FORT STEWART, Ga. - Protecting and increasing awareness and interoperability among community, state, and federal organizations topped the agenda among key Southeast Georgia and Coastal Empire Civil Support, at Club Stewart.

The 2011 Southeast Georgia and Coastal Empire Civil Support Conference, held March 2, brought emergency management decision makers together to discuss experience and ideas regarding past and future possible emergency scenarios.

"We have invited our partners in preparedness to discuss the systems that link us together in order to increase awareness and interoperability among community, state, and federal organizations," said Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander, Col. Kevin W. Milton. "The primary purpose is to help prepare all to respond to a crisis which requires us to work together to save lives, limit damage to infrastructure and property, and restore essential services."

Among the conference participants were officials from both state and federal emergency management agencies.

Federal Coordinating Officer, Joe Girot, with the FEMA region IV in Atlanta, Georgia stated, "I am here today to provide an update of the National Incident Support manual which is about to implemented in the field. The changes will empower the state and DoD to work at the lowest levels when responding to an incident."

John Blanc, DPTMS Emergency Management section, said, "What we want to accomplish today is a good coming together coordination and meeting people face to face that we work with in times of crisis and emergency, the best time to do that is times like now. The time you need to work shoulder to shoulder with people in the community is not at the emergency itself."
The meeting was viewed as a success.

"It is going great, everybody is here ... they get to learn about some of the cutting edge things that are going on in civil support and emergency management," said Blanc. "We discussed all types of catastrophic events such large fires, mass casualty events and anything that taxes the resources of the community."

Colonel Milton reminded everyone of the importance of a team effort.

"Effective emergency management can only be accomplished where each member is part of an effective team, bringing an important capability that enhances our chances for success."