Businesses and government emergency preparedness
| 05.04.2006 | 06:53:25 | Views: 2627 | ID:
May 4 '06: The effort to coordinate businesses with the public sector to help prepare for emergencies is a continual process which has been slow to materialize according to officials who told the Washington Post that more could be done.
During a forum in Washington sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, Edward D. Reiskin, Washington DC's deputy mayor for public safety said community preparedness was "Number 1 on my list of challenges." Reiskin's remarks reflect a similar sentiment around the country as community emergency preparedness coordinators try to fuse relationships between public and private sectors.SecurityInfoWatch.com reported in Utah via Knight Ridder News Services that small businesses in the state are looking toward New Orleans to provide examples of how disasters affect the recovery of communities. Utah Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security Coordinator Renee Murphy said small businesses in the Gulf Coast region "haven't been able to recover quickly because of a lack of continuity planning. ... We want businesses to be prepared in advance, because we will have a disaster here eventually." Part of the problem, according to Reiskin, is a complacency among city officials and the general public because no terror event or natural emergency has happened in the DC area for over four years. Additionally, a general under-representation of the private sector in safety planning and preparedness hampers coordination and communication. "Often when we do our planning," Reiskin told the Post, "we have a room full of government people and one seat for the private sector." Utah Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert similarly said that business should play a larger role in emergency preparedness because the "business community is the first to be hit when disaster strikes. ... People will go to the grocery store and other businesses first, and there could be a lot of chaos," if no coordinated emergency effort is in place. "When something happens," Herbert said, "we think the cavalry is going to rush in and save us. ... We need to ask what can we do for ourselves."
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