First responders gather for conference

MARQUETTE — First responders from all over the U.P. gathered today to learn about proper communication during emergencies and disasters.

The Michigan State Police held a training seminar at MARESA to discuss how to be an effective public information officer. Instructors sought to explain the importance of informing and educating the public and news media during emergencies and disasters.

The severe weather that struck the western end of the UP made this conference pertinent.

“Lets say the floods, for example. In Gogebic County, Gogebic County has been awesome communicating to the public and relaying that information and about precautionary measures,” said Michigan State Police Public Information Officer Ron Leix. “So what we’re doing here is training our emergency responders to communicate, educate, inform during an emergency or disaster so the public can take action and be prepared.”

Some of the conference was dedicated to a media panel, in which those in attendance could ask questions and address concerns.
Leix said the primary goal was to open up communication between the media and first responders so the public stays constantly updated.

“During an emergency or disaster, the public has to be consistently informed, multiple times a day, even maybe on the hour depending on the severity of it,” Leix added. “By informing the public, we empower the public, and that way we can act upon what’s needed during any kind of emergency of disaster.”

This conference is a nationally held event with curriculum provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.