"We hear so much about National Security and Homeland Security. What we wanted to do with this conference is to make it a little more personal. How does that impact the people in our neck of the woods? What can we do? Where do we fit in in the larger scheme of things?" notes Western Kentucky University Political Science Professor, Dr. Saundra Ardrey.
Many experts urged citizens to realize that while the federal government is tasked with protecting everyone from man-made and natural disasters, it's up to each and every community, no matter the size to prepare themselves for survival.
According to Ardrey, "The national government is there but it takes consistently 72 hours to make sure that the government knows theat something has happened. So in that first 72 hours we have to be prepared ourselves."
" I tell people that if they're waiting on someone in Washington to make a decision to start saving lives, then we're dead. So communities really need to be able to take care of themselves," says Dr. James Carafano, a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Carafano notes that in natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina many communities the size of Bowling Green and smaller banded together to protect their community.
"Community preparedness is about communities getting together in families and neighbors and groups and saying if something terrible happens what are we going to do to take care of ourselves?"
He also says that while massive events like Hurricane Katrina and September 11th don't take place everyday, we can start preparing in our everyday lives.
"Things we can do on a local community level to help stop a terrorist attack are the same things we' can do to prevent crime. So its co-operating with the local law enforcement, being vigilant, being involved in community activities."
During the conference, panelists also discussed the current war on terrorism as well as Homeland Security's impact on local businesses and social institutions.