September 11, 2007 - Going Forward Prepared
Today is a somber day. Many people remember it all too well through personal experiences. Others watched transfixed to their TV's as the events unfolded and the truths were revealed. Secretary Chertoff said yesterday that "we are safer, but not yet safe." In a sense, we will likely never be safe from the threats posed by this new terrorism. The question is how to improve our chances.
My associate Steve Schippert earlier today wrote his post, After 9/11 - The Citizen Role. He ended with this:
We, like you, are simply citizens. We see this as our role, our part, our contribution as “alert and well-motivated individual citizens.” In “Supporting Security by Enhancing Awareness,” each day we wake and pursue information and understanding, challenging ourselves, “If not you, then who?” Because in the current conflict that history will note defines this generation, a little awareness goes a long way. Sharing it here seems only natural. We hope you find value in the content provided on these pages.
It is to that statement that I wish to add a few points that were raised in a meeting I attended just this morning. The presentation was made by our local Department of Homeland Security, Protective Security Advisor.
The DHS PSA is an individual or group of individuals assigned to regions across the country to assist local efforts to protect critical assets and provide a local perspective to the national risk picture.
While this is not the updated version discussed this morning, it is substantially what was presented. Some of the key elements are very relevant, and go to support what Steven wrote. The message that our PSA conveyed was that every citizen has a role to play in homeland security, especially in the creation of community based partnerships:
Protective Security Advisors will:
• Facilitate and coordinate vulnerability assessments of local Critical Infrastructure/Key Resources
• Provide reach-back capability to the Department of Homeland Security and other Federal government resources
• Serve as advisors regarding local infrastructure during activation of the National Response Plan
• Provide local context and expertise to the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that community resources are used effectively• Work in state and local Emergency Operations Centers to provide expertise and support to the IP Infrastructure Liaison Cell, who supports the Principal Federal Official and Federal Coordinating Officer responsible for domestic incident management
One final piece and then I leave it to readers to go over the complete presentation. What is the role of a citizen in supporting homeland security?
• Prepare yourself, your family, your neighborhood, your schools
• Learn the local emergency plans for your school and community
- Local emergency management exercises
- School emergency drills
- Hurricane evacuation plans
• Educate yourself and your family
• Know your neighborhood
- Electrical Substations
- Underground Pipelines
• Know What is Normal --
Sounds a bit odd? But knowing what is normal, and recognizing when something doesn't look right is important.
The message remains clear that now more than ever, every citizen has the duty to remain vigilant.