Governor's Press Conference Announcing BENS MOU Oct. 3, 2008

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Comment by Peter Ohtaki on May 12, 2009 at 5:58pm
From Governor's Press Conference on Oct. 3, 2008:

Governor Schwarzenegger Highlights Efforts to Boost State’s Emergency Response Capabilities
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today joined with emergency responders, volunteers and private industry partners to highlight his administration's recent actions to strengthen the state's ability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters. At today's event in San Diego, the Governor showcased four memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the private sector that officially make them key partners in the state's disaster response system, and he discussed how recently signed legislation will enhance our emergency response capabilities.

"With these agreements, California is better prepared than ever before for disasters, which is important especially now, at the start of Santa Ana wind season in Southern California," Governor Schwarzenegger said. "We have the world's best firefighters, police and first responders, but we all know government cannot do it all-making these kinds of public-private partnerships exactly what California needs. I am so pleased that these private sector partners will be on call 24-7 for the people of California next time an emergency strikes."

Acknowledging the important role that the private sector plays in helping California respond and recover from emergencies, the Governor in 2006 issued Executive Order S-04-06, which called on the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) to make the private sector part of the state's disaster response system.

As part of its implementation, OES has been actively forming partnerships with private industry. To date, OES has signed MOUs with the following private sector partners: Business Executives for National Security, the California Grocer's Association, the California Utilities Emergency Association and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

These MOUs will allow for more targeted and efficient delivery of goods and services by formalizing 24-hour contacts with the private sector. Just like we have 24-hour access to our governmental partners, the state now has well-established personal relationships with emergency management professionals in the private sector that we can call on 365 days per year. These partners will also be allowed into the State Operations Center during a disaster to staff a "Business Operations Center," which is currently being established by OES. Having the private sector side-by-side with state and federal emergency management personnel will expedite response activities and maximize resources.

Examples of how these MOUs will benefit Californians include:
* Restoring power - the California Utilities Emergency Association coordinates the repair of power, water and other utilities via its affiliate businesses, which is critical during an emergency to restoring a community back to normal.
* Providing food and water - the California Grocer's Association can access their network of members to provide food, water and other provisions to emergency responders and evacuation centers.
* Access to supplies - Wal-Mart has access to goods and supplies throughout the country and has a sophisticated logistics system to ensure that necessary supplies get to where they are needed in the shortest time-frame possible.
* Access to emergency professionals - the Business Executives for National Security have a host of professional emergency managers that can aid in immediate response activities and long-term recovery efforts.

As part of the Governor's efforts to streamline the state's emergency response capabilities, he recently signed AB 38 by Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara), which will combine OES and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security (OHS) into a new cabinet-level California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA). The bill gives the merged agency the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating emergency prepared

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