Northwest Disaster Resilience
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Attending PIEPC? Visit us at booth 27!
The Center for Regional Disaster Resilience will be  participating at the 2017 Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference ( April 18-20 ) in Tacoma, Washington. PIEPC is the #1 Emergency Preparedness Conference in the Northwest and connects more than 700 professionals representing business, education, government, non-profit sector, emergency management, insurance, utilities and hospitals. 

Stop by booth 27 to learn more about our upcoming programs: 
Cascadia Rising Critical Infrastructure Recovery Exercise
Disruptive Trends in Public Safety Technology Conference
Disaster Resilience Symposium
DHS Secretary Kelly Visits PNWER DHS
PNWER's Matt Morrison, Brandon Hardenbrook, & CBP's Michele James speak with DHS Secretary John Kelly

PNWER Executive Director Matt Morrison and Deputy Director Brandon Hardenbrook met last week with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to discuss PNWER's work on disaster resilience planning and innovative U.S.-Canada border solutions.

Secretary Kelly praised the United State's friendship with Canada, noting that a streamlined secure border would be beneficial to both nations.

Morrison and Hardenbrook shared best practices for engaging stakeholders and improving the U.S.-Canada border. The meeting also included Michele James, Director of Field Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Over the years, PNWER has worked closely with CBP and regional stakeholders to improve border security while enhancing legitimate trade and travel. The PNWER Border working group played a significant role in facilitating stakeholder recommendations included in the joint U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan. For the past two years, the working group has also been involved in preclearance efforts to better facilitate the movement of trade and people across the US-Canada border.

PNWER provided several recommendations to DHS on building resilience by engaging with the public and private sector, facilitating cooperation, and establishing trusted partnerships.

1. Focus on interdependencies and coordination at the regional level.
2. Incentivize greater public-private partnerships and regional collaboration.
3. Increase investment in mitigation and recovery planning.

Credit_ Jetta Disco_ DHS
PNWER & Sec. Kelly discuss disaster resilience planning and border security and trade

PNWER also provided priority recommendations on improving the US-Canada border, which include:
1. Continue to seek stakeholder input on improving border security and utilize the region as a testbed for new technology to improve throughput.
2. Continue to expand the NEXUS program. Utilize the platform for new innovative programs such as the known employer pilot.
3. Work with transportation stakeholders in developing preclearance technical design standards and seek innovative solutions such as utilizing new technology and shared space with CBSA during the rollout of the preclearance program.

The March 31st dialogue with Secretary Kelly also highlighted the successes of PNWER, the Center for Regional Disaster Resilience, and their partners in helping the region to better understand the importance of the shared responsibility of resilience, preparedness, and mitigation and recovery planning. It is through the building of these trusted relationships that solutions to regional issues are found.

When: May 23, 2017
Where: Clover Park, Lakewood WA

Innovations in technology have the potential to revolutionize how first responders accomplish their mission. Join the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region's Center for Regional Disaster Resilience at the Public Safety Technology Symposium on May 23 to explore current and emerging technologies used by emergency managers, first responders, and law enforcement. Attendees will develop a common understanding of current technology being used on the ground and near-term developments. The Symposium will lead to better coordination among first responders and improved response.

More information
Vendor information
Registration opens for the Pacific Northwestsymposium Disaster Resilience Symposium
When: July 24-25, 2017
Alberta Fire
Alberta's response to Fort McMurray Fire of 2015 will be one of many topics addressed at the symposium. Photo courtesy of the Government of Alberta.

Where: Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront
Portland, OR 
Cost: $199 

The Pacific Northwest Disaster Resilience Symposium is a two-day event  developed to bring together leaders and decision makers from throughout the region to address common issues, examine solutions, and promote information sharing.

View the agenda.
Visit for more information.

The symposium will be embedded within the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region's Annual Summit in Portland, Oregon, from July 23-27. Embedding the Disaster Resilience Symposium within the larger PNWER Summit will provide attendees with the opportunity to interact face-to-face with elected officials and legislators and increase awareness for important disaster resilience issues. 

The symposium will include the following plenary sessions:
  • Calgary Flood and Alberta Fires Response and Recovery
  • Climate Change and Adaptation
  • Critical Infrastructure Interdependencies - Cross State/Province/National Borders
  • Cybersecurity
  • Defining Disaster Resilience
  • Oil Train Safety and Emergency Response Planning
  • Public-Private Partnerships on Resilience
  • Technologies Impacting Disaster Resilience
CRDR to Study & Share Lessons Learned in Regionalfires Wildfire Recovery
C-130 dumping retardant during Washington's Chelan-Butte fire of 2015. Photo courtesy of Ben Brooks.
The Center for Regional Disaster Resilience is partnering with Northeastern University to identify lessons learned during the recovery from major fires in the region and share best practices that communities and citizens can use to prepare for fires and minimize their impact. 

The project will look at the potentially increasing impact of wildfires on critical infrastructures, help identify lessons learned during the recovery from major fires in the region and share best practices that agencies, business & industry and communities can use to prepare for fires and minimize their impact to the infrastructures that support them. 

The Pacific Northwest is home to forests that surround numerous urban, suburban and rural communities. Changes in the climate, weather patterns and the close proximity of homes and industry to forests are resulting in fires causing increasingly higher damage to critical infrastructure and communities.

More than 1 million acres burned across Washington State in 2015, the worst fire season in the state's history. In 2016, the Fort McMurray Fires in Northern Alberta destroyed 2,400 homes and displaced thousands of citizens. The fires became the Canada's costliest natural disaster. The human and financial toll of these disasters can take years to recover from and the new "normal" might not be what the community was before a fire.

Wildfires cross local, state and national political borders and require regional federal coordination. Recovery efforts are typically left to the individual jurisdictions with assistance from the state or provincial and federal governments. How to allocate and use this assistance can be a challenge for communities.

Through the grant, the CRDR will seek to:
- Identify lessons learned during the recovery from major fires in the region. This includes the efforts communities have undertaken to rebuild or relocate infrastructure
- Highlight the impacts to critical infrastructure that were impacted by fires and the challenges related to bringing those resources back online
- Look specifically for similarities and differences associated with wildland fires that do or do not impact urban areas
- Conduct one-on-one interviews with experts and stakeholders responsible for the response and recovery efforts in the region impacted by major wildfires
- Conduct or participate in a day long workshop
- Develop a summary issue document of issues and recommendations that will be combined with the efforts

The CRDR is working in partnership with the Meridian Institute, which is leading the project and investigating the impacts of wildland fires in the Eastern United States, specifically the fire that impacted Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 
About the Center for Regional Disaster Resilienceabout
The Center for Regional Disaster Resilience works on emergency preparedness and disaster resilience projects across the Pacific Northwest from its Seattle office. The CRDR operates under the umbrella of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER), and is committed to working with states, provinces, territories, and communities to create public-private partnerships, develop action plans, and undertake pilot projects and activities to improve regional disaster resilience cooperation.

Our region's interconnected economies and shared critical infrastructures are subject to far-reaching and cascading impacts from disasters. The CRDR works with key public and private stakeholders to create and implement workable solutions to local and regional infrastructure vulnerability by raising awareness of infrastructure interdependencies; providing training and education; and developing tools, technologies, and approaches that build on existing capabilities. These can be utilized across the United States, Canada, and in the international community.