Illinois emergency responders summit in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Members of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are brushing up on their life-saving skills during a disaster. More than 1,000 emergency responders from across Illinois are in Springfield this week for the 22nd emergency management training summit.

The summit provides training and education for leaders in law enforcement, firefighters, public health, volunteer organizations, and other public safety organizations. They can take this new information back to their departments so they’re ready for any sort of disaster, whether that’s natural or man-made like cyber warfare or a mass shooting.

The coordination of several departments and leadership is key in managing these catastrophes, that’s what Caleb Cage, the chief of Nevada’s emergency management program, learned firsthand after the shooting in Las Vegas. It was the largest mass shooting in US history.

“Probably the biggest lesson learned was the just the relationship between police and fire,” Cage said. “The plans, the training, and the exercising, all of the preparedness efforts that build trust and it established this idea of that it didn’t matter who you were or what your role was, whether that was police or fire, if you were in a position to lead, you should lead.”

“It helps to be able to have practice, to train on it, to exercise on it so that when it actually happens, you’ve done it before, it’s real now, but you’ve practiced it,” said Jennifer Ricker, IMEA Acting Deputy Director.

The IMEA is also learning how to deal with the fallout if there’s ever a type of cyberattack where the power grid goes out.