BP oil spill, Kentucky ice storm emergency managers share their experiences during symposium

April 19, 2011  //  

VDEM News Release

Virginia Department of Emergency Management
10501 Trade Court, Richmond, VA 23236

CONTACT: Bob Spieldenner (804) 674-2400

FOR RELEASE AT WILL – March 30, 2011

BP oil spill, Kentucky ice storm emergency managers share their experiences during symposium
The Weather Channel and FEMA speakers featured; motivational speaker is Paul Galanti

RICHMOND, VA — More than 350 members of the emergency management community, vendors and speakers will gather at the Virginia Emergency Management Symposium, March 30-April 1, to share experiences and learn new ways to manage preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation efforts.

  • The keynote speaker during the general session on March 30 will be E. Pat Santos, deputy director of emergency preparedness for the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness; he will speak about his experiences in Louisiana during the BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.

  • Following Santos will be Charlie O’Neal, deputy director of operations for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, who will speak about the 2009 ice storm that paralyzed most of the state and caused power outages for nearly 700,000 customers, making it the largest power outage on record in Kentucky.

  • Dr. Richard Knabb, tropical weather expert at The Weather Channel, will speak at Thursday night’s Virginia Emergency Management Association Awards Dinner, where several awards and scholarships will be given to outstanding members of the emergency management community. Knabb will talk about potential tropical storm and hurricane impacts on Virginia and how The Weather Channel may be able to partner with the Commonwealth to protect citizens from harm.

  • MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA regional administrator for Region III, will speak during the general session on April 1, to provide attendees with a general update on FEMA Region III activities and FEMA’s policy on reimbursement for snowstorm response efforts.

  • Also on Friday will be Paul Galanti, a motivational speaker who flew 97 naval air combat missions before being shot down and captured on June 17, 1966. He remained a prisoner of war of the North Vietnamese for nearly seven years and was released on Feb. 12, 1973. Galanti will speak about his experiences as a POW and his time since, from serving as executive officer for the Navy Recruiting District in Richmond, Va. to his appointment by Gov. McDonnell as Commissioner of Veterans Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2010.

The symposium offers 30 break-out sessions, which will cover topics such as state-managed shelters, public-private partnerships, pipeline emergencies, volunteer resources and many more.

“This year’s symposium gives Virginia’s emergency managers the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of large-scale events and how the lessons learned can be applied locally,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “It’s a lot of information that can help every member of the emergency management community, all in one place.”

The symposium also features a trade show highlighting the latest products and services that help emergency managers prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters.

The theme for the symposium is “Managing the Emergency – All in a Day’s Work.” Registration is available online at http://www.vemaweb.org.

The Virginia Emergency Management Association and VDEM co-sponsor the annual learning workshop to provide training opportunities for emergency responders, planners, managers and volunteers to share best practices, lessons learned and initiatives.



Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund