In just three years, has gained over 36,000 registered users. Although registration is required to access the member directory and sensitive content, becoming an member is completely free of charge. All members are vetted by the staff to be sure individuals with access will use the information responsibly. members include everyone involved in homeland security, from federal officials to private sector security managers who are responsible for issues such as public-private partnerships, