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Spring Journal

Volume 31, Issue 1

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In our disciplines, we all see and use partnerships every day. While researching data for this article I asked a number of my partners about their recent experiences. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll relate to you, some of what they passed on to me; offer some examples of partnerships that matter and tell you about a way that might help you build partnerships that work! So let’s get started.

Earlier this month I opened another trade magazine, Emergency Management (May 2010 Issue). In this periodical, a well-written article by David Raths details some of the cooperative efforts that took place in California during the wildfires of 2007. While it is not unusual for groups to work together, keeping track of the resources available has become an important factor in each of our toolboxes. Raths describes an organization Business Executives for National Security (BENS) which has been working with government entities and the private sector. PPBI applauds their efforts to help bridge the gap in meeting the expectations of each constituency. Raths goes on to detail the resources supplied and who benefitted and offers some hopeful news about how BENS is nurturing these partnerships. What is not to like about their success. I would encourage you to read his article and understand what is working in repeatable circumstances across the country.

Another unique but repeatable example is noted from Fred Luevano in California and the Fallbrook Fire Safe Council as recognized by the North County Fire Protection District in Fallbrook, Calif. The activities noted in a letter from the Fire Marshall Sid Morel to Luevano offered the following on his experiences:

”This outstanding group of volunteers fills a huge public educational gap in terms of Wildland Fire Prevention … programs they have brought or participated include: the development of a community evacuation and preparedness plan that was required by the county in order to receive pre- and post-disaster mitigation monies … homeowner fire gel kits that provide a thermal barrier to the home during a fire … development of the communities evacuation map … instrumental during the evacuation of the whole community, (50,000 people and a hospital) during the Rice fire of October 2007 … brought the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to our district … develop a user-friendly wildfire brochure that identifies proper landscaping measures and construction techniques to increase the homes survivability during a Wildland fire storm … helped to develop and deliver door to door the “Before the Threat” countywide Wildland fire threat campaign…has brought to our fire district is almost $700,000.00 dollars in vegetation abatement grants...their efforts played a huge role in the fact no lives were lost during the Rice Fire of 2007 and ultimately contributed to over 3,000 structures saved. This fire burned more than 9,000 acres and destroyed many home without a single loss of life … I could not imagine trying to do my job without them. My community as well as the whole county is a lot safer as a result of the fire safe councils.”

Luevano is on the PPBI Advisory Board and the immediate past chairman of the board of directors. Fred also brought the local CERT team to assist in the DRJ mock disaster sponsored by PPBI. Some great help from a master at partnering

Across the country an example from networking with others, is a presentation to the Chicago Infragard Chapter (a great partner building experience), was developed by John Jackson of Fusion Risk Management. Jackson has served several terms on the board of directors and advisory board for PPBI and great resource to the industry. Jackson and I had a short discussion on the number and impact groups like those mentioned above can and do have on preparedness. The word is starting to soak into the fabric of our nation -- like the Boy Scouts and the Coast Guard rallies -- we must always “be prepared – Semper Paratus.” During our talk, we agreed, the tide is turning and the local level is picking up the baton from the first responders and in many cases enhancing our national security. I will ask Jackson if we can include his presentation on the PPBI Web site and you can look his detail at www.ppbi.org.

With the above as a premise, we still see and are asked at various venues about the best efforts in building these partnerships. At DRJ’s Fall World in San Diego PPBI will offer a half day course on how the experts do in fact build those relationships that make a difference. The course will be held on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 22, from 1:30- 4:30 p.m. and is titled “Secrets to Building Successful Private/Public Relationships.” This course is to be delivered by the chairman of the PPBI Training Committee David Ziev and a member of the committee and course author Peter Laz.

PPBI will also present an interactive workshop on Sunday Afternoon, Sept. 19 at 1:30 p.m. Attendees will learn to use the Incident Management Plan Maturity Model and Checklist developed by PPBI from the NFPA 1600 standard and industry best practices, to measure the effectiveness on your plans. Exposure to the practical experience of the instructors in addition to recognized industry standards in benefits both the public and private sectors. You will use the checklist to assess your capability to assemble, coordinate, collect and channel the resources required for critical incident management. The tools are free, the simulation authentic and the class is practical, immediately useful and fun! Check the PPBI Web site at www.ppbi.org for details or visit www.drj.com.

Deidrich Towne, CBCP, has more than 39 years experience in information technology committed to infrastructure management, business continuity planning, disaster recovery and incident management in the areas of consulting, business process re-design, project management, project implementation, documentation, exercise design, execution and training. He has transitioned from a business and industry first responder role to assist clients in assessing, designing and implementing recovery solutions for their data centers, networks and mission critical business processes.