ReadyAmerica Homeland InitiativeEngaging the Private and Community Sectors
Crisis Response OfficerA New Corporate Position in Local Preparedness and Response
Recent disasters illustrate the important role of the private sector in supporting response and recovery efforts. Many public sector agencies depended on the logistics and resource capabilities of private sector contractors to deliver, manage and maintain critical communications, warehouse and materiel services. These disasters also underscore an additional reality: crisis recovery during the first 72 hours depends upon the degree of preparedness and first response capability of the immediate and surrounding communities. If a local jurisdiction lacks adequate materiel, sufficient numbers of personnel and effective administration of resources, professionals and volunteers, the chances of a quick community recovery can fade.
Business continuity and community continuity are integral to each other.
Local business must play an important role in community preparedness and response. In addition to the civic responsibility and good Samaritan contributions that underpin private sector contributions to preparedness and response, local commercial vitality after a crisis is determined in part by the same forces and consequences that affect community recovery after crisis.
Crisis Response Officer
Every local business should appoint an employee to a new position in every facility called the crisis response officer (CRO), to act as liaison from the facility to the local public responder/law/medical sectors – and function as a partner to help plan and train their employees for community crisis.
The CRO serves three primary functions: 1) act as the key liaison between the corporation and the surrounding jurisdiction leadership for planning, response and continuity; 2) establish a direct link to responder sector leaders to facilitate training, preparedness and response planning; and 3) serve as the task officer to help employees and their families prepare, respond and recover from crisis.
Preparation and synchronized response can keep a humanitarian recovery from devolving into a law enforcement crisis.
The CRO can identify corporate resources and employees that can be assets to the community during threat or crisis. Because there is a shared interest in community recovery, this can result not only in a more robust response, but a quicker recovery, with businesses and community organizations working together to prepare, respond and recover.
In addition to the individual role, a national organization of CROs has been formed called the Corporate Crisis Response Officers Association (CCROA) to develop pilot projects that demonstrate practical initiatives that overcome legal, financial and sector barriers to participation.
The benefits to the local community are two-fold: 1) encouraging collaboration between municipalities and their local employers and businesses to establish a new standard of participation protected in part by new laws at the local and state leve; and 2) by removing barriers to private sector involvement in preparedness and crisis that could augment and magnify the local community capability (and make it more adaptive and responsive) by magnitudes far greater than possible through a public-sector tax-funded system.
ReadyCorpsSeptember 11, 2001 has not only changed the way communities view their preparation and response to crisis, but also redefined the role that citizens and corporations have in helping their communities prepare for and respond to threat and crisis. Though local, state and federal governments are responsible at one level or another, there just are not enough resources to protect all communities and property at all times, nor to respond equally or quickly. The threat and the country are too open and large.
The National Council on Readiness and Preparedness has formed ReadyCorps to bring corporations together with communities, responders and governments to increase community surge capacity during incidents of mass casualty or destruction. ReadyCorps members will establish a corporate Crisis Response Officer (CRO) for each corporate facility, to serve as a contact point between responders and corporations to share information and assets, create preparedness response strategies and generally develop simple but effective ways to train and prepare employees for threat or crisis as resources to the responder sector during community response. Read more about ReadyCorps.
GuardianCorps - local responders who serve as the adjunct professors through the community, vocational and related colleges and universities to train the Crisis Response Officers and their employees, creating a feeder program for local, state and federal programs such as Citizen Corps, CERT and others.
ResponderCorps - a standing reserve under the state(s) defense forces consisting of trained all-hazard responder volunteers, deployable by governors through regional mutual assistance pacts to establish immediate communication/coordination and provide surge management of volunteers and private sector materiel using national standards during the immediate hours of a crisis. They provide the military precision and interoperability without the federal issue of combat troops, yet are under the adjutant general of the state in which the crisis occurs, working through the local incident commander and with jurisdiction and political leadership to back-up and multiply the local capability while waiting for federal or state response support.