Disaster Management Director to speak at International Emergency Management Conference

Ohio Christian University faculty member, and Disaster Management and Relief Program Director, Thaddeus Hicks has been invited to present at IAEM, The International Association of Emergency Manager’s Conference.  This annual conference is a time for Emergency Management Programs from all over the world and abroad to come together to discuss the status of Emergency Management both domestically and internationally.  The conference provides a forum for current trends and topics, information about the latest tools and technology in emergency management and homeland security, and advances IAEM committee work.  Sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health and related professions to exchange ideas on serving humankind, and on collaborating to protect lives and property from disaster. 

Director Hicks will be discussing the topic, Managing Compassion Fatigue in Emergency Responders, at the 60th Annual Conference, being held in Orlando, Florida.  With more than 2500 participants, it is one of the largest and most important meetings of the professionals currently working in the Emergency & Disaster Management fields. 

Compassion Fatigue is a very important issue in the Emergency Management field.  Compassion Fatigue or secondary traumatic stress disorder is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time.  It is common among individuals that work directly with victims of disaster and trauma.  Responders need to be ready to deal with the emotional stress and dangers they will face as they spend their lives serving and assisting others.  Those working and involved in the disaster field operate in environments that impose high stress.  Without the development of techniques to deal with this secondary trauma, the responders begin a downward slide towards burnout and depression. 

In addition to Director Hicks, approximately 12 students from the Disaster Management and Relief program at OCU will be attending the conference.  An entire set of classes and break-out sessions are in place for students at the conference.  The IAEM recognizes that the next generation of emergency managers will come from these young men and women.  Hicks stated “This is a real chance to continue putting OCU in the spotlight as a front-runner in the Emergency & Disaster Management fields, and a chance to showcase the type of leaders we are producing at the university.”