NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Preparation before a disaster strikes is the best way to deal with it, and that’s why the Local Organizing Committee brought emergency agencies from around central Arkansas together Thursday.

The town hall at Mosaic Church discussion sponsored by the North Little Rock-based LOC talked about ways city and county officials can work with citizen volunteer groups to take the burden off first responders.

“What we don’t want to do is to over-utilize our first responders. We feel there’s a need for some type of training for our communities to get involved,” LOC’s Shonna Penn said. “So when there’s some type of natural disaster, us as a community should have some type of training so we should be able to be of some type of assistance.”

Arkansas Storm Team meteorologist Pat Walker was part of the panel discussion.

The Thursday event came just under one month since many areas of central Arkansas, including parts of Little Rock and North Little Rock, were hit by an EF-3-rated tornado.

One resident of North Little Rock died during the storm, and rebuilding efforts throughout the area continue.