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The conference of "what ifs"

*Follow the conference on Twitter using the hashtag #CRCEmergConf

Today I'm at the White Oaks Conference Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. No, unfortunately, I'm not enjoying a winery tour! Instead, I've joined more than 200 emergency management professionals from across the province. The Red Cross is hosting this 3-day conference, Emergency Management Conference.

The average public - my friends and family included - assume there are people who are prepared to step in and help when "it hits the fan" due to an emergency. These people we are all counting on -- preparedness and response experts -- are here today. They are provincial and municipal officials, Red Cross volunteers, Salvation Army representatives and more. They are talking about emerging trends in emergency management, partnership strategies and preparedness and response strategies. Basically, what will we do if...happens.

But even though they are here so that we can count on them in an emergency, they are also counting on all of us to learn more about personal preparedness and how we can protect ourselves and our families. The knowledge offered by these experts can help us all figure that out. You can start at

And later today, Jean-Pierre Taschereau, Red Cross emergency manager for international disasters will share his first-hand experience in Haiti in the early days after the earthquake. Across the world and across the street, the job of emergency response professionals seems to be busier all the time.

Now I'm off to a session on communicating during a crisis...

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