November 29, 2007
Disaster experts to stress emergency preparedness at conference
Who do you call when a big oil spill occurs or a terrorist explodes a dirty bomb?
The answer will be front and center Dec. 2-5 in Pittsburgh, Pa., where one of America’s foremost emergency preparedness conferences will attract 1,000 disaster experts and hazmat technicians to learn the best response techniques and examine state-of-the-art detection and cleanup technology at more than 100 exhibits.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency annually sponsors the Emergency Preparedness & Prevention and Hazmat Spills Conference for first responders, counter-terrorism professionals, emergency managers, and medical, fire, law enforcement and industry personnel. Co-hosting this year will be the City of Pittsburgh and the 13-county Southwestern Pennsylvania Emergency Response Group.
Highlights of this year’s conference will include a tabletop drill by CSX transportation; advice on whether to fight a chemical fire or evacuate the neighborhood; how to handle pipeline emergencies and radiation risks; safeguarding employees; hazardous materials in the home; and rapid intervention to save the lives of responders trapped in a hazardous atmosphere.
Key speakers at the 2007 conference will include:
* Opening remarks - Glenn Cannon, FEMA asst. administrator for disaster operations and former Allegheny County, Pa. manager and Pittsburgh public safety director;
* Investigating Terror Financing - John Marsh, U.S. Department of Justice intelligence officer;
* Securing the Chemical Sector – Brian Harrell, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and
* Radiation and You – Thomas Reed, Ph.D., retired hazmat director at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.
The emergency preparedness conference will include dozens of workshops, intensive training for emergency responders, and local field trips, including a visit to Somerset County to see the Flight 93 crash site and Quecreek Mine.
At the conference, the EPA will give its annual partnership awards to deserving persons and organizations in the mid-Atlantic region.