National Blueprint Summit in Charleston focuses on community involvement
| 12.01.2006 | 06:13:40 | Views: 6584 | ID:
December 1 '06: On Thursday, November 30, about 250 local government officials, first responders, medical response personnel, fire and law enforcement officials and members of academia gathered in Charleston, South Carolina's Gaillard Auditorium to discuss ways to develop a National Blueprint of best practices and private public partnerships. The NCORP Advisory Council was a joint-hosted event including members of the City of Charleston, Charleston County Emergency Preparedness, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The State in Charleston reported during the summit that the National Blueprint Best Practice Award was given to Charleston Mayor Joe Riley for his contribution and cooperation in working to develop the National Blueprint.The goal of the summit was to bring the minds and efforts of state, regional and local responders, community and government officials and the law enforcement community into a forum where best practices and partnerships could be explored to help prepare communities for a disaster. Much of the focus was on local resiliency. In the words of NCORP Chairman Jim Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia, "There is no they, we are they." Mayor Riley added to Gilmore's message of community preparedness and involvement: "It's everyone's responsibility. ... No one's off the hook. This city understands the importance of this work and the importance of the local government accepting its responsibility." Some of the ideas discussed during the summit included: Increased port security through real-time information-sharing and better information-sharing of ship manifests and cargoes; upgraded hospital equipment and coordination of hospital staff; and defining community needs and response abilities and hurdles. Sharing information in real-time between multiple levels of government is essential, officials have said. In Charleston, the Post and Courier reported that Project Seahawk is a program "that brings together federal, state and local agencies to improve security at the Port of Charleston and in Charleston Harbor." Project Seahawk was another collaborative initiative discussed at the Summit. A local ABC Affiliate quoted Capt. John Cameron USCG who attended the event: "9/11 and Hurricane Katrina are reason enough for port cities to take a hard look at cargo security and preparedness. ... To be able to share information everyday with current information, information that's gathered at the highest level of our intelligence can do is just a very powerful resource." The Associated Press reported Cameron saying Project Seahawk allows officials "to connect the dots. ... The level of assessment that happens every day here is far superior that I could do with my own resources on a daily basis."
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