April 21-22, 2017 | El Paso, TX


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 Policy Institute on Emergency Planning and Preparednessprovided Latino policymakers with 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
  • Building Disaster Resilient Communities
  • Best Practices for Improving Emergency Plans and Preparedness

The Policy Institute convened 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 the exchange of 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.


Title Sponsors


  • Friday, April 21
  • Saturday, April 22

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Registration & Networking Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Welcome Remarks and Program Overview

• Hon. Pauline Medrano, Dallas County Treasurer, TX; NALEO President

9:15 a.m. – 10:45 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 that 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. Jorge A. Rodriguez, Deputy Chief, Emergency Management Coordinator, El Paso County Office of Emergency Management

• Mr. W. Nim Kidd, Chief, Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety

• Mr. Wayne Rickard, Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, Region 6, Federal Emergency Management Agency

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Session II:


Identifying the 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. Patricia Schaffer, Senior Planning Coordinator, Mitigation Division, Region 6, Federal Emergency Management Agency

• Mr. Thomas Quinn, Fire Lieutenant, Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator, El Paso City and County Office of Emergency Management

• Ms. Jeanne M. Salvatore, Chief Engagement Officer and Senior Spokesperson, Insurance Information Institute

12:00 p.m. – 12:15 p.m.


12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Networking Lunch

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Session III:


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.

• Mr. Wayne Rickard, Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, Region 6, Federal Emergency Management Agency

• Mr. Dave Chayer, Executive Director, El Paso and Southern New Mexico Chapter, American Red Cross

2:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Session IV:


Best Practices for Improving Emergency Plans and Preparedness

This session 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. Z. Rich Rebenstorff, Consultant, Emergency Preparedness Group, Inc.