Jun 01

2013 Conference Registration is Open!

skamania lodgeMark your calendars for September 17-19, 2013 because the Annual Washington State Emergency Management Association Conference will be held in Stevenson, Washington, at the Skamania Lodge.

You can register today for this wonderful 3-day conference which will bring emergency management professionals, students and volunteers together to focus on “Lessons Learned” from the crises that have occurred both inside and outside of Washington State.

To register for the conference, head to http://www.wsema.com/wsema-conference/ and follow the instructions on that page.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s conference!

Feb 10

Annual Conference Call for Presentations

Our annual WSEMA Conference is in its planning stages for 2013.  And this year, we’ll be at the beautiful Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, from September 17-19th.

Please note that WSEMA has negotiated GSA rates for the hotel for conference attendees. We will share more information with you on how to register for lodging very soon.

skamania1The Conference Theme this year is “Lessons Learned” which means that we are looking for a variety of presentations that focus on emergency and disaster case studies which provide best practices that have emerged across the United States and throughout the world.

Call for Presentations Closes May 15, 2013!

Presentations will be selected by Conference Committee and Executive Board.

Those selected will be asked to complete a speaker information form with audio-visual needs and biography.

Important Guidelines:


Sep 26

2012 WSEMA Election Results

Today, the Washington State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA) held our Annual Business Meeting.

There were 7 issues on the ballot that were considered, discussed and amended as follows:

  1. Issue to expand WSEMA membership categories to include “Students”:  PASSED
  2. Add a Tribal Liaison to the WSEMA Executive Board:  PASSED
  3. Clarify the verbiage in the Constitution  By-Laws so that the Treasurer only needs to be a WSEMA member, not specifically a member of a RCW 38.52 organization:  PASSED
  4. Separation of the Constitution & Bylaws:  PASSED (but amended to ensure that the membership approves changes to both)
  5. Change the Secretary position to be an Elected Position rather than Appointed:  PASSED (will be implemented for 2013-2014 year)
  6. Lifetime Membership for Past WSEMA Presidents: PASSED (but amended to apply only after the Past President departs from service as an Emergency Manager)
  7. Expansion of the Joel Aggergaard Scholarship Eligibility to include Distance Learning Programs: PASSED

The 2012-2013 WSEMA Executive Board will now work on developing implementation plans based on this direction from the membership.

Election Results for the WSEMA Executive Board:

  • President-Elect:  Jody Woodcock, Pierce County
  • Treasurer:  Butch Aiken, Asotin County
  • Public Sector At-Large:  Darrell Ruby, Region 9 Homeland Security
  • Private Sector At-Large:  John Rupp, WRK Engineers

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2012-2013 WSEMA Executive Board.  And thank you to all of the members for your votes and great conversation today in the WSEMA Business Meeting.

Sep 22

Thoughts from 2011-2012

Like a train pulling into the station, we are getting ready to celebrate our Annual Conference this next week which concludes one year and begins another.

This past year, I’ve had the unique opportunity to serve as your WSEMA President and I thought it would only be fitting to close out my tenure by sharing some more personal thoughts about WSEMA, leadership and our future.

You probably don’t remember, but I didn’t choose this role. I wasn’t even at the conference where I was nominated and elected as President. As I recall, prior to the 2010 conference, I received a call from a WSEMA Board Member, asking if I might be interested either in serving as Secretary or President-Elect.

I said “sure” but I wasn’t really sure. Honestly, I hadn’t really been around long enough as an Emergency Manager to know really what WSEMA did to serve its membership. I’ve always stayed focused at the local level and while I have served on a few statewide committees, I still had a lot to learn.

This year, I have seen….

  • People with wonderfully diverse perspectives and ideas on how to solve problems that we all face,
  • The willingness of people to engage if they feel their opinions are valued and heard,
  • The importance of kind encouragement….Never underestimate the power of a nice thought or note, particularly to those who serve in volunteer positions of leadership and,
  • The critical need to consider the perspective of others from their vantage points when receiving criticism or difficult feedback.

