BEND, OR -- Emergency managers from across the state are in Bend this week, for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management’s annual workshop, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority. OEM Deputy Director Matt Marheine says more than 530 people are registered, including county emergency coordinators, public health officials, first responders and private organizations. "This year, our theme is ‘redefining the emergency management community.’ We know that there’s never any one organization that can handle the impacts from a disaster. And, the focus of this event is to really describe and bring in partnerships from the private nonprofits, the public sector."
Marheine tells KBND News it's an important opportunity to meet and collaborate before an emergency strikes, "The coolest thing about this workshop is it brings all of those partners together. So, all of the relationships, and the evolution of emergency management, the enhancement of programs to do more with less, in most cases; or find creative ways for these problems to be addressed and hazards to be thought about, prepared for, trained for."
The threat of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake remains very real, and Marheine says it's used as a “worst case scenario” during trainings, "It is a major component of the workshop. We use the Cascadia hazard, the scope and concept of potential impacts, to really have the community in training sessions and exercise environments, to really think about how would they handle the impacts from such a large event?" But, they also plan for more predictable emergencies, like wildfires or winter storms.
The sixth annual emergency preparedness workshop runs through Friday, at the Riverhouse. Marheine says OEM likes holding its annual workshops in Bend or Sunriver, because of the convenience for emergency managers and other officials who travel from all over the state.
Photo (courtesy Oregon's Office of Emergency Management): OEM and OHA employees welcome guests to the 2018 Oregon Prepared Emergency Preparedness Workshop in Bend.