Is northwest Indiana prepared for a terrorist hit? A natural disaster? Chemical or biological attacks? Is the region equipped to deal with these potential, real-life situations? Northwest Indiana boasts an abundance of natural resources, manufacturing mills and oil refineries, as well as a multitude of transportation crossroads that are vital to the nation’s economic prosperity, not to mention the local economy. The value and proximity to Chicago make these resources and services an attractive target, and makes the region extremely vulnerable to an attack or natural disaster. What contingency plans are in place for communities in northwest Indiana to prevent and/or confront such threats?
These questions will be the focus of a discussion forum on Wed., Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Savannah Auditorium at Indiana University Northwest. This one night only forum is part of a graduate Crisis Management course through the IU Northwest School of Business and Economics that focuses on preparing decision makers for the challenges involved in preventing emergencies, dealing with them effectively when they occur and recovering from them when they are realized. Instructor George P. Miga will facilitate the discussion.
Representatives from various local and regional government offices will be in attendance to address the region’s preparedness and include: Hodge Patel, regional director with Senator Evan Bayh’s office; Clifford J. Wojtalewicz, director, Planning Division, Indiana Department of Homeland Security; Sean O'Leary, FEMA; and Jeff Miller, director, Lake County Emergency Management Agency. Representatives from Rep. Pete Visclosky have also been invited to attend.
As the catastrophic natural disasters of the last eleven months around the world have demonstrated, the need for quick, highly organized and efficient emergency responses is crucial to saving lives. Tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes have devastated entire populations who now depend on crisis management leaders for survival and the tools to rebuild their lives. The threat of terrorist’s attacks is another critical situation that requires area leaders to be sufficiently knowledgeable about dealing with chemical, biological, and radiological threats. Every region, state and municipality needs leaders who are trained and prepared to correctly assess a crisis situation and act accordingly.
In a recent interview with Shore Magazine, U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky discussed how vital the role of the Department of Homeland Security is to the safety of our nation, under any circumstances. “..Each catastrophic event presents a unique set of circumstances, whether the event is created by man or nature,” says Visclosky. It is this uncertainty that makes preparedness a top priority for government officials all over the country.
Instructor George P. Miga has taught in the School of Business and Economics sine 1997 and has been a crisis management and media relations consultant for major corporations in North and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Far East. He has served as a speaker and lecturer on emergency response planning, media relations, speaker training, senior executive leadership and business presentations.