CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hundreds of emergency workers from around the state now have a better idea of how to deal with a disaster. The Center for Threat Preparedness held its third annual preparedness conference Wednesday at West Virginia State University in Institute.

Event director Jerry Rhodes said the event is a great place to learn from fellow first responders and the experts they bring in to teach workshops.

“They all have the same purpose. In a disaster, they’re called in to take care of the public’s health,” explained Rhodes.

From EMTs to police officers, behavioral health experts to Office of Emergency Services directors, Rhodes said everyone has something to learn from others in the room.

“We want them to know each other, what their resources are, what their needs are. So that ultimately when the incident occurs, whether it occurs at a local level or a state level, it will just be managed better and we can do a better job of taking care of the public’s health,” explained Rhodes.

He said no matter what the crisis, emergency responders must know how to handle the situation.

“Our job is to make sure that we’re prepared irrespective of whether it’s a water event, a flood, a derecho, a pandemic or what ever it may be,” stressed Rhodes.

He said the Elk River water crisis was not that much different from disasters they deal with on a more regular basis. He says when it comes to response, it all depends on how well the team is trained and how well they work together to help solve the situation.

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