Disaster readiness conference hopes to improve survivability

Arundel college to sponsor daylong event tomorrow

February 25, 2005|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

After nearly six months of planning, Anne Arundel Community College will hold a daylong disaster readiness conference tomorrow at the Arnold campus.

The free event, which organizers created in response to homeland security fears and the widespread devastation caused by Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003, will provide residents and local business owners with information on how to survive in an emergency, said MaryLou McQuaide, a spokeswoman for the college.

"What we observed is that there isn't really a good enough system to get information to residents and small businesses," said McQuaide. "This is our effort to help prepare them and to help them mitigate the circumstances that surround disasters."

The conference is to begin at 10 a.m. at the college's Pascal Center for Performing Arts.

It will feature a number of panel discussions and presentations by federal, state and local experts, including Dennis R. Schrader, Maryland's director of homeland security.

"I thought [the conference] was a good opportunity to take the mystery out of some of this stuff," said Schrader, who is to talk about the state's strategy for combating terrorism.

Schrader added that he will offer safety tips and promote family emergency plans as part of the Hometown Security panel.

The conference, which is co-sponsored by the city of Annapolis and the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management, will have afternoon sessions, including a discussion on how small businesses can recover from disaster.

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