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International Disaster Conference concludes first meeting in New Orleans

IDCEThe International Disaster Conference and Expo concluded its first annual meeting at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center last week, drawing more than 1,600 attendees and establishing Louisiana as the center of excellence for disaster management.

Disaster management and homeland security professionals from 28 countries listened to presentations featuring the most renowned experts in the industry and explored best practices for minimizing the loss of life and property resulting from the next inevitable catastrophic event. More than 200 exhibitors showcased the latest equipment and technology from around the world.

The event, initiated by the MCCNO in partnership with Imago Tradeshows, is the first comprehensive disaster management industry conference and exposition of this magnitude.

“This relationship represents a new model for the convention center industry, which is common in Europe and provides New Orleans with the benefit of a long-term commitment,” said Bob Johnson, president/general manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. “The conference presented the opportunity to bring together public and private groups to share information on a subject on which Louisiana is known as an authority, and we consider it a success on every level.”

The program featured keynote addresses from Tom Ridge, the first director of the Department of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania, who spoke on the evolution of emergency response in America since 9/11; and Craig Fugate, the current FEMA head who spoke on public-private partnerships in the emergency management plan.

The IDCE 2012 exhibition hall featured more than 200 companies offering the latest in disaster industry technologies and techniques. Gorilla Design set up a Disaster Relief Unit, a self-sustaining emergency shelter created out of a 20-by-8-foot shipping container that can be shipped anywhere in the world and arrive turnkey, ready to inhabit.

“This was a great opportunity for us,” said Roi Maufas of Gorilla Design, which debuted its Disaster Relief Unit, a converted shipping container that provides sustainable living quarters designed to keep an entire family safe from harm through the course of a disaster. “The time we spent here and the contacts we made are extremely valuable and have already contributed significantly to our business.”

FloodSax demonstrated sandless, self-inflating bags, a flood defense system that could revolutionize the control of damage from flooding, while Mathews Specialty Vehicles rolled a disaster management vehicle onto the exhibit hall floor, offering such capabilities as decontamination, medical relief and mass evacuation.

The International Disaster Conference and Expo calls New Orleans its permanent home and will return every January. The 2013 event will be held January 15 – 17.

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