August 19-20, 2016 | Boston, MA


In the face of increasing global and domestic threats, communities across the United States are likely to experience different types of disasters and emergencies that can have devastating effects. This reality means that local and state officials must proactively consider how to prepare their communities to confront and recover from natural or man-made emergencies. While communities may not have the resources to prepare for every possible threat, they can plan for responses that make communities more resilient in the face of these events.

Effective emergency and disaster response planning entails an ongoing process of updating plans, responding to local, state, and federal policy changes, and updated understanding about hazards and implementation of best practices. Local policymakers have the opportunity to play a leadership role in these efforts by facilitating and supporting collaboration across levels of government and helping to establish key partnerships across sectors before a disaster occurs in order to advance disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The NALEO Educational Fund’s National Policy Institute on Emergency Planning and Preparedness provided Latino policymakers the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the different levels of planning and preparedness in an effort to help their communities prepare for, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from various types of disasters and emergencies.

The Institute’s curriculum covered:

  • Understanding Federal, State and Local Roles During Emergencies
  • Identifying Hazards and Mitigation Planning
  • Community Outreach and Risk Education
  • Building Disaster Resilient Communities
  • Best Practices for Improving Emergency Plans and Preparedness
  • Emergency Planning and Preparedness Scenario Exercises

The Policy Institute convened state legislators and local policymakers with leading experts from the public, private, and non-profit sectors for two days of professional development, that combined classroom and experiential learning, and exchanged ideas and best practices. Policymakers received timely information, strengthened governance skills that support effective leadership, and had the opportunity to network with colleagues and experts from throughout the country. The co-hort of policymakers that participated in this convening will be invited to participate in a second Policy Institute in 2017 that will focus on emergency management and response.


Title Sponsors



  • Friday, August 19
  • Saturday, August 20

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Institute Registration & Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Welcome Remarks & Program Overview


8:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Session I:


Who is in Charge of What? Understanding Federal, State and Local Roles During Emergencies

Emergency response begins at the local level, but when local resources become overwhelmed, it is the state’s role to ensure a well-coordinated response through the combined efforts of local governments, state and federal agencies, and private sector. Understanding the scope of federal and state emergency authorities and how they interact is an important part of preparing for and responding to any type of emergency. This session provided participants with an understanding of the critical role of federal, state, and local governments play in emergency planning and response, with a particular emphasis on the role of Governors, State Legislatures, and State Offices of Emergency Management.

• Mr. Marcos Estrada, Chief of Logistics, Cook County, Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

• Mr. Timothy M. O’Neill, Committee Director, Committee on Health Care Financing, Massachusetts House of Representatives

• Mr. Alex Amparo, Acting Administrator of the Field Operations Directorate and Assistant Administrator of the Recovery Directorate, Federal Emergency Management Agency

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Session II:


Identifying Hazards and Mitigation Planning

A successful effort to plan and prepare for a disaster includes an updated knowledge of the hazards a particular community is at risk for and the impact they can have. Communities face a number of threats, therefore it is crucial to develop a sustained course of action to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property. Having an updated Hazard Mitigation Plan creates a framework for risk-based decision-making by policymakers to reduce damages to people, property and the economy from future emergencies and disasters. This session provided an overview of effective strategies for emergency planning, preparation and effective hazard mitigation planning.

• Ms. Marilyn Hilliard, Region I Risk Analysis Branch Chief, Federal Emergency Management Agency

• Ms. Sarah J. White, Mitigation Unit Supervisor, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

• Ms. Jeanne M. Salvatore, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Chief Communications Officer, Insurance Information Institute

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Session III:


Community Outreach and Risk Education

A critical component of effective emergency planning and preparedness includes the ability to engage and communicate with all stakeholders in the community. A more informed and prepared community will be better equipped to detect potential hazards and take the necessary steps to prevent a disaster from occurring when possible, and will also be better prepared to respond to emergencies when they do occur. This session explored effective strategies of community education and engagement that increase the incidence of preparedness among community members, especially vulnerable communities.

• Ms. Ana Montero, Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Region American Red Cross

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.


1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Session IV:


Building Disaster Resilient Communities

Resilience is a community’s ability to ensure and recover from diverse forms of adversity. Across the United States, many communities have experienced various types of disasters and emergencies that have had devastating effects – reminding us that natural and man-made hazards can take a high toll on communities. The high cost in loss of lives, livelihood and quality of life can be reduced by better managing disaster risks. We can strengthen resilience and improve a community’s ability to maintain and restore vital services in a more timely way and ultimately recover better and stronger. This session highlighted ways elected officials can promote community preparedness, partner with government agencies, community-based organizations, and others to help their communities respond to and recover more effectively and efficiently after disaster strikes.

• Ms. Marilyn Hilliard, Region I Risk Analysis Branch Chief, Federal Emergency Management Agency

• Dr. Robin White, Executive Director, Community and Regional Resilience Institute; Meridian Institute

• Ms. Ana Montero, Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Region American Red Cross

2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Session V:


Best Practices for Improving Emergency Plans and Preparedness

This session has provided participants with a deeper understanding of the critical elements around prevention, preparation, mitigation, and recovery from all types of related emergencies, including active shooter and terrorism related events.

• Hon. John Ortega, President and Chief Executive Officer, Emergency Preparedness Group, Inc.;
Board Member, Orange Unified School District

• Mr. John Diaz, Vice President of Business Operations, Emergency Preparedness Group, Inc.

• Mr. Z. Rich Rebenstorff, Consultant, Emergency Preparedness Group, Inc.

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Opening Reception

Opening Reception Host
State Farm®

Opening Reception Donor:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts