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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2019 Vol. 66 No. 3

CHIEF NIM KIDD GIVES KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT 12th ANNUAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS SYMPOSIUM

"Distinguished guests, ladies & gentlemen, family & friends, it is an honor and a privilege to welcome you to the 12th annual Emergency Management Association of Texas Symposium." These might be the words you'd expect to hear from other keynote speakers at a major gathering of emergency management professionals, however this year's opening was anything but average. And if keynote remarks from a highly respected leader in the field are one of the many highlights of such an event, Chief Nim Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Vice Chancellor for Disaster and Emergency Services at Texas A&M did not disappoint. Rather than take the usual (and safe) approach of providing a prepared speech, Chief Kidd opened his remarks by engaging the audience of approximately 175 emergency managers, first responders and local officials with a question and answer period that lasted nearly two hours. Topics of discussion included improving disaster recovery, federal vs. state/local funding, Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Assistance System (TIFMAS) and the potential licensure of emergency managers in Texas. Interwoven throughout the many questions asked by attendees were responses that referred back to the Eye of the Storm report released last November by the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas. Much of the morning's discussion centered on several of the key recommendations made in the report and the future of disaster response and recovery in the state of Texas.

One of several exchanges Chief Kidd initiated focused on Governor Abbott's recognizing that many local jurisdictions impacted by major disasters are not capable of funding their share of public assistance funds and therefore the state may start paying for the non-federal share cost of recovery.

Another item that drew particular attention during the keynote was a TDEM initiative to license emergency managers across Texas. Per Chief Kidd, "…the job of an emergency manager is evolving and we need to institutionalize our processes by raising our standards." Although this initiative is in its early stages, Chief Kidd made it clear that it is very much a discussion that requires input from stakeholders throughout the emergency management community.

While the keynote address provided a unique experience for attendees, the annual EMAT Symposium held in San Marcos, Texas offered an outstanding opportunity to exchange information, ideas and solutions with emergency management partners from across the state. This year's symposium drew a crowd of 175 attendees and 12 exhibitors; all of whom had the opportunity to participate in 26 workshop meetings in tracks such as leadership, recovery and school safety. Additionally, TEEX instructors provided the Senior Officials Workshop for All-Hazards Preparedness (MGT-312) and Standardized Awareness Training (AWR-160) courses for symposium attendees.

The Emergency Management Association of Texas is dedicated to the advancement of the field of emergency management both statewide and nationally. To that end, EMAT engages in an array of efforts to advance a statewide emergency management agenda and to promote the professional growth of the emergency management practitioner. For more information on EMAT and symposium highlights, please visit the EMAT website.

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