JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The third annual Regional Emergency Preparedness Conference took place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Jonesboro on Wednesday for all of Northeast Arkansas healthcare organizations.
Around 60 people from across Northeast Arkansas sat in on meetings about numerous issues. Vice President for Patient Clinical Services at St. Bernard's, Kathryn Blackman, is the Regional Leader for Northeast Arkansas for Healthcare Emergency Preparedness, and says it is crucial for members in all fields of medicine to attend educational conferences like this one. "Preparation is the largest part of disaster planning. You can't wait until something happens to make that plan. You've got to do everything you can to lessen the impact of any kind of disaster and you've got to exercise it."
To help tackle that issue, the Director of Emergency Management and Security at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, Brent Cox, spoke to attendees about a preparedness plan. "We're talking about the importance of having a preparedness plan for your home and your family. And to be able to be prepared for any disaster that may happen."
Cox says you next to make sure you have everything you need to take care of yourself like, any necessary medications, and having your contact together and knowing where to go in the event of a disaster.
Cox says many people think they're prepared when they're not. "Most times I think people believe they're prepared for anything and then when it happens we're really not prepared. When we stop and think about it, we don't have that plan or I may have a plan for myself, but my family doesn't know what the plan is. So, it's very important for us to have a plan, to talk about the plan and go over it. Drill the plan at home and go over it with your children and family members."
Blackman says the conference is covering a number of other issues, as well. "We're spending the morning teaching people about all the faces of disasters, preparedness response, recovery and those types of things to get everybody on the same page. This afternoon we're going to have the communications person from the Arkansas State Health Department talk about different forms of communication because we're all so dependent on our cell phones and in a disaster those probably wouldn't be working."
The committee for Northeast Arkansas Preparedness has been meeting since 2002. For more information about this event or others, log onto their website.