In 2002 Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, establishing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an entirely new agency charged with the mission of safeguarding our country and citizens. While congressional action in 2002 was historic, professionals who have devoted their careers to emergency preparedness, disaster response, law enforcement, fire service and public safety know that homeland security has always been a priority.
The formation of the DHS was the beginning of a process that brings focus to the issues policymakers and first responders deal with daily in their fight to protect our country. With the formation of a new agency, opportunities also arise. Many will agree that several issues need to be addressed:
- No clear procedures and/or guidelines to access DHS grant funds
- State, county and city agencies are unsure as to evaluation criteria and procurement process
- Clear need for more effective coordination and integration of the many different agencies responding to the scene in the event of an emergency
- DHS is understaffed
- Limited awareness of available system solutions, technologies, and training programs at every level
- Lack of networking between key public and private stakeholders throughout the region
The 2006 Mid-Atlantic All Hazards Forum is a first-of-its-kind conference and exhibition to include all parties, public or private, who are committed to the safety and security of citizens in the region. Forum participants will be able to discuss best practices, procurement procedures, technological advances, strategic planning and implementation, training and education, and readiness response and recovery within the context of all hazards – floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes as well as emerging threats like international terrorism and bioterrorism.
The All Hazards Forum provides the catalyst for building awareness, education, training, relationships and momentum necessary to facilitate integrated emergency preparedness and homeland security readiness and creates an opportunity for participants to:
- Meet with and learn from a broad regional audience – from grass roots first responders to state policymakers
- Network and share information among both the private and public sector and develop partnerships
- Address critical emergency preparedness/homeland security needs, particularly those of the Mid-Atlantic region
- Attend the only state-endorsed and backed conference of its kind in this area of the U.S.
- Communicate with regional counterparts and find solutions for local problems
- Visit and learn from a wide variety of exhibits and featured pavilions on an expansive exhibit floor
- Attend a conference developed specifically for and about the Mid-Atlantic region
- Explore opportunities for business development within the emerging homeland security industry