Volunteers: Partners in Emergency Management Preparedness

By Linda Crerar

April is National Volunteer Month and we are recognizing the work and service of the many dedicated volunteers like those who have been so instrumental in establishing, supporting, and implementing the Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference every year. Volunteers have built this organization for 31 years and it is important to understand the history of the organization and the contributions volunteers have made to sustain it.

Partners is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1991 and is the largest and most successful regional emergency management preparedness conference in the Pacific Northwest. Partners has been very successful using a community of volunteers to help Partners “build stronger partnerships in the emergency management field through encouragement, collaboration and continuous education.”

Partners has a committee of volunteers that helps the Board put on the annual conference that address key topics important to emergency management. The committee is diverse, and members include public and private sector emergency management professionals, non-profits, public health care, utilities, homeland security, public information and warning, education, private business, and many other fields.

The Partners board had to make the decision to cancel the 2020 and 2021 conferences due to COVID restrictions, but the 2022 Conference was held in at the Conference in Lynnwood, WA and brought over 200 practitioners, sponsors, and exhibitors from across the region and country.

Because Partners depends solely on volunteers to organize, set the agenda, and complete all the logistics it needs, “Your talents to help with arrangements, finances, marketing, and more and being a committee member can enhance your professional experience and be part of your resume,” said Partners Chair, Kelly Kasper.

The HSEM Center of Excellence Director, Linda Crerar interviewed Partners Board Members Kelly Kasper, Ted Buehner, and Gail Harris on April 22, to acknowledge and highlight the 31 years services hundreds of volunteers have contributed to putting on the annual conference. The interview is available at: https://youtu.be/1z2zTsyRBq4. During the interview you will hear more about the purpose and structure of the annual conference, role of volunteers and committee members and how they are the backbone of the organization. You will also hear how the pandemic impacted Partners, and what the current urgent needs are for volunteers and sponsors. Ted also talks about what we can expect for the future. The committee meets virtually every month and most committee members spend a few hours a month on committee activities ahead of the conference.

To join the committee, complete the membership application at: https://piepc.org/join-our-committee/

The Board of Directors is reviewing the financial situation, surveys, and other feedback received from attendees at this year’s conference and they hope to see current and many more new volunteers to help with plans for the 2023 Conference. They want to thank everyone who attended this year.

View the interview at: https://youtu.be/1z2zTsyRBq4

For more info on PIEPC, visit: www.piepc.org

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