7th Annual National Homeland Security Conference Convenes in Los Angeles
This DEM Blog comes to us from San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM)’s Executive Assistant for Policy and Legislation, Amiee Alden who attended the 7th annual National Homeland Security Conference in Los Angeles, CA. The theme for the conference was: Homeland Security Begins with Hometown Security.
DEM and the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) traveled to L.A. last week to meet our fellow emergency managers from around the nation and hear from national and international experts at the annual National Homeland Security Conference.
One of the highlights was hearing former US Airways Captain Sully Sullenberger discuss the importance of relationships, trust, and leadership, especially in crisis situations. We were proud to meet him afterwards.
We also met with the new head of the FEMA Grants Program Directorate, Brian Kamoie, to discuss the important role that FEMA grants play in helping San Francisco to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from emergencies.
We visited L.A.’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which looks a lot like San Francisco’s, but with a few differences. A notable one is the screens at the front of room running live video feed from camera locations around the city in order to improve situational awareness. Their EOC also includes a dedicated “Business Operations Center” where reps from manufacturing, retail, the faith-based-community, and other groups can share information and resources with the city during an emergency.
Of course, no trip to L.A. would be complete without a dose of Hollywood, brought to us this time by the LAPD. Our friends in blue presented a truly impressive demonstration in the street in front of the conference hotel that included: (fake) gunfire between LAPD and multiple (fake) terrorists; deployment of the SWAT team via fastrope from a Sheriff’s Department helicopter; use of an armored truck to deliver more SWAT team members; use of a bomb-removal robot to remove a suicide vest from a (fake) terrorist and BATCAT to remove a truck loaded with a (fake) bomb from the street; as well as use of several very LOUD flash-bang grenades and multiple rounds of (blank) ammunition—all dramatically narrated by a local radio personality.
The conference had sessions on many topics including lessons learned from the Boston bombings, emergency management at large sporting events, grants management, fire science, information sharing—all designed to help us to enhance our skills and develop new relationships that will improve emergency management in San Francisco.