The public safety community is without borders and that was evermore clear these past few weeks as California has sent resources around the world for natural disaster response. This community builds upon planning efforts that go on year-round. Cal OES recently concluded another collaborative effort with its counterparts from Australia.
Mark Ghilarducci, along with several other leaders of The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, recently wrapped a multi-day meeting with its emergency management partner from Victoria, Australia. The Victorian delegation included Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) Commissioner Craig Lapsley. This meeting was the next step in their efforts to strengthen their respective states’ emergency response capabilities and resilience.
During their first visit in July, 1995, Cal OES and EMV signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will help make both states safer through the sharing of expertise, technical knowledge, training and best practices in wild land fire and flood management. That signing officially recognized the path forward for the collaboration between Cal OES, EMV, and DHS S&T, specifically focused on collective research and development efforts to align each partner’s investments in the Next-generation Incident Command System (NICS) code and resulting systems, including Cal OES’s SCOUT and EMV’s EM-COP.
Watch the video above to hear Mark Ghilarducci and Craig Lapsley talk about INTERACT
That collaboration is now called INTERACT (INternational TEchnology Research And CollaboraTion.) It’s based on the premise that emergency management is a key role and capability of governments globally, and that agencies perform well autonomously but are generally less effective when joined to address major emergencies. Also, global-level resources are often leveraged to support international partners and allies.
Cal OES leadership says each of the INTERACT partners shares a vision of emergency management agencies and other entities accessing better information to make better decisions to achieve better outcomes for the community. INTERACT’s purpose is to foster innovative research and development aligned to operational needs. It also serves to establish a scalable, cost-effective, multi-jurisdictional platform to enable emergency management agencies and supporting partners, governments, utilities, private sector, and the public to share information. Working collaboratively to make better decisions before, during and after emergencies and improving community resilience remains the foundation of this initiative.
The INTERACT group will continue to work toward a system that will meet those established goals and visions, and Cal OES will continue to offer itself as a key leader in progress.