There will always be issues in the world of emergency management that will elicit differences in opinions on how to organize, respond and prepare.  But we need to be cautious about whether we allow those issues to impact our relationships with others.  Because, regardless of how we may disagree, at the end of the day, we will be more resilient as a state with good relationships in place, when disaster strikes.

My wish to for WSEMA, as an association in the coming year, is to continue to set progressive goals that illustrate a solid commitment towards information-sharing, providing value for all members and growth to include professionals from all industries that have a role in coordinating emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

We all, as members, have a responsibility to ensure that this Association is strong because we strongly support its mission and commit to sharing information with each other.  We owe it to our communities to be supportive allies, partners and resources because in the end, our residents deserve our best.

It has been a true pleasure to lead the organization this year!  From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate the opportunity to serve. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say thanks for the incredible support I received throughout this year.

  • Thank You is completely insufficient to my amazing secretary, Beth Vaughn, who put in as many or more hours than I did this year, to ensure that every committee had agendas, meeting summaries and follow-up completed. She grew to read my mind and never complained about the significant tasking that resulted everytime I “had an idea.”
  • To my Executive-Board, thank you for your regular feedback and support throughout this year.
  • To my Boss & CRESA Staff, thank you for your patience and support with my many absences, diverted attention and the workload involved.

It has been a great year. I sincerely hope you’ll join me in celebrating the progress of this past year by being even more involved in the coming year.  Let’s work together to make WSEMA a thriving & supportive association.

We have updated the WSEMA Conference webpage to include both the schedule and links to the various presentations of the speakers so that you can easily access them electronically throughout the week.

Look forward to seeing you!  Sincerely, Cheryl Bledsoe


May 03

Joel Aggergaard Scholarship Open for Application

WSEMA is pleased to announce that it is now receiving applications for the $2500 Joel Aggergaard Memorial Scholarship.  WSEMA announces the winner of this scholarship at our annual Conference in September.

  • Eligible Applicants include students pursuing a certificate, diploma, baccalaureate, or graduate degree in emergency management or a closely related field. The scholarship award will be directly paid to the college.
  • All applicants must be residents of Washington State and attending a college, university, or online program in the State of Washington having completed one academic term (quarter or semester) prior to the scholarship application period.

Joel Aggergaard began working for the Washington State Department of Emergency Management in 1970’s and served until his untimely death in 1996.  He thoroughly enjoyed his career with Emergency Management, and his “heart” was with supporting local Emergency Management Programs. 

It may be necessary to be a local emergency manager to fully appreciate the enormous contribution Joel made to local programs during the years he worked with emergency management.  If you have been stressed to the point there is not one additional free minute in your day, but you need to get an issue clarified with State Department of Emergency Management and it must be taken care of today …then… you will begin to understand.   A phone call placed to Joel reached someone who was not only usually familiar with the issue but also very interested.  The issues either became resolved or a commitment was made from Joel to follow-up for resolution.

Joel was commended for his extraordinary work with emergency management and named the “most helpful” state official by local, county and city emergency managers across Washington State.  Joel assisted with countless floods, storms and local emergencies, and was a welcome addition to any activated Emergency Operating Center during a disaster.

Joel was also an avid supporter of youth and their activities.  Because of his selfless support and commitment to local emergency management directors, WSEMA has chosen to provide an educational scholarship commemorating Joel in the hope that others who possess his worthy qualities and have a personal dedication to achievement may have expanded opportunities.

Joel’s life and dedication to emergency management in the State of Washington inspired this scholarship.  Please pass along this opportunity to any students who qualify.

Deadline for application is August 1, 2012.  Application Materials can be found at this link location.

Mar 21

Apply Now to Speak at our Fall Conference

Creative Commons via newspaperdeathwatch.com

Today, we’re excited to announce that the Call for Presentations has been opened for the Washington State Emergency Management Association’s Fall Conference in Spokane, Washington which is on September 25-27,2012.

