Emergency management leaders discuss challenges Montana faces

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Posted at 5:33 PM, May 11, 2023

HELENA — A three-day Emergency Management Forum wrapped up Thursday with the Region 8 FEMA Administrator, Nancy Dragani, speaking and emergency management leaders discussing common challenges facing the region and how neighboring states and communities can learn from each other.

"Spaces like this are critical. Conversations like this are critical. It is so important that as emergency managers, we do, in fact, come together, we do, in fact, talk. We do, in fact, try to improve the system," said Dragani.

Dragani emphasizes the importance of having forums like the one in Helena, saying that these types of events spark conversations and collaborations that improve disaster and recovery response.

Dragani, as the Region 8 Administrator for FEMA, leads and coordinates, all activities in support of FEMA's mission with Montana, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

"We can provide some resources to individuals who have who have had damage. We can provide resources, reimbursement to governments to help them repair roads and bridges and other types of infrastructure," said Dragani.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, commonly referred to as FEMA, has 10 regional offices located across the country. They coordinate within the federal government to make sure America is equipped to prepare for, and respond to disasters, that range from hurricanes to fires, to floods, like last year's historic floods in Yellowstone National Park, Red Lodge, and The Paradise Valley.

"I think the value in having state, federal, local partners all in the same room," said Dragani, "The value for me as the Region 8 Administrator is being able to hear firsthand what some of the successes are, but more importantly, what are some of their challenges and what can we do differently to actually support better our customers at the state and local level."