Michigan State incident preparedness program finds new life

Next week, the Security Executive Council and Michigan State University will officially announce the launch of their new Business Continuity Alliance, a partnership that promises new life to a joint crisis management program that seemed doomed to close one year ago.

Michigan State University's Critical Incident Protocol (CIP) program has helped 50 communities create sustainable public/private partnerships for joint crisis management since 2002. Program staff at MSU's School of Criminal Justice provided training, consultation and support to law enforcement and corporate security participants at the city, county, and regional levels to help them build partnerships that resulted in enhanced information sharing, preparedness, and shared resources in times of crisis.

When FEMA announced last spring that widespread cuts would force them to terminate the program's funding, CIP Program Director Brit Weber hoped to find a way to continue, but the options were few. "We knew there was a great demand not only from new communities -- because we were in discussions with about 20 new communities around the nation at that time -- but also our existing ones, who continued to receive support and advice from us years after their partnerships had been developed. So we were trying to figure out internally at MSU what we could do to continue, but because of the economy we were really limited on what we could do."

Rad Jones, the founder of the CIP program, is a member of the faculty at the Security Executive Council. He and the Council's Managing Director, Bob Hayes, began speaking about ways to partner not long after FEMA's announcement. After many months of preparation, the two groups are poised to launch the Business Continuity Working Group (https://www.securityexecutivecouncil.com/bccma), which will both continue and expand the work of the CIP program.

"It will add a very good conduit both for the university and the practitioner to come to the Council with questions and concerns on how to handle various issues. We can them provide them with research both from the academic side and from successful practitioners' knowledge. I think that will bring a lot to the table," says Jones.

"This is a proven way to bring the public and private sector together and improve their performance and results in responding to a crisis," adds Hayes. "The participants of the working group will gain access to proven strategies and expand their access to resources and peers."

Participants in the working group will receive consultation with both Michigan State University faculty and staff and Security Executive Council faculty, including direction and advice on crisis management concerns, as well as peer sharing opportunities, research reports and other resources, monthly newsletters, and event discounts. For a listing of some of the combined resources available through this new partnership, visit https://www.securityexecutivecouncil.com/knowledge/index.html?mlc=603.