MIAMI, June 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Local and national military and port community leaders met at the Port of Miami on May 10, 2011, to help improve national resiliency capability by studying how the Miami model of best practices and stakeholders can help fortify strategic community critical infrastructure and improve Atlantic, Gulf Coast and Caribbean connectivity between ports, military bases, private and public sector institutions during a national or large-scale crisis.
"The Port of Miami is right in the center of our hemisphere, the nexus of North and South America, and as the world's busiest cruise port it is a logical link to the Caribbean and to all of the America's for any type of crisis," Port of Miami Director Bill Johnson said. "The Port of Miami played an important role following devastating earthquakes in Haiti and works closely with many partners to ensure we're ready and prepared as best we can be."
Continuing the work of the March 23, 2010 national symposium hosted at the U.S. Senate by Senator Mary Landrieu (LA) and the ReadyCommunities Partnership, participants identified partnerships and best practices developed by the Port of Miami and area shareholders during Hurricane Andrew and other disasters that improve communications within and between port and military base communities, and that help identify, train and connect local institution Crisis Response Officers (CROs) to help the public sector identify gaps, manage and anticipate risk and respond to crises.
"The challenges facing America's strategic port communities are the most complex possible, where police, firefighters, interagency, intergovernmental and international partners play a role," said symposium co-chairman LTG Steven Blum, Johns Hopkins Executive in Residence and former NORTHCOM Deputy Commander and National Guard Bureau Chief. "There's not a person here who doesn't hold a key to the puzzle, a puzzle that isn't solved until we know each other's issues, equities, capacities, capabilities, roles, gaps and who or what can close those gaps."
The Miami May 10th field hearing and pilot meeting is a project of RCP's Military Base & Port Community Resiliency Initiative, spearheaded by Senator Landrieu, Hon. Asa Hutchinson and private sector and community leaders who recognize the importance of leveraging private sector and community assets to improve the resiliency of America's strategic military and port communities during a large scale or national crisis.
Governor Jim Geringer, ESRI Director of Public Policy, said, "We have to pull together. It may be the neighbor who you don't think about much on the one hand, who's the one who pulls you out of the 'snow bank' on the other."
Other leaders who participated at the Miami field hearing and pilot planning discussion included CIPRR's Chairman Jeb Carney; USCG Sector Miami Commander Capt. Christopher Scraba; SOUTHCOM's J9 Director Lisa Samson; AmericasRelief Team's Dr. Teo Babun; National Hurricane Center's Director Bill Reed; Sprint Nextel's Daniel Gillison, National Director Public Safety and Tanya Lin-Jones, Manager Emergency Response Team Operations; Maritime Association of South Carolina's Cory Pharr; and NC4's Government Programs Director Bill Donaldson.
Tanya Lin-Jones said, "Make sure that you identify those private sector partners that can help, and have redundant vendors in case you're not going to have your first available resource."
"My hat's off to Miami-Dade's OEM Director Curt Sommerhoff for his core programs which exemplify the importance of collaborating for the first 72 hours," said Dan Gillison of Sprint Nextel, a leading private sector partner supporting local law enforcement and first responders.
RCP National Director Rosalie J. Wyatt and LTG Blum co-moderated the Miami symposium to identify the best practices and recommendations of subject matter experts representing the American Red Cross, Carnival Cruise Lines, FBI Miami, GDIT, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue, NSU, Seaboard Marine, Wal-Mart Latin America, and Crowley Maritime.
Participants agreed to develop a virtual pilot project to demonstrate the Miami connectivity model by using the secure portal made available by NC4 and to expand the project by including Gulf, Atlantic and Caribbean partner ports.
The ReadyCommunities Partnership is a project of CCROA to develop public/private partnerships that identify and leverage private sector and community organization best practices and assets to augment public sector response capability during the first 72 hours of a national or large-scale crisis.
SOURCE ReadyCommunities Partnership/CCROA