Staying connected to the right partners can make a big difference when you’re trying to keep your business operating after a disaster, or you want to prepare your employees and customers for an emergency. In 2015, FEMA Region III created the Regional Business Emergency Operations Center to formally enhance two-way communication and engagement with the private sector throughout the disaster lifecycle, including pre-disaster preparedness, disaster response, and post-disaster recovery. Membership in the RBEOC is virtual, with coordination provided by the FEMA Region III Private Sector Liaison. Participation is free, voluntary and open to all members of the private and public sectors. By becoming a member, you’ll join our network of trusted partners and will receive regular updates, event invitations, and preparedness resources from us. We also invite you to share your priorities and concerns, provide feedback on our plans and products, partner on preparedness campaigns and much more with us. Check out our RBEOC Overview document to learn more.
Joining the RBEOC is free and easy. By becoming a member, you’ll join our network of trusted private sector partners and will ensure that you receive regular updates and event invitations from us. Just fill out the Membership Agreement and return to Melissa Wiehenstroer, FEMA Region III’s Private Sector Liaison at Melissa.Wiehenstroer@fema.dhs.gov.
Lackawanna Ready Business Workshop: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lackawanna-ready-business-workshop-tickets-64581872118?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
Private Sector Readiness Day 2019: Our Best One Yet!
By Dalton Breedlove, FEMA Corps Summit 2 member
How can we increase the private sector’s participation in long-term community recovery? What are their capabilities and needs following a disaster? These kinds of questions, and many more, were addressed at FEMA Region III’s 2019 Private Sector Readiness Day, held at our office in Philadelphia on April 24th. There mentions of cats, Jeep waves, and corn nuts. But mostly there were meaningful dialogue and inspiring collaboration.
Private Sector Readiness Day is annual opportunity for businesses within Region 3 to come together with emergency managers to talk about topics that not only affect their businesses but also affect their employees. The overall goal of Private Sector Readiness Day is to increase awareness in the business community of how disasters could possibly affect their operations. More than 70 attendees participated in the workshop, and hearing from businesses from a diverse range of industries about their priorities, concerns and capabilities in a disaster was beneficial to everyone. While some had entire businesses emergency plans drawn out and were ready, others were underprepared. Having conversations like this throughout the year will hopefully encourage businesses to take a closer look at their plans and make connections with emergency managers and with other businesses in their community so they can support one another during and after a disaster.
To facilitate these connections with emergency managers, this year was the first time we invited our state partners to present on their private sector engagement programs. Allegra Tartaglia and Molly Dougherty from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency respectively gave presentations on how they are currently engaging with private sector partners in their states and the goals for their programs moving forward. Representatives from the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Monroe County Emergency Management Agency and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management also were present and available to speak with businesses in their jurisdictions and contribute their perspective to our discussions.
The opportunity to learn from state and federal emergency management agencies is invaluable to the businesses participating in the event. Conversely emergency management agencies benefit from the day by hearing what support businesses need to manage before, during, and after the storm. One proactive way to stay informed is to join FEMA’s Regional Business Emergency Operations Center (RBEOC). The RBEOC produces emails on a monthly/semi-monthly basis to share events, classes, resources, engagement opportunities, updates and preparedness ideas with our members. The information received through the RBEOC will help any business, regardless of size, develop a plan to manage a disaster and get back to normal after a storm has passed.
And if you are still curious about corn nuts, you should reach out to learn more.
Do you know who to contact on a gray sky day?
By Melissa Wiehenstroer, Private Sector Liaison, FEMA Region III
As published by Continuity Insights on June 19, 2019
Picture this: you work for a grocery store chain and you get a call from one of your suppliers. They tell you that access is restricted on a road they need to drive on to restock your stores in an area that was affected by a major storm. Do you know who you would call for help?
Even if you don’t work for a grocery store, knowing who to contact in a disaster could be crucial to the continuity of your business or for getting the information you need to make decisions. In this situation, alerting an emergency manager to the issue could get your supplier permission to reenter, not only helping your business but also the residents of the community who rely on your stores for food.
So how do you connect with emergency managers? It’s easy to start:
- Check the websites of your county and state emergency management agencies for contact information and reach out with a simple phone call or email. Increasingly, local and state emergency management agencies have dedicated liaisons to the private sector to assist businesses with their inquiries, share information, and field offers of assistance.
- Reach out to your regional FEMA office to make a contact at the federal level. FEMA has ten regional offices across the country and each office has a Private Sector Liaison. Find the geographic coverage and contact information for each FEMA regional office at https://www.fema.gov/fema-regional-contacts.
- Once you have the contacts, participate in preparedness events hosted by these agencies to learn more about how to put your new relationship to work. At FEMA Region III, we recently hosted our annual Private Sector Readiness Day at our office in Philadelphia, PA to bring together businesses and emergency managers for a free one-day event to network and collaborate. In addition to working through an emergency scenario together, we included presentations from our state partners and the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS CISA) so participants could learn more about their private sector engagement programs.
Having contacts at every level of government means that you always have someone to reach out to for support before, during and after disasters. Emergency managers are eager to hear from you too- the more we know about what your concerns and capabilities are during an incident, the better we can tailor our plans and response efforts to the needs of a community. So take this time now on blue sky days to build your contacts so you have a trusted partner to rely on when the sky turns gray.
Private Sector Liaison
FEMA Region III
RBEOC Membership Agreement: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/128254
Supply Chain Resilience Guide: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/178701
How to Do Business With FEMA: https://www.fema.gov/industry-liaison-program
FEMA’s Small Business Program: https://www.fema.gov/small-business-program
FEMA’s NBEOC: https://www.fema.gov/nbeoc
Ready Resources for Businesses: https://www.ready.gov/business
Business Emergency Preparedness Plan Template: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1388778800620-c5bc0e6f051a700b75a691de704d8ae5/Business_SamplePlan_2014.pdf
FEMA Flood Map Service Center: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search