No city will be better prepared for disaster than Halifax today, June 9 to Thursday, June 12, as top emergency management officials from the Eastern provinces and states gather for their spring 2008 meeting. The Emergency Management Office is hosting the bi-annual conference of the International Emergency Management Group (IEMG). The conference brings together emergency management officials from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. “Nova Scotia’s participation in the International Emergency Management Group strengthens our ability to respond in the event of a major catastrophe,” said Emergency Management Minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson. “It’s only natural that we co-operate with our neighbours on matters of public safety. We are proud to host the conference, and commend the delegates on their continued co-operation and vigilance.” In addition to various presentations and discussions, the focus of the conference will be a simulated disaster response exercise. “Our director of training and strategic planning has a detailed scenario for us to deal with,” said Craig MacLaughlan, CEO and deputy head of EMO. “The details are secret. Even I don’t know them.” The goal is to test the operations manual created using the International Emergency Management Assistance Memorandum of Understanding. The memorandum is considered a world-leading agreement in international disaster-relief co-operation. It guides how member provinces and states will assist one another in disasters. The conference is at the Four Points Sheraton. Ms. Bolivar-Getson will speak at the conference banquet, at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Wednesday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. The International Emergency Management Group was founded after the 1998 Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. The group conference is held twice a year, alternating between Canada and the United States. The conference was last held in Nova Scotia in June 2003. In addition to Ms. Bolivar-Getson’s speech, media are invited to attend opening remarks from Mr. MacLaughlan and Bob Fowler, deputy minister to Premier Rodney MacDonald, Tuesday at 8 a.m. For more information on the group, log onto www.iemg-gigu-web.org .