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National Task Force on Community Preparedness and Response announces formation of the Advisory Committee

RS | 09.27.2005 | 10:03:128246 |
The National Task Force on Community Preparedness and Response has formed the Advisory Committee (register), which will held its formation meeting in Washington, DC on November 16, 2005, and is scheduled to meet for the Northeast regional hearing in Boston on March 31, 2006.

The Advisory Committee is comprised of corporate, community, academic, law enforcement, fire & rescue, medical and EMS representatives as well as state and local government leaders from across the United States.

The mission of the Advisory Committee is to advise the Task Force on how best to create a plan - or template - for America’s local government and community leaders that shows them how to network their community’s resources to strengthen Homeland Security in order to make our citizens safer.

As seen with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, government will always need local partners to respond adequately to a crisis that involves the potential of mass casualty and destruction -- whether triggered by terrorists or nature. There is no government big enough, nor enough money, to protect everyone, every place, every time. It is up to citizens to create a national plan that helps leaders at all levels learn how to marshal community resources to prepare for threat, and how to make the difficult decision during crisis.

The Gilmore Commission  concluded that the citizens and community leaders from all sectors needed to take a central role as partners with the state and federal government if America were to be truly prepared and ready to respond and recover.

The key is to involve citizens, businesses, religious, academic and community leaders at the local level to teach them the skills needed to make the right decision during crisis, and help them form a plan to prepare and respond effectively in times of crisis is critical.

During Hurricans Katrina and Rita, there were a great many examples of how citizens, corporations, their employees and community organizations stepped in during and after the storms. They provided trucks with clean water, power generators, blankets, food and vital supplies. They provided shelters and volunteers, search and rescue and comfort. Without this, many more people would have died and suffered.

This region-wide volunteer response serves in part as the model for how a community can respond to a disaster. For instance, corporations can provide not only expertise and material, but also work with the local responders to train employees about what to do and how to be an active part of the community response plan. Other companies can provide transportation to assist with an evacuation, or medical supplies, or communications equipment -- whatever is needed.

And, of course, the great resource of America’s corporations are employees, who can be trained to help the Red Cross, or become a trained volunteer to support community medical and first responders in the event of an attack or a natural disaster.

Corporations are tremendous organizing vehicles for keeping America safer. If they are connected to their community responders through a communications and training network, it can multiply the response capability of a community. So are churches, synagogues and places of worship, as are local community organizations – ready and trained to respond at a moment’s notice when our communities come under terrorist attack or when calamity strikes.

The purpose of this Advisory Committee is to begin the process of developing such a template – so that corporations, local community organizations and citizens have a plan they can follow to develop an integrated, inclusive community-wide program , so that all the citizens will understand exactly what their specific roles are in how to prepare and how to respond.

The National Task Force on Community Preparedness and Response has been commissioned by NCORP to immediately help communities prepare for terrorist threats and incidents of mass casualty and destruction. The Task Force continues the Gilmore Commission recommendation that the private sector and citizens must play a critical role in community preparedness and response to ensure that America’s homeland will be prepared and capable to respond. The members of the Task Force will represent key community sectors essential to overall national preparedness and response.