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Governor Congratulates Maine’s Emergency Management Community
April 26, 2013
Governor Paul R. LePage this week congratulated the staff of the Maine Emergency Management Agency and all participants on the success of the 5th Annual Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference in Augusta.
“Every day, dedicated individuals are working in our cities and towns to make sure Maine is prepared for any emergency,” Governor LePage said. “The great participation in this learning opportunity demonstrates how seriously all these partners take that responsibility.”
The Governor also noted that the annual conference is an opportunity to look at emergency management accomplishments over the past year. “I’m extremely proud of the leadership MEMA and Maine’s emergency management community have shown. We’re a small state, but the partnerships and capabilities we have built have allowed us to be prepared at home and the first to offer assistance to our neighboring states.”
The Conference, which wrapped up on Wednesday, brought together its largest audience yet of emergency managers, first responders, school officials, volunteers and private sector partners.
“Over 700 people took advantage of our programs this year,” said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Rob McAleer. “It’s an indication of how dedicated Maine’s emergency managers and responders are, to commit 2 days of their time to learn from our speakers, and from each other.” The conference featured over 40 workshops focusing on preparedness for homes and families, schools and communities, as well as hazardous materials response and emergency management.
A highlight of the conference was a presentation by two officers from the Newtown, Connecticut Police Department. Lt. Christopher Vanghele and Officer Jeff Silver spoke to the attendees about the response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy last December. They also shared more sensitive operational information in a closed session with local, county and state law enforcement representatives and County emergency management Directors.
“We’re very grateful to Lt. Vanghele and Officer Silver for their participation,” McAleer said. “Their willingness to share their experience allowed us to learn from Newtown’s tragedy and apply those lessons to our own planning.”
A panel representing MEMA, Maine Forest Service and Maine State Police also spoke to the attendees about their experiences responding to Superstorm Sandy in New York and New Jersey, and the lessons they brought back.
Jeremy Damren, MEMA’s Exercise Training Officer, was presented with the Maine Emergency Manager of the Year award from the Northeast States Emergency Consortium. Arn Heggers, preparedness specialist with the US Coast Guard, was presented with the County Directors Council award. The SAPPI Emergency Response Team won the 14th Annual Hazardous Materials Response Team Challenge.
The Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference is sponsored by the Maine Emergency Management Agency, the State Emergency Response Commission and the Maine Association of Local Emergency Managers.
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