This year, we are looking for creative presentations that share fresh ideas, new methods of engagement and best practices for preparing, responding and recovering as a “whole community.”

In order to submit a proposal, please fill out the following application form:

We encourage all prospective speakers to consider developing a dynamic and audience-engaging presentation.  We are also seeking to keep Powerpoint slides to a minimum this year.

Submissions will be accepted until Tuesday, May 15, 2012 via email to Ute Weber at [email protected]

Sep 29

Conference Highlights: Day 2

Over the 2nd day of the conference, attendees enjoyed another set of diverse presentations which included the FBI talking about their services, conversations about Emergency Management Accreditation Programs (EMAP), mutual aid resources and how to conduct exercises on no budget to enhance facility preparedness.


In the afternoon of the conference, we did something really different. Peninsula College facilitated a round robin emergency exercise which allowed participants to try four different roles during the exercise.


In the evening, our second networking social involved a murder mystery dinner which was a lot of fun. It was clear, based on conversations that continued well into the evening, that emergency managers were exchanging business cards and networking well after their day was “officially over.”




The WSEMA Business Meeting was held during the lunch hour on Wednesday, and the gavel was passed to Cheryl Bledsoe as the President for 2011-2012. Jim Hall, from Yakima County, was elected as President Elect. Ute Weber was confirmed as the West-Side Representative and JoAnn Boggs was confirmed as the East-Side Representative. John Rupp was confirmed as the Private Sector Representative and Beth Vaughn will serve as the appointed Secretary.

With these new members, we are off to an exciting start to 2011-2012. Tomorrow, we still have 4 awesome presentations left on Haiti and Japan. Stay tuned for a continued set of awesome presentations.

Sep 28

Conference Highlights: Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of the annual conference for the Washington State Emergency Management Association here in Port Angeles, Washington. Conference attendees kicked off the conference with a blessing from the local Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and welcomes from the Clallam County Sheriff and County Commissioner.

In addition to local leadership, statewide leaders from the Department of Health, Washington State EMD and the Adjutant General addressed the conference.


Speakers throughout the day encouraged attendees to rethink emergency preparedness from puzzles (analysis) to mysteries (synthesis), be change agents in our communities with creative ways to get people engaged. We also received great presentations from the National Weather Service on forecast anticipations for this fall & winter, Foot & Mouth Disease by the State Department of Agriculture and Social Media Use in Emergencies.


In the evening, WSEMA participants attending a networking social with a silent auction to raise money for the Joel Aggregaard Scholarship fund. Over $1,000 was raised to support the association’s scholarship fund. Remember, we are always willing to accept donations to support this cause. This fund annually supports students who are attending emergency management programs in Washington State.  Watching great conversations and networking occur fulfills that basic need that we all have to exchange business card prior to the disaster.

The conference had a very active day on social media. With 11 people sharing content on Twitter from inside the conference, many online conversations spawned in 12 states and 2 countries. Who knew that the WSEMA 2011 Conference would be shared with people in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, New Mexico and Canada.

Day 1 was great….now onto an exciting Day 2. Remember, we have the Annual Business Meeting at lunch today. Consider the following….

  • Topics for the legislative agenda
  • Ideas of how we can promote great relationship-building, and
  • How you might help in the coming 2011-2012 year.
Sep 25

Welcome to the 2011 Annual Conference


Welcome to Port Angeles and the Washington State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA) Conference for 2011.

We are looking forward to an outstanding conference with a number of exciting speakers, lots of networking with colleagues, many opportunities to share best practice and refresh our skills as crisis-focused practitioners.

Registration will be open on Monday, September 26th, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and will open at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning in advance of the 8:00 a.m. start.

If you are sharing about the conference on Twitter this week, please use #WSEMA as a hashtag so that conference managers can be attentive to your needs and the online conversation. 

We have also launched a Facebook Fan Page which we would love to see participants “like” so that we can grow our community.  As always, if you have any questions, concerns or great ideas, please share them with us.


Tom Mattern, President from 2010-2011 and Cheryl Bledsoe, President from 2011-2012