The Star-Herald

Emergency management conference to focus on preparing for recovery

To the editor:

On April 24 and 25, the Maine Emergency Management Agency will host the 10th Annual Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference at the Augusta Civic Center. The world has evolved a great deal during those ten years and the conference has evolved with it.

Since last year’s conference, we have seen an unprecedented number of threats and disasters across the nation, both natural and man-made. Maine watched as wildfires and landslides destroyed lives and homes on the West Coast; Maine prepared for effects related to an active hurricane season where still today many Texans, Floridians, and Puerto Ricans have not fully recovered; Mainers empathized with Hawaiians as a nuclear missile attack warning was erroneously released as a live alert; and Mainers reacted as the fast-moving wind storm in October reminded us that we must be prepared for anything, always.

Additionally, Maine grieved with the family and friends of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. This incited numerous school related threats of violence across the country, including Maine. Although plans were already in place in our schools for such an incident, we began working more closely with the Department of Education to see how we could improve those plans. Mainers appear now to be more comfortable with the “See Something, Say Something” campaign and reporting suspicious behavior.

Our conference theme this year is Prepare to Recover. This is so important during these times, because often the disaster itself is over relatively quickly, but the damage can linger for years due not only to physical destruction, but also to emotional damage.

Now more than ever, people are thinking about their individual preparedness.  Collectively, we seek solutions to minimize the effects of disasters on the people and property of the state of Maine. We all play a potentially life-changing role, whether we are private citizens, students, teachers, healthcare professionals, first responders or emergency managers.

During the conference, we will hear from Mr. Gregg Forrester, president and CEO of the National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster and Pat Murtaugh, regional CEO of the American Red Cross. These organizations worked tirelessly to help those affected by the many disasters last year and they will share their valued experiences.

I invite you to join us April 24 and 25 at the Augusta Civic Center and take charge of your individual, family and community preparedness in 2018. You can register at MainePrepares.com.

Suzanne Krauss
Director, Maine Emergency Management Agency

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