This is the final post in a series of 5 reports on the recent annual conference of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) held November 1-4 in San Antonio, Texas.
Another highlight of the IAEM Conference that will be of interest to the AWARE community is the need for public/private partnerships (PPP) in emergency management. FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, underscored that large disasters are realistically too much for government to handle alone, and plans should be laid for involvement of private industry to do what they do best in supporting emergency managers in an emergency. He noted that FEMA itself is now teamed with private industry for response to national emergencies. Fugate also urged emergency managers to: be more transparent in their emergency plans; leverage the expertise of private industry in developing plans; and not keep details, such as evacuation routes and shelter locations, a secret from the public under the guise of protecting this information from terrorists.
During the session “Building Collaborations through Public-Private Partnerships”, it was noted that there is a Public/Private Partnership Caucus within IAEM itself, which helps establish best practices and methods for getting relationships started. The presenters made the case that involvement in PPPs present a win-win situation for industry, as well as government, by giving industry exposure to working with government and affording industry the possibility of developing a product or service that could eventually be sold to government. Another advantage of the PPP relationship is the benefit it delivers to the greater community when government and industry work together with restoration efforts after an event. The FEMA Private Sector Division (www.fema.gov/privatesector/) presented part of the session, and noted it has 30 models of successful PPP plans on the Division’s website. One concept becoming popular is setting aside space in the EOC for a Biz EOC, to be populated by private industry leaders when the EOC is activated.
The session takeaway for emergency managers: go to industry, figure out how to help each other, and get these relationships established before the storm.