Michael D. Brown will keynote AHMP conference.

Former FEMA Director to Address Homeland Insecurity

Disaster preparedness and crisis management will take center stage when Michael D. Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who led the federal government's initial response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, addresses the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (AHMP) National Conference in September. Brown is slated to keynote the annual event’s general session on Sept. 1 in San Diego, presenting a talk focusing on three primary themes: Communicating in a Crisis, Making Things Work When All the Wires Are Cut, and Homeland Insecurity, perhaps drawing on lessons learned from FEMA’s response to the Katrina crisis, for which his former agency has been widely criticized.

Event planners say Brown also will discuss the role of AHMP members in preparing for and responding to natural and manmade disasters, including acts of terrorism; recognizing and acting on political, natural, and terrorist vulnerabilities in the management of hazardous materials; working with federal, state, and local officials before a disaster strikes; and assuming a position of leadership in community emergency preparedness planning.

Following his remarks, Brown will field questions on Hurricane Katrina and other disaster-preparation and -management topics from attendees, who are experts in the hazmat, waste management, and EHS&S fields. The audience will consist of first-responders and EHS&S managers, as well as compliance officers, hazmat transportation managers, and policy- and decision-makers in the corporate and government arenas.

Additionally, Brown will participate in various activities throughout the three days of the conference, including networking events and interacting with attendees in informal settings, such as hallway discussions, organizers say.

Brown has more than 25 years of experience in public safety, disaster preparedness, and emergency management at the local, national, and international levels. He was the first under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security's Emergency Preparedness & Response Directorate and in this capacity was the director of FEMA. As that agency’s head, Brown managed the National Flood Insurance Administration, U.S. Fire Administration, National Disaster Medical System, Nuclear Incident Response Teams, Domestic Emergency Support Team, Office of National Security Coordination, and Office of International Affairs.

During his tenure, Brown led FEMA through its greatest period of activity in its 26-year history, during which the agency responded to more than 160 federally declared disasters, including the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003; the 2003 Bam, Iran earthquake; the 2004 tsunami in South Asia; California and Western U.S. wildfires; as well as Hurricane Katrina.

The AHMP 2009 National Conference--themed "EHS&S: Steering a Course for Sustainability"--will be conducted Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Up to 1,000 EHS&S industry professionals and emergency first-responders are expected to attend. Online registration is available on the AHMP Web site at www.ahmpnet.org; early- bird registration ends July 30.

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