One Team, One Mission

One Team, One Mission

  • Emergency Management professionals stading and talking in a group during a conference.
Emergency Management professionals standing and talking in a group during a conference. (Photo by Wes Parrell)
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More than 400 emergency management professionals from local, state, and federal governments, first responders and crisis response experts gathered for the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) 2017 Preparedness Symposium. The topics discussed included continuity of operations, critical infrastructure, cybersecurity, economic recovery, crisis communication, and evacuation and re-entry. Showcased during Arizona Preparedness Month and National Preparedness Month, the Symposium aimed to inspire an exchange of ideas regarding preparedness for potential emergencies.

Taking a moment to acknowledge the recent devastation in Texas and Florida, attendees were encouraged to expand their understanding of emergencies beyond those occurring in Arizona. In comparison to states located on coastal regions, Arizona is risk adverse, but not perfect, the State experiences disasters that can leave communities devastated

DEMA believes emergency preparedness, response and recovery is the responsibility of the “whole community.”  Symposium attendees can testify to the diversity of skills, assets and resources needed to navigate and recover from an emergency.  From first responders to community churches, air quality professionals and tribal relations – it takes a village to recover from an emergency. While it is heartening to see the state’s major divisions and branches come together to gain further insight into how to help Arizona in times of crisis, preparedness is not solely a government responsibility.

Preparedness at the individual level, such as readying your home and family, is important.  A sure test is to ask your children what they would do if there was a flood in your home. Many children practice fire evacuations, and may know where to meet their parents in the event they are separated, but do they know what to do if there was a flood – or even a simple power outage? Do they know basic first aid if medical responders cannot get to your location?

DEMA promotes four main steps to individual preparedness: Make a family communications plan so everyone knows meeting places and out-of-state contacts. Build a kit with three days’ worth of supplies. Be informed by knowing what specific hazards threaten your community. And finally, inspire others to act by being an example of preparedness in your community.

Each of steps is easy, free and essential to your overall preparedness. The Arizona Emergency Information Network offers immense resources for families, schools, churches and businesses online at ein.az.gov.  Families have access to checklists, educational materials, events and outreach activities through DEMA.

In a time where emergencies are occurring at multiple locations in the country, the Symposium reminds us that we are all in this together – as a community and a state. One team with one mission.