Some 200 first responders and local officials from across the state are attending a conference on homeland security today and tomorrow in Des Moines. Ellen Gordon is the administrator of Iowa’s Emergency Management Division.She says she hopes that everyone will learn something about new initiatives surrounding homeland security and how to better communicate with one another. Gordon is also the state’s Homeland Security Advisor. She says there’s not a lot of new information, but it gives them a chance to package things together to make sure that state and local governments are working together. Gordon says the state wants to do all it can to ensure local officials have all the help they need in being prepared, and she says it gives state officials a change to hear what local officials are thinking. Gordon says the down time when nothing is happening is the most important as it’s the time when reaction plans are put in place.She says preparing for incidents and disasters is difficult at times, but she says she’s found communicating prior to an incident and understanding everyone’s role is the most important thing they can do. Gordon says Iowa has done a good job in being prepared.She says Iowa stacks up well compared to other states when it come to homeland security. She says they’re in the process of implementing the strategic initiatives they set forth. The annual conference features training, discussions, and displays of the latest rescue and safety equipment.
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