SAN JUAN, PR -- The Long Term Recovery Committees held today in Ponce, their first General Conference where representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), local and Commonwealth governments, the private sector, and community and faith based groups shared emergency preparedness information, website tools, available resources, and current initiatives to effectively respond during emergency operations.
"Emergency preparedness is the key element in any educational effort for emergency responders. We acknowledge and support the interest of these groups, given that if they are well prepared, they promote a stronger community able to respond and recover faster from any kind of hazards," said Justo Hernández, Federal Coordinating Officer.
The presenters highlighted the roles of grassroots faith-based, community-based, and other non-governmental organizations in emergency management and preparedness. The attendants included the Mayors of Villalba and Yabucoa, as well as representatives from the Governors´ Office and other municipalities. The participants discussed the importance of strategic partnership necessary to encourage a national preparedness culture.
"We are committed to provide these groups with available tools that may promote their involvement in future disaster operations," said Josué Díaz, FEMA's Voluntary Agencies Liaison.
The Conference also provided faith-based and community organizations a unique occasion to meet and discuss pertinent issues with FEMA's leadership, as well as state and local emergency management officials.
Representatives of the 21 (LTRC) which were established in the disaster declared municipalities of last October attended this workshop. These committees include representatives of voluntary, faith-based, civic, community, and municipal agencies on each community, who work to assist individuals and families having unmet disaster-related needs. Each committee identifies state/local agencies resources, avoids duplication of benefits, sets priorities, and helps people with the greatest needs in their community.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.