AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Civic Center was the meeting spot for hundreds of area first responders and emergency service agencies for the tenth annual Panhandle Regional Emergency Preparedness Conference.
“Most of our responders and also emergency management teams are folks that really can’t leave the area. This is a secondary job for them, so this gives them an opportunity to have one day where they can focus on their emergency preparedness and take it back to their communities and develop better plans,” said Emily Nolte, Panhandle Regional Planning Commission Regional Planner.
Every year the conference has a different theme. This year’s was terrorism on multiple fronts from agro to global, which featured speakers from F.B.I. and the National Counterterrorism Center.
“The theme typically finds us when we reach out and find these speakers. This year we’re really going to focus on that it takes all of us as individuals to be able to recognize that their are bad things going on in our community and how we do know about it and then who do we tell about it,” said Nolte.
The conference also provides an opportunity for responders to network with one another and learn from some of the best in the business.
“Sometimes we don’t get a good picture of what really happened on the emergency response side because a lot of that is kept in house, so we get to learn from those responders and ask the responders about how they handled certain events and it makes us better,” said Rodney Hunt, Region One Emergency Medical Task Force Coordinator.
Nolte says it’s all about making sure our first responders are fully prepared, which in turn helps us.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone to come together and come up with a common plan and then work together as a team to take care of a disaster and take care of our citizens,” said Nolte.