Organizing cities and communities for disaster response and preparedness
| 03.20.2006 | 09:03:44 | Views: 2587 | ID:
March 20 '06: At a gathering of state and local leaders last week, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff talked about the development of local and municipal efforts to organize emergency response and law enforcement under a single "team effort".
A Department of Homeland Security press release detailed the secretary's comments on disaster mitigation, response and relief saying that homeland security is a "spectrum" and that if a disaster cannot be prevented - like a hurricane - preparedness to protect the community is the greatest challenge. "If we can protect against a problem when it hits," Chertoff continued, "if we can minimize the vulnerability, that's a good act."Secretary Chertoff's speech was given in front of the National League of Cities, an organization which organizes cities, towns and local communities across the country to help discuss and cooperate on a range of issues including homeland security, housing and development, economic and environmental programs as well as government and governance issues. On its website regarding homeland security and public safety, NLC said, "In order for local emergency personnel to be the first to respond to a terrorist-based attack or a natural disaster, local elected officials must ensure there is full federal funding for both traditional public safety programs and homeland security activities." NLC also helps to coordinate and publish the various city plans used for homeland security and preparedness around the country. Each city and town has a different set of problems and challenges, and so each plan will be a little different, NLC said. On it's database there are more than 5,000 examples of cities' programs dealing with homeland security and preparedness. During the NLC conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, Secretary Chertoff said that recent natural disasters have spotlighted the need for greater cooperation with private organizations, relief agencies and government bodies on all levels. The country is ultimately linked through interstate commerce, governance and through cultural bonds so that disasters like Hurricane Katrina's effects were felt throughout the US. Chertoff said DHS is looking at ways of "planning not only for managing the emergency in the location where the emergency occurs, but managing the emergency all over the country."
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