Conference Prepares Leaders for a Disaster

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

October 17, 2005

How can we better prepare for a disaster? UVA is hoping to answer that question in a two day conference on Catastrophe Preparedness Conference.

"There are some big issues here, we have been sleepwalking into preparedness," said Paul Maniscalco, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

That's why UVA is hosting a two day conference--to discuss how better to prepare for a disaster. Several speakers were on hand to discuss life changing events like 9/11 and more recently, Hurricane Katrina.

One expert said where we failed was when the city of New Orleans neglected to ask for help. "Lack of timely request of resources or action from the Mayor and to a certain extent from the Governor," said Maniscalco.

But experts said the National Response Plan can't replace local readiness. Charlottesville Fire Chief Charles Warner said he will not let that happen in our area.

"It's important to be able to reach out to the state and to the federal government for help quickly to help us when major infrastructure damage occurs and it's beyond our capabilities," said Warner.

One thing that Chief Warner is taking away from this conference is the idea of community shielding. It's something he would like to implement in Charlottesville to make residents better prepared.

"That's working with our community emergency response teams and to educate our public more about how to take care of themselves," said Warner.

Officials there add that emergency preparedness should be a part of everyday life, so that when emergencies do happen, you and your family will know what to do.


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