Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management | A Multi-Regional Project

Participants visit Indianapolis DHS

On Monday, February 3 Meridian welcomed a group of 23 disaster preparedness professionals ranging from doctors, government, and non-profit leaders from all over the world for the International Visitor Leadership Program, “Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.” During this three-week program, the participants explored collaboration among leaders in the private, non-governmental, community, and civil society sectors to ensure effective response and recovery from natural disasters, emergencies, and crises. To explore these objectives in-depth, the participants first convened in Washington, DC, a day trip to Emmitsburg, MD, and then split into four groups for separate programming in Denver and Boulder, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Minneapolis, MN; and Salt Lake City, UT. The group reconvened in New Orleans, LA and concluded their program in Los Angeles, CA.

While in Washington, participants met with their counterparts in the public and private sectors, including USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Salvation Army. In Emmitsburg, MD, they had the opportunity to have a tour and meeting at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI). EMI is the main institute for training and development of disaster and emergency management professionals. In their city splits, the participants had the opportunity for discussions with representatives from organizations including, state and local level operations centers, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Safety and Security Team, Colorado Water, and the National Integrated Drought Information System.

Upon reconvening in New Orleans, they had the opportunity to hear the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina with government and NGO stakeholders and a workshop on trauma and mental health for survivors of a disaster. The program concluded in Los Angeles with a tour and meeting at the Los Angeles County Operations Center and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Unit with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Through visits to various operation centers throughout the US and NGOs working in disaster preparedness, the participants gained an appreciation for the scope of work being conducted in the United States and returned home with some new ideas.


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