Saturday, June 26, 2010

Community Preparedness Update

Well, I blew it earlier this week when I explained a recent change to the web page of the Private Sector Office. You might remember that I explained that the recent change to that page was the addition of “a link to sign up for notifications” when that page changed. Well that was certainly true for the change to the Private Sector Resources Catalog web page, but the new link on the Private Sector Office page was something else entirely. That link was to sign up for “Community Preparedness Updates”. I received my first weekly update by email on Thursday. This brief email newsletter looked at a variety of activities undertaken by DHS and the Administration that could affect private sector preparedness. The topics covered in this first newsletter were:
• Energy Efficiency • Intellectual Property (IPR) Enforcement • National Values, National Security • PS-Prep • Administration Continues to Coordinate Closely with State and Local Partners on BP Oil Spill Response
Each topic receives a brief discussion in the newsletter with embedded links to more information. For example the ‘PS-Prep’ section explains that the Department of Homeland Security announced the standards that would be used for the new voluntary accreditation and certification program for private sector organization preparedness planning. It provided links to the standards, the FEMA preparedness web site, as well as a preparedness web page targeted at families. I have been critical of the Open Government efforts of the Department (they still are not actively pushing their public participation web site), but this is a very well intentioned effort in brining information about what the government is doing directly to the public. Unfortunately, if they don’t do more to publicize their efforts, this will become just another show piece that accomplishes nothing. The Department has to learn that you can’t just build it and expect the public to come; that only happens in corn fields. I certainly think that this email notification is worth while and I am glad that I signed up for it, even if I didn’t know what I was getting at the time. I think that most of the readers of this blog would also find this a valuable information resource.

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