In one of his last public speeches as the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Tom Ridge shared his insights about critical next steps for public preparedness, and encourage a ground-breaking "public readiness index" for communities.
Ridge made his remarks at a breakfast event hosted by the Council for Excellence in Government tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 28 at 8 a.m. at the Willard Hotel in Washington.
In conjunction with Ridge's remarks, The Council for Excellence in Government, in partnership with the American Red Cross, the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will announce plans to create a Public Readiness Index. The Index will gauge the readiness of citizens, schools, businesses, and other community organizations to respond to emergencies -- from terrorism to public health emergencies and natural disasters -- and allow individual citizens and community leaders to measure, track and address gaps in local preparedness.
More than 100 leaders in the nation's homeland security enterprise have already signed a commitment to work together to create the Public Readiness Index, which will be independent from government.
The "Public Preparedness, A National Imperative" Report is 52 pages of great information from the consortium of "Brain Power" who assembled in July last year. Their conclusion is summed up with the following quote:
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the
society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.”
If we can interpret Mr. Jefferson's and the consortiums conclusion correctly, business is in for a whole lot of readiness exercises. Again, the question remains: Are they ready?