East Carolina University, Pitt County -

It was a year ago Wednesday that Tropical Storm Alberto was spinning just a few hundred miles off the coast of North Carolina. As the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season draws near, first responders prepared with a special hurricane workshop.

Over 200 local, state, and federal first responders, researchers and forecasters attended. Several guest speakers were professors from East Carolina University. The Keynote Speaker, Coast Guard Sector Chief of Emergency Prevention Commander Linda Sturgis, flew in from New York. She was there when Sandy slammed the city of New York.

She was able to share her experiences to help emergency managers in North Carolina.

"You know, we get smarter every time we go through a natural disaster to make ourselves more prepared and able to respond," said Cmdr. Sturgis.

New technology and approaches were unveiled as well. Including new map products that estimate storm surge and erosion depending on the intensity of a storm.

Networking was also a big component to the conference. Director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management

"We never rest on our laurels we're always working hard to work with these fine folks and others across the state to ensure we are ready to take whatever gets thrown at us," said Sprayberry.