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Hazards symposium gears up for 12th year

Apr. 10, 2013 @ 06:50 AM

HUNTINGTON — Preparations are under way for this year’s All Hazards Management Symposium, a program designed to incorporate various facets of emergency response in training for disaster.

The annual event, now in its 12th year, will take place April 23-25 at the Tri-State Fire Academy along W.Va. 2, just outside of Huntington. The first two days will pertain to all disciplines, while the third day is designed for those providing funeral services.

Darren DeMattie, director of the Tri-State Fire Academy, said the training event is unique because it forces emergency responders to interact with those of a different discipline, such as police training with paramedics and firefighters.

“Whenever you have a disaster, all of your disciplines now have to work together,” he said. “We get to see how other people operate and how we can better operate together.”

DeMattie estimates the event typically attracts 65 to 150 attendees. They represent fire departments, police stations, ambulance personnel, health departments and funeral directors, among others.

This year’s schedule of speakers will include a representative from Staten Island University Hospital in New York. His 714-bed, teaching hospital recently dealt with Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene. DeMattie hopes his talk will better prepare local responders in event of a mass evacuation at a hospital — a matter of increased concern following the late June 2012 windstorm that knocked out electricity to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Other speakers will include representatives from the Salvation Army, an agriculture/food threat expert from Virginia Tech and the U.S. Army National Guard.

The registration deadline for this year’s symposium is April 18. The fee for pre-registration is $190.
For more information, contact the Tri-State Fire Academy at 304-522-2006.

Follow Curtis Johnson via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD and http://facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD.