Facilitating collaboration

October 6th, 2009

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Even though OMB has recently concluded that FEMA is unable to measure regional collaboration on homeland security, we saw regional collaboration first hand during our COOP for Non-Profits presentation at the Faces of Leadership conference in Charleston, WV. Alexandra Podolny and I were giving a stripped down version of the full COOP course to a small but engaged group of folks that represented non-profit organizations and state agencies in West Virginia. We also had three representatives from local emergency management in two counties in the class.

In addition to the standard COOP elements, part of our presentation focused on the particular challenges that non-profits must deal with when faced with preparing for or responding to an emergency. The class provided very strong discussion and very quickly the emergency managers began making suggestions about how the non-profits could be involved in exercises, or participate in grant applications. I saw many pens scribbling furiously and a very productive dialogue quickly opened up. On our second day, the public/private collaboration loop came full circle as two safety officers from Marathon Oil announced they were attending our course to find out how they can bring more non-profits into their emergency training and exercises.Given that OMB says FEMA has a serious gap under the priority of regional collaboration, I think that helping to facilitate these connections is one of the most important things CHHS does.

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