Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

D.C. Area Forms Pact for Emergency Preparedness: Agreement a Model for Regional Cooperation for Hometown Security

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

D.C. Area Forms Pact for Emergency Preparedness: Agreement a Model for Regional Cooperation for Hometown Security

Article excerpt

Regional cooperation for homeland security became an official reality last week as city and state leaders from the Washington, D.C., region agreed on an eight-point action plan promising to work together to improve emergency preparedness.

The document, the first of its kind, could serve as a blueprint for other major cities.

Governors Parris N. Glendening (D-Md.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams met with Tom Ridge, director of the White House Office of Homeland Security, at Fort Lesley J. McNair for the National Capital Region Summit on Homeland Security. The summit was held to complete steps for regional cooperation from federal, regional, state and local governments in homeland security development.

"Coordination doesn't happen automatically," Ridge said. "It takes preparation and teamwork."

"This effort involves a cast of thousands," added Williams.

Williams, Glendening and Warner signed a joint statement at the summit that outlined eight commitments for working together to strengthen homeland security. They are:

* Working together to develop a coordinated process in decision-making for significant incidents or emergency situations, including methods for coordinating between operational entities and senior decision-makers in local and state governments, the federal government and the private sector.

* The United States Attorneys for the judicial districts within the region will work with the FBI to enhance coordination and information sharing through their respective anti-terrorism task forces and joint terrorism task forces.

* Working in partnership with the private sector to identify and set protection priorities and guidelines for infrastructure assets and services in the region.

* Working in partnership to define and develop a common set of emergency protective measures to protect the health and safety of the public in the event of a major emergency. Such measures will include standardized emergency protection guides, protocols and procedures; public education on when to use these measures; and coordinated pharmaceutical distribution plans across jurisdictions.

* Utilizing the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and pursuing the resolution of existing responsibility, reimbursement and liability issues related to mutual aid agreements; explore ways to analyze existing agreements as well as the need for additional agreements; explore agreements to support mutual aid response between local governments across state boundaries; utilize consistent and statutory authorization for mutual aid response between local governments across state boundaries; examine the development of mutual aid agreements between federal agencies and communities; and explore methods for enhancing the private sectors mutual aid support. …

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