The Hampton Roads Regional Information Sharing Project (RISC)
It is often stated, but also not always appreciated, that all incidents no matter how large begin at the local level. Given that, it is critical that local jurisdictions have the ability to publish, procure and share information in a timely fashion in order to better prepare for and respond to events. While Virtual USA has begun to address this on a state to state level, it is critical that localities address this on a regional level: that is that they are able to work with those surrounding jurisdictions that are likely to affect them both day-to-day and during a critical incident.
In order to address this, G&H, working with the Office of Veterans Affairs of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Department of Homeland Security First Responders Group has been providing technical assistance in support of information sharing goals and practices outlined by 16 localities in the Hampton Roads region of Southwestern Virginia. This project focuses primarily on improving operational situational awareness (getting the right information, at the right time to decision makers) within each locality, between localities, and throughout the Hampton Roads region. By working through a core project team of local emergency managers, this project addresses the areas of governance, standard operating procedures, technology, training and exercises, and usage. This core project team has identified seven essential elements of information (e.g., school, municipal, emergency declaration, evacuation, curfew, emergency operations center, and shelter status) and several core awareness packages centering on severe weather that will allow localities to share information in real-time while having the same operational view before, during, and after crises.