The Emergency Management Coalition of Eastern Alabama convened for its quarterly meeting at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) recently. The coalition was formed almost one year ago and consists of 25 members, representing more than 10 counties.

"Our intent is to engage emergency management professionals in the regional area," said Dr. Jeff Ryan, head of the Emergency Management Department at Jacksonville State University (JSU). "Our members are provided opportunities for professional development and enhance preparedness in the region."

"Those of us who live and work in Northeast Alabama are very fortunate to have both JSU and the CDP in our backyard," said Jonathan Gaddy, Director of Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency. "Increasing cooperation and communication to support training, networking, and teamwork helps work toward a common goal: protecting the public. The threats we face don't line up along jurisdictional boundaries. It's critical to have a dialogue with our local, state, federal, and military partners. The Emergency Management Coalition provides us with a forum to accomplish that."

Since the coalition's establishment in February 2013, representatives from all levels of government have joined together. The coalition even includes volunteer groups. The coalition members hope to improve communication and cooperation among neighboring cities and counties and work together to establish best practices for response and recovery following a hazardous event.

Ashley Siskey, also representing JSU as a graduate student in the emergency management program, said she has always wanted to learn more about preparedness. She added, the coalition provides her a resource for networking and offers more opportunities to serve.

"The coalition will only further boost public confidence in our local leaders of emergency management," said Siskey. "The public has a true asset in the coalition."