Private sector role in preparedness urged

The president of the New Hampshire High Technology Council is expected to call for the formation of a private sector emergency preparedness advisory group as art of a planned briefing on emergency preparedness and homeland security, to be held Wednesday in Manchester.

Fred Kocher, who heads the High Tech Council, said businesses and private sector organizations play more of a role in the state’s emergency preparedness planning.

He said he will call for the formation of an advisory group to advise and work closely with the state Emergency Management Office as well as with local emergency personnel around New Hampshire.

“When any disaster hits a community and a state the initial response comes from government entities, such as police and fire departments and National Guard. But as the response grows, it’s the private sector that has to respond to restore and deliver phone service, electricity, hospital care, food, transportation, shelter, etc.,” said Kocher. “While New Hampshire ‘s emergency response plans include communications links with key entities such as phone companies, electric utilities and hospitals, it seems logical that businesses and private organizations providing response on a number of fronts should be at the table as an integral part of the state’s emergency preparedness planning process and should also be given an opportunity to provide the state with additional services and technologies to enhance the response, so it’s as effective and reliable as it can be.

The Nov. 2 briefing will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester. It will feature presentations from the director of the state Public Health Division, the executive vice president of the state Hospital Association, the commanding officer of the National Guard and the New England regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, among others.

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