Thursday, April 17, 2008

Public-Private Sector Collaboration in Virginia

In another installment from the "better late than never" file, the Washington Post reports on the efforts that DC-area Arlington County, Virginia, is making to enlist the support of the business community in emergency preparedness and response:

Since the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, Arlington County has taken steps to help residents prepare for disasters. Now, officials are extending that effort to the private sector, enlisting the business community in a joint project to get ready for terrorist attacks or other emergencies.

The Businesses for a Safer Arlington Partnership consists of a series of workshops in which corporate leaders and government officials discuss how the business community can help plan for and recover from emergencies including an attack and a large-scale power outage. The first workshop drew more than 100 people this month to the FDIC Seidman Center in Arlington.

Especially after Katrina, said Robert P. Griffin Jr., the county's director of emergency management., the thinking is that "it's a symbiotic relationship. If you want to bring your community back to a level of normalcy, you have to bring your private sector with you."
This stuff isn't rocket science. You have to know who can help get you get back on your feet after an emergency.

And make no mistake - in our increasingly interdependent economic structure, we cannot last long on our own. We have to know where help will come from, so we can get the systems back up and running. The first step, as always, is shaking hands and business cards:
Kiersten Todt Coon, a vice president at Good Harbor Consulting, an Arlington-based national-security and risk-management firm, said the April 1 workshop "was an intensive day. It got people around the table, and just by walking away from that event you've met 20 people who are working on these issues."

Arlington Deputy Police Chief Jay Farr, who also attended, said he wants to help businesses develop more aggressive emergency management plans, in addition to exploring how to get them back in operation quicker after a disaster. He said the workshop was "a good dialogue. It was a good start."

No comments: