Emergency Workers from 7 States Gather in Jackson to Train

Red Cross Wyoming Emergency Workers Train in Jackson
Large disasters require the teamwork, collaboration and contribution of numerous agencies

More than 50 emergency response specialists representing volunteer organizations across seven states gathered in Jackson Hole May 4-6 to increase the region’s capacity to respond to disasters.

The participants gathered for a conference of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) organized by the Wyoming VOAD with support from VOAD chairs from Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. During the conference, participants worked together to:
•    Forge relationships and agreements to provide mutual aid during disasters
•    Exercise complicated disaster responses that require the collaboration of multiple agencies from more than one state
•    Share best practices and education to increase each agency’s ability to contribute to emergency responses.

“Large disasters require the teamwork, collaboration and contribution of numerous agencies to meet the myriad of needs that arise – no single agency can do it alone. That’s why we are proactively working together to build relations and practice together so that we’re ready to respond across the Rocky Mountain corridor,” said Amber Savage, Chair of the Wyoming VOAD group. Savage works for the American Red Cross and volunteers for LDS Charities, two major participants in the conference.

The event included more than 50 representatives from emergency response agencies across seven states, including the American Red Cross, LDS Charities, UMCOR, United Way, FEMA, The Salvation Army, Salt Lake Baptist Association, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Serve Wyoming, Oregon Food Bank, Mennonite Disaster Services, UServeUtah, and state departments of public health.
 
The conference aimed to strengthen inter-agency collaboration across the region and train leaders from key emergency response agencies from each state.

Each state had representation from their VOAD leadership, a public health partner, and a government/emergency management partner - bringing all the key players to the table in one setting to practice collaboration among government, nonprofit and public health partners.
Each attending state presented best practices, challenges, and updates on their VOAD activity. The conference also included presentations on different topics (such as establishing memoranda of understanding),  a workshop focused on the National Mass Care Strategy, and  support from the National FEMA Exercise Division.