Free registration: IPSA’s Natural & Man-Made Disaster Recovery Symposium in Washington D.C.

This timely and important event is a significant cross-disciplinary training opportunity for all public safety personnel


The International Public Safety Association is hosting a symposium focused on Natural & Man-Made Disaster Recovery on September 18 and 19, in Washington D.C. Everyone is eligible to receive complimentary registration to attend.

This timely and important event is a significant cross-disciplinary training opportunity for all public safety officials, from senior level executives to the first responders who arrive on scene.

The symposium will host several distinguished experts and first responders from various public safety disciplines who will share lessons learned from recent events. Selected presentations on the agenda include:

symposium will host several distinguished experts and first responders from various public safety disciplines who will share lessons learned from recent events. (Photo/David Valdez/FEMA Photo)
symposium will host several distinguished experts and first responders from various public safety disciplines who will share lessons learned from recent events. (Photo/David Valdez/FEMA Photo)
  • 3 Disasters in 24 Hours: Lessons Learned from Ventura County’s Recovery from the Borderline Shooting in Thousand Oaks, a Law Enforcement Line of Duty Death and the Woolsey Fire;
  • Communicating in a Crisis: Leveraging Social Media when it Counts;
  • Lessons Learned from the Barcelona and Cambrils Terrorist Attacks;
  • Insight from the FAA About Using UAS/Drones to Aid Disaster Recovery;
  • Crisis Counseling After Disasters.

Need for cross-disciplinary training, education

There is an urgent need to bring together law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS providers, 911 telecommunicators, emergency management and allied emergency responders to discuss the impacts recent disasters are having on planning, training, preparedness, response, and short and long-term recovery.

Whether the disaster is a few minutes in duration, a one-hour incident or an event that occurs over a 24-hour period or longer, disaster recovery requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.

“Disaster recovery must take into consideration the resiliency and the recovery of the responders, not just the community that has suffered the disaster,” notes Dave Mulholland, administrator of the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center. “This resiliency of the responder and the ability to help the responder recover after response must be well-planned, memorialized in policy and procedure, and continuously practiced long before the disaster in order to be effective.

“Agencies must do everything they can, so they never face the question, ‘Why weren’t you prepared?’ Every tool that is added to the disaster response and recovery makes the agency that much more effective. Attending events that provide broader exposure to best practices and lessons learned and create the opportunity to network and share with others is a tool that should not be overlooked.”

Disaster recovery lessons learned

Here are examples of the types of lessons learned that will be discussed during the symposium:

  • Keep a log of each person who checks in and get them to where they need to report.
  • Remember to speak in plain language to all involved. Do not use 10 codes as not all agencies use the same codes.
  • Strong systems for handling public information (traditionally through the Incident Command System's Public Information Officer role) are critical to the management of a successful recovery operation. More important, it is critical to the public's perspective about the incident for years to come.
  • Two critical areas often not considered during emergency response planning are the need for rapidly established reunification centers and rapid distribution of key media messages. Establishing reunification centers in the community and being agile in sending out public messaging helps mitigate the interference with effective response to the crisis. Establishing these centers also provides focal points for unifying agency efforts to support immediate community needs – water, food, medical, grief counseling, victim support, finding short-term accommodations, registering missing persons and obtaining DNA samples.
  • Agencies need to train responders ahead of critical incidents and disasters to be aware that these types of events create emotional trauma. Feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted, shocked, disappointed, cynical and amazed are all the expected responses to this type of event. If responders are trained to understand what they might experience as far as their own personal reactions, as well as team reactions, they will be far more likely to know when they're pushing themselves too far, or when their peers are, and when they should seek help in the form of peer support or post-incident counseling.
  • The important role companion animals play in today’s American family impacts disaster response and recovery. During Katrina and many recent disasters, many pet owners would not evacuate because there were no plans for pet evacuation and sheltering. This disregard or lack of knowledge for companion animal welfare coupled with the lack of planning and training has had many negative consequences. Public safety and emergency management must plan for companion animals during disasters. Today’s animal care and control professional have the knowledge and means to assist public safety in this area.

Why you should attend

There are several reasons first responders need to attend this event for which IPSA is offering complimentary registration. Use this special web link to redeem.

Emergency responder educational training events offer myriad attendee benefits, and the IPSA’s Natural and Man-Made Disaster Recovery Symposium is designed to maximize attendees’ time, learning opportunities and networking with multiple first responders from around the nation and internationally.

“One of the main missions of IPSA is to continue to improve effective interoperability between all agencies responsible for the management of a major disaster. You will hear from a variety of experts in their field from a cross section of emergency disciplines,” said Inspector (ret.) Chris Butler, Incident Command Police Practices Expert, Raptor Protection & Safety Services Inc. and IPSA Board Member. “You will make professional connections with leaders from these disciplines and be able to share knowledge, experience, advice and even help broaden your focus and perspective to what effective interoperability can look like in your municipality.

“I have read dozens of after-action reports from major disasters, whether natural or man-made. One thing that is discouraging to me is there are the same lessons to be learned being published in report after report. I just read an AAR this week and it struck me that many of the gaps and deficiencies identified in the report are almost identical to a report from a similar incident that occurred 15 years ago. We do not 'rise to the occasion' during a crisis – we fall to the level of our training and preparation. Training and preparing for effective response and recovery to major disasters is key to both maximizing survival and the agility of the recovery to empower the community to get back on their feet as soon as possible. The topics at the D.C Symposium are targeted directly to enhancing these efforts.”

The IPSA’s upcoming disaster recovery symposium is occurring at a time when agencies are being incredibly challenged by these evolving events. All departments must be afforded the opportunity to learn from these critical incidents, so they can continually advance their tactics, become more efficient in their response and rebuild the communities they serve.

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