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2002 News Releases


National Conference Trains Emergency Planners/ Responders in Emergency Preparedness, Counter-Terrorism

Release Date: 11/21/2002
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

BALTIMORE - Counter-terrorism, emergency planning, preparedness and environmental safety will compete for top billing here Dec. 8-12 at one of the nation's largest gatherings of emergency planners and responders. More than 1,600 emergency planners and managers, first response personnel, community leaders, emergency medical providers and industry representatives will learn the best ways to plan, prepare, and prevent accidental hazardous materials incidents and to combat security threats.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region III's annual Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Conference, which will be held at the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, will examine timely and real-life emergency scenarios and case studies via some 80 workshops, exercises and physical drills.

Due to the 9/11 attacks and the nation's anthrax scare, this once-regional conference has grown into a large-scale event considered by many in the emergency preparedness and response fields as crucial training for emergency personnel nationwide.

Scheduled speakers include Montgomery County, Maryland Police Chief Charles Moose; Office of Homeland Security Senior Director Mike Byrne; Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley; and Congressman Curt Weldon, senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and former fire chief.

Despite the growth of this year's conference, the mission remains the same -- providing an exclusive national forum where police and fire personnel, local emergency managers, planners and representatives from the environmental, transportation, utilities and medical fields come together to learn the latest techniques, trends and technologies in emergency preparedness.

Topics will include security issues related to manufacturing, water and chemical facilities; how to decontaminate victims of an attack; EPA's response to the Capitol Hill anthrax attack; emergency planning for people with disabilities, and hospitals' management of chemical/biological incidents.

The conference will feature an exercise in which teams of emergency responders will race against the clock within a unique, 40x100-feet obstacle course to accomplish specific, physical tasks to instill the mechanics and necessity of crisis team-building. Special presentations also include: Paul Trimbur, National Prohibited Mail Program manager for the U.S. Postal Service, who will review new technologies being applied to preventing future terrorist attacks from impacting the mail system and threatening national security;

• Phil Mcardle, former HAZMAT chief for the City of New York, will discuss the massive changes occurring throughout the city's fire department post-9/11.

• West Valley Utah Fire Chief John Evans will review the complex safety and security preparations for the 2002 Olympics;

• Paul Hankins, director of emergency preparedness for the newly-formed Transportation Security Administration, will describe how the agency addresses aviation, maritime and national transportation security.

The four-day conference is sponsored by EPA's mid-Atlantic region and hosted by the Greater Baltimore Local Emergency Planning Committees and Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Further conference information can be obtained by calling the registration hotline at 800-364-7974 or on-line at