Call - The Berks County Department of Emergency Services Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and provides communication services to all emergency organizations in Berks County.  With over 80 telecommunicators, supervisors, and support staff, these individuals serve the county residents with the utmost professionalism and experience expected in an emergency situation.

  • Responding to Emergencies - The Berks County Department of Emergency Services Special Operations Group (SOG) is the operational arm of the organization.  The SOG facilitates professional and efficient response to incidents involving hazardous materials at locations within the borders of Berks County, and any other location when requested by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).  The SOG works in conjunction with the local emergency response community to protect the safety of emergency responders and the general public from releases of toxic / hazardous substances whether the release is accidental or intentional.

  • Training our First Responders - The Berks County Department of Emergency Services Fire Training Center located at 895 Morgantown Rd. in Reading is a state-of-the-art training facility designed to provide the emergency responders of Berks County with current, topical, and safe training at a cost which will encourage attendance by those individuals, most of whom are volunteers.