WILLISTON, Vt. – It usually takes a disaster like Tropical Storm Irene – which knocked out roads, electricity, water, and communications – to remind us how important our infrastructure is to our communities and our way of life.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging Vermonters to become more aware of critical infrastructure and the need to protect it from disasters or other hazards.
President Barack Obama has declared November Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, and officials say disasters like Irene and this year’s flooding events demonstrate the importance of expanding and reinforcing critical infrastructure security and resilience.
“The memory of Irene is still strong in Vermont,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mark Landry, the head of FEMA’s Vermont operations. “Now is a good time to think about how important our transportation, communication, and utility infrastructure is and what we can do to protect it.”
Critical infrastructure is the systems that form the backbone of America’s national and economic security, including the electric grid, communications structures, transportation systems, and utilities like water and sewer, as well as the cyber-security of these systems.
“In this day and age, protecting critical infrastructure means more than safeguarding electric substations or bridges,” said Ross Nagy, Deputy Director of the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “It also means ensuring that the control systems for these facilities are safe from cyber-attack or human error that could disrupt crucial networks.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security – FEMA’s parent agency – urges all Americans to do their part in ensuring critical infrastructure security and resilience by doing the following:
- Learn about steps you can take to enhance security and resilience in your businesses and communities and how to handle certain events.
- Make a plan with your families to keep your loved ones safe.
- If you run a business, make a plan to keep your employees and community safe and enhance your ability to recover operations quickly. If you are an employee, ask your management whether there are plans in place and get a copy.
- Report suspicious activity.
To learn more visit: http://www.dhs.gov/critical-infrastructure
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.