Private Sector Advisory Committees

“During the response to a crisis is NOT the time to be exchanging business cards”

Businesses play a critical role in disaster response and recovery. Not only are our business communities responsible for much of the country’s critical infrastructure such as electricity, water, fuel, and communications; but they also provide daily necessities such as food and clothing. In the wake of a disaster, these resources and capabilities available in the private sector will be critical in community recovery. In order to harness this resource while also increasing its resiliency, government and private sector emergency managers must come together. The Private Sector Advisory Committees (PSACs) were developed as a platform for local business leaders and government emergency responders to effectively leverage private sector capabilities and resources to benefit disaster response.

 As a part of a Private Sector Advisory Committee, participants from local business communities collaborate with and strategically advise government emergency management personnel. At the same time, private sector participants learn from their public sector partners and modify their own emergency response procedures accordingly. Together, they provide a private sector voice in planning for emergency response and recovery. PSAC participants generally meet 4 – 6 times per year in order to keep each other updated on current events and activities. In addition, the partners identify and discuss gaps in the private sector response structure and develop projects to address these gaps as well as support government effortf in community emergency response and recovery. By incorporating both groups in the project planning and execution, they can take into account the concerns, resources, and priorities of both sectors as well as the community that they belong to and support.

In 2014 as a part of the Bay Area Public Private Partnership Resiliency Initiative (BAPPPRI) with support from the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), the California Resiliency Alliance (CRA) facilitated the development of Private Sector Advisory Committees in four Bay Area jurisdictions – San Jose and Santa Clara County (South Bay), San Mateo County, and Oakland. The CRA helped to establish these advisory committees to improve community recovery from disruptions by better coordinating cross-sector planning before an event and activities during response and recovery. With CRA facilitation, the PSACs are working on multiple initiatives to help their communities. Current examples underway are:

  • Business Emergency Response Teams (BERTS): San Mateo and Santa Clara County businesses host Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for their employees that includes company-specific information. Program graduates form a team at their place of business and can also join teams in their home jurisdictions.
  • Community Business Recovery Toolkit: Based on an existing program in the coastal areas of San Mateo County, CA, the recovery toolkit utilizes existing relationships held by the local Chambers of Commerce and other community business groups. The toolkit can include a roster of local businesses and the resources that they may have available to assist emergency response and recovery as well as a platform for local businesses to meet and work collaboratively with local emergency managers, responders, and assistance agencies.
  • Small and Medium Sized Business Disaster Preparedness Webinars: The CRA and San Mateo PSAC are currently creating numerous webinars to help educate small and mid-sized businesses on better business practices and how they intersect with disaster preparedness. With topics ranging from customer relations management software to insurance to preparing a rented / leased space, these webinars are meant to be easily accessed and improve day-to-day business while also better preparing businesses for disasters.

Interested in starting a PSAC in your jurisdiction? Follow the link to learn about setting up your own Public-Private Partnership. and the CRA will be happy to help, just contact us at


How You Can Help:

As part of its ongoing mission, the CRA is committed to supporting and growing these strategic and operational partnerships to benefit disaster recovery. You can help us with these important initiatives in a number of ways:

  • Start or join a Private Sector Advisory Committee in your jurisdiction – Ask us how!
  • Volunteer to become a Private Sector BOC Representative in the jurisdictions where you work and live
  • Spread the word to your friends, colleagues, co-workers, and at your place of business
  • Support the CRA! As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, donations are tax deductible and beneficial to your community’s effective recovery from disasters.

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