In an effort to enhance emergency response and preparedness, local leaders from the Strong Augusta Initiative recently traveled to Florida. This journey was not just to share their experiences but also to collaborate with other professionals from across the country. Their mission: to ensure that Augusta is ready for any emergency.

Downtown Augusta has experienced multiple incidents, including a recent shooting on June 8th.  Local emergency response departments have been training diligently with the Strong Augusta Initiative, preparing for any potential hostile events.

Strong Augusta is spearheaded by Augusta University's Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPaR) team, along with other community stakeholders.

This initiative focuses on ensuring that the community is well-prepared for emergencies through comprehensive training and collaboration.

Earlier this month, representatives from Strong Augusta attended the National Fire Protection Association’s Annual Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Joe Webber, the Director of CEPaR at Augusta University, highlighted the importance of this event for local officials.

Joe Webber emphasized the collective effort required for effective emergency response. He noted that having everyone understand their responsibilities and relationships is crucial for appropriate responses in critical situations.

“It takes everybody and having everyone aware of what responsibilities, what relationships reside, and what right looks like. Based on the subject matter experts across the sectors. Need to be present in the room to come up with the appropriate responses.” said, Joe Webber, Director, CEPaR

The convention featured 120 educational sessions addressing various topics, including emergency preparedness and safety challenges, such as active shooters. Webber stressed the importance of proactive measures to ensure the best possible outcomes in emergencies.

“On what we should do left of bang before something happens. To hopefully have the best possible outcome should something ever happen like that in Augusta.” said, Joe Webber, Director, CEPaR


John Ryan, the Emergency Manager at Augusta University, discussed the diverse strategies they learned to prepare for a wide range of situations. These strategies include accommodating the whole community, especially those with disabilities or functional needs.

"What aspects of their community does include the whole community. People who access or functionally need.. challenge-- people who have disabilities."  Ryan said


Both Webber and Ryan acknowledged that keeping Augusta safe requires a community effort. They expressed gratitude to all the emergency response teams in the area for their unwavering support.


The Strong Augusta Initiative is a testament to the power of collaboration and preparedness. By working together and learning from national experts, Augusta is better equipped to handle emergencies, ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents.

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