Emergency responders meet for annual disaster conference - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Emergency responders meet for annual disaster conference

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MARION -- Dozens of emergency responders and other disaster relief workers met from 24 southern Illinois counties Wednesday for their annual disaster conference at The Pavilion.

Bomb threats, severe weather, active shooter situations were all topics covered as disaster response is a critical element.

We want to bring together all of our partners in our community," said Bart Hagston, executive board member of the Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition. "So hospitals, other healthcare providers, emergency management, law enforcement, public health, emergency medical services. We want to look at things through an all-hazards approach."

The goal of the conference is to get everyone involved and everyone talking.

"We share ideas," explained Allan Ninness, Saline County EMA director. "We look through responses we've had in the past. We share stories about things that went well. We share things that didn't go so well."

Sharing experiences on past events, but also ones that have occurred elsewhere. Mass shootings, a fresh topic that emergency personnel hope they never see in southern Illinois.

"Unfortunately it's a spot where there is a not a segment of the community that's not been affected somewhere in the country by this violence," said Brian Murrah, Williamson County sheriff's deputy. "So yeah, it's where every day people are being confronted with this."

Getting everyone on the same page so when disaster strikes, the response is quick and effective.

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