NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leaders of the region met to identify how their best practices can help address gaps in America's domestic response capability during the first 72 hours of a national or large-scale crisis.
Representing business, military, law enforcement, first response, government, ports and non-profit organizations, the leaders focused on developing a preparedness and response template for America's strategic military base and port communities that harnesses the assets and capabilities of the private and community sectors to augment the military, port and public sector response capacities during crisis.
Hosted by the Port of New Orleans and the ReadyCommunities Partnership (RCP), the symposium attendees represented a cross-section of those with insights, lessons and recommendations from their experiences with Katrina and other disasters.
"America's resiliency depends upon port communities like Greater New Orleans" said Gary LaGrange, Port of New Orleans president and CEO. "Every day the port is closed by crisis, the community and country lose over $250 million a day, which grows exponentially over time."
RCP national director Rosalie J. Wyatt agreed, stating that "Strategic military base and port communities are the backbone of America's resiliency – their local first response capability has to be 100% during the first 72 hours of a large-scale or national crisis to allow state and national governments to focus first on continuity of government. In an era of diminishing budgets, there simply aren't enough government resources to protect everyone, everywhere, all the time."
The objective of the symposium was to identify ways of achieving this maximum capacity, with a special focus on how the Greater New Orleans' culture of collaboration of its corporate and community organizations can be adapted to help care for the vulnerable, special needs, and disabled dependents of law enforcement and first responders to ensure maximum local capacity to military bases and ports during crisis. Port communities represented included Fourchon, Vidalia, Natchez, Plaquemines, Greater Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.
Hon. Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish President, opened the discussion by encouraging leaders to work together and use their own networks of supporters to help harness resources necessary for preparedness and recovery.
LTG Russel L. Honore' (US Army, ret.) provided the keynote address and challenged the participants to be prepared and not underestimate the value of low-tech preparedness. City Council President Jacqueline Brechtel-Clarkson reinforced how the lessons of the past can help chart a course for future disasters. American Red Cross Regional CEO Kay Wilkins discussed the importance of building relationships and exchanging contact information prior to crisis.
The discussion was led by Capt. Philip Schifflin, Deputy Commander of the US Coast Guard Sector New Orleans; LTC Jerry Sneed, New Orleans Deputy Mayor for Public Safety & Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Pointe Coupee Sheriff Beauregard Torres, III; Port Fourchon Harbor Police Chief Jon Callais; Janet Pace, Volunteer Louisiana/Office of the Lieutenant Governor; BG Barry Keeling, National Guard, Cdr. Robert. Pritchard, Naval Air Station JRB New Orleans; and Dan Connole, Germane Systems.
Attendees presenting best practices included ARC's Kay Wilkins; Priority5's Bill Donaldson; Marcie Roth of FEMA's Office of Disability Integration and Coordination; Concordia Parish Industrial and Economic Development's Heather Malone; American Integration Contractors' Craig Noel; Indigo Vision's Paul Smith; Greater Lafourche Port Commission's April Danos; Gulf of Mexico Alliance's Laura Bowie; St. Paul's Homecoming Center's Connie Uddo; LATAN's Jamie Landry Karam; and Advocacy Center's Jeannie Abadie.
RCP National Service and Sacrifice Awards were presented by General Russel L. Honore' which included: "Leadership in Service" to Harbor Police Chief Robert S. Hecker; "Cross-Sector Partnerships" to Joint Task Force 7 (JTF7) Parish Sheriffs Talmadge Bunch of East Feliciana, Mike Cazes of W. Baton Rouge, Austin Daniel of West Feliciana, Sid Gautreaux of East Baton Rouge, Brett Stassi, Sr. of Iberville , Jeff Wiley of Ascension, and Bud Torres of Pointe Coupee; "Cross-Sector Collaboration" to the New Orleans Port Coordination Team, represented by over two dozen designees from NOAA, CBP, USACE, US Maritime Administration and other organizations; "Community Engagement" to the Louisiana Emergency Disability and Aging Coalition (EMDAC) represented by over 18 organizations and accepted by Amy Dawson, Office of the Governor, Jamie Karam, LATAN, Jeanne Abadie, Advocacy Center, among others; and "Service in Community" to the Mississippi DOT Law Enforcement accepted by Mr. Willie Huff.
New Orleans Deputy Mayor LTC Jerry Sneed and Fire Chief Tim McConnell accepted the "Service in Community" award on behalf of the New Orleans Police, EMS and Fire Departments which was co-presented by Gary LaGrange and Port of New Orleans Commissioner Robert Barkerding, Jr.
Capt. Frank Paskewich (USCG, ret.), and US Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Commander, Capt. Peter Gautier, represented by Capt. Philip Schifflin, accepted the "Spirit in Duty" award.
Colors were presented by the USCG Sector New Orleans Color Guard and the National Anthem was sung by NOFD Firefighter Quinten Spears. Sponsors for the awards included Sprint, ESRI, Priority5, Germane Systems, Indigo Vision, AIC, and the Community Institute for Preparedness, Response and Recovery.
The symposium planning committee included Paul Matthews and Stacie Ordoyne of the Port of New Orleans; Commander Rebecca Ore, USCG Sector New Orleans; James Murphy, US Maritime Administration; and Jacques Morial, Enterprise Strategies.
RCP Advisory Board Chairman Hon. Asa Hutchinson and Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La) chair the Military Base and Port Community Resiliency Initiative, which is co-chaired by Gov. Jim Geringer of ESRI and Tanya Lin Jones, Sprint Emergency Response Team Manager. The initiative helps America's strategic military base/port community leadership identify and share their best practices that increase national resiliency during the first 72 hours of a large scale disaster by reinforcing local capability. The template is designed to help identify local critical infrastructure and supply chains, and train local Crisis Response Officers (CROs) from the private and community sectors to help augment the military, law enforcement and first responder capacity.
RCP is a project of the Corporate Crisis Response Officers Association, (CCROA), and the Community Institute for Preparedness, Response and Recovery (CIPRR), Jeb Carney, Chairman.
Contact: Rosalie J. Wyatt, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Corporate Crisis Response Officers Association