Baltimore Urban Area Homeland Security Working Group (UAWG)
CHHS Comes on Board to Increase Regional Emergency Preparedness and Collaboration
In 2007, the UAWG requested the expertise of CHHS to assist in the development of regional applications for new funding, to develop and maintain regional strategic security plans and assessments, and to provide other regional project management and support as required.
The success of this original working relationship has prompted the UAWG to request the expansion of the services and support the Center provides to the Working Group to two full-time and two part-time CHHS staff members.
Today, the Baltimore Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) relies on the contractual assistance of the Center to manage all aspects of the UASI program for the city of Baltimore and the other six member jurisdictions. These duties include fiscal monitoring of grant funds as well as programmatic elements of the more than 100 separate security projects underway in the region for all open fiscal years of homeland security grant cycles.
The Law and Policy Analysts coordinate and facilitate the monthly meetings of 17 separate subject matter subcommittees. These subcommittees provide the forum at the ‘on the ground level’ to discuss and debate proposed future projects to enhance regional preparedness, as well as monitor the progress of existing projects. These functions are necessary to keep the leadership of the UASI at the executive level appraised of ongoing security activities so that planning gaps can be assessed, identified, and filled.
The staff is also the driving force behind constant analysis of current Department of Homeland Security policy and the exploration of effecting changes to that policy where a benefit to the region has been identified. An example of these ongoing efforts is the drafting and submission of a proposal to allow the region to participate in the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP). The SLEP enables holders of certain prophylactic pharmaceuticals to maintain their cache of drugs beyond the FDA recommended expiration dates, but before the useful life of the prophy diminishes. Policy Analysts have been directly involved in presenting this concept to the UASI conference, drafting a letter to be signed by all member jurisdiction chief executives to be sent to the Maryland delegation, and advocating the concept in other arenas.
Created in 2003 to coordinate emergency preparedness activities in the Baltimore region, the Urban Area Work Group (UAWG) includes committees of fire, police, emergency medical services and public works personnel from BMC’s member jurisdictions plus the City of Annapolis.