Every year, Public and Private Business, Inc. (PPBI) honors an individual, a corporation, or a public entity by presenting them with the PPBI Best Practices Award. The award recognizes those that exemplify superior leadership in furthering the understanding and development of the relationship between the public and private sectors in planning, practices, or response to a critical incident. Additionally, the recipient must have exhibited the positive aspects of partnerships that work.
This year’s recipient is Brit Weber representing Michigan State University’s School of Criminal Justice for developing the Critical Incident Protocol (CIP) – Community Facilitation Program. Weber is the program director for the CIP-Community Facilitation Program. The program is funded under a grant awarded by the Training & Exercise Integration/Training Operations, National Integration Center, National Preparedness Directorate, Federal Emergency Management Agency, US Department of Homeland Security.
PPBI recognized Weber for:
- Creating a public and private sector understanding of common goals to protect lives and property while sustaining continuity of community life,
- Encouraging public and private sector entities that already engage in the assessment and planning process to form cooperative partnerships,
- Assisting those businesses, public agencies, and communities that lack emergency planning experience in the development of a joint emergency planning process, and
- Developing an understanding of mutual and respective goals and understanding of how public and private resources can compliment and support each other.
There are many sources of information to develop community-based public/private partnerships for critical incident protocols on the Web such as, www.cip.msu.edu or http://www.fema.gov/. However, Weber and other public/private partnership leaders recognize that the two key common elements to the success of these programs are a strong sense of vision and leadership.
A testament to Weber’s leadership are some examples of public/private partnerships in action. The CIP program has been initiated in 45 communities in 23 states with over 3,800 participants. The following are some best practices and actions put in place as a result of the CIP program:
Food manufacturer/water to city - In a city with a population of 121,000, the water department director briefed everyone on the status of the infrastructure. One key issue that emerged was that the city needed to replace an antiquated main water transmission line supplying the city. If it failed, the department suspected that the city would be without water for two to three days. A representative of an international food manufacturing company attending the meeting advised members that they could supply up to two days of bottled water to emergency responders and workers from public-private organizations.
Corporate data center and fire response – A county of 225,000 is the headquarters for an international transportation corporation. The company’s data center is integral to the business’s worldwide operations, logistics, and communications. The data center, located at the end of one of the corporate buildings, is designed with extra fireproof, reinforced walls. Through planning discussions with first responder agencies, they developed an agreement in case of a fire or other emergency at the center.
The first responder agencies and the corporation will use the unified command process. Equally, due to the data center’s extra reinforced fireproof walls, the employees in the center would have a minimum of two to three hours of protection in case the attached facility were to burn down, thus allowing the employees to transfer all integrating technological operations to a back-up location. The agreement between the corporation and first responder agencies allows for the employees to remain in the data center for the maximum period of time, if needed, (assuming there are no critical life-safety issues), while fire fighters battle a fire.
Sadly, Weber recently notified readers of the CIP Update newsletter and other stakeholders that funding for the CIP program is being discontinued. The program and staff will be disbanded around August 2009. Until then, the staff is still available and Weber is seeking alternate funding from other sources to continue the program.
As you can see, the communication and working relationships developed during public/private training and exercise programs have demonstrable value improving the resilience of the communities they serve.
If you are interested in developing a community incident protocol for public/private partnerships please e-mail Weber at email@example.com or contact PPBI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Ziev, MBCP, MBCI is the principal of Business Continuity Professionals. He has more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing business continuity and technology disaster recovery programs for organizations of all sizes. He has demonstrated the value proposition of business continuity by integrating it into the culture and business processes of organizations. His process orientation and “first things first” philosophy have helped practitioners and organizations build sustainable business continuity programs. He is currently a member of the DRJ editorial advisory board and is also a member of the PPBI board of directors where he serves as the training committee chairman.