ReadyAmerica Initiative kicks off in DC
| 11.18.2006 | 05:51:19 | Views: 4933 | ID:
November 17 '06: More than 600 fire, police, medical, and state and local leaders from around the country gathered in Washington DC for the inaugural meeting of the ReadyAmerica Initiative sponsored by the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness.
Those present took part in a half-day conference designed to create an Advisory Council to the National Task Force on Community Preparedness and Response and respond to Gilmore Commission recommendation for a larger role by citizens, community organizaitons and corporations in preparedness and response. In 2005 alone, events such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma that ravaged the Gulf Coast states and the war on terror have underscored the necessity for a comprehensive, coordinated and clear plan for the private and public sectors to work together.During the conference NCORP Chairman and former Virginia Governor James Gilmore spoke to the assembly, saying it was important the meeting was not for NCORP to tell the country and its first responders what to do, but what can be done to help increase the level of cooperation and coordination in the responder community. "Listen," the governor said, "I don't need to tell you how to do your jobs, you are the best of the best at what you do. The goal here is to learn how we can help each other respond and protect this country when something catastrophic happens." Among those attending the conference were several mayors from large metropolitan centers - Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, Philadelphia Mayor John Street and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden. These were just a few of the city and community leaders helping to focus attention on creating a national response template that communities can use to multiply their preparedness and response capabilities. Among the topics discussed, attendees took part in discussions which ranged from pandemic response to surge capacity preparedness, crisis response, and intelligence and situational awareness. Industry leaders and experts attended the conference and helped guide the discussions in a round-table style event. Additionally, representatives from the US Northern Command, the National Counter Terrorism Center and the US military were in attendance. Gilmore said it was the goal of NCORP to create a template for communities to use to identify response practices could "help guide and enable communities to quickly adopt, modify or improve techniques for their own use." In the aftermath of recent natural disasters and the threat of another terrorist attack on the US, Gilmore said it was important that citizens and community leaders understand the purpose of NCORP. "All first response is local," Gilmore said, "which means communities must look to themselves and neighbors to identify resources and capabilities to be ready to respond to an event of mass casualty or destruction."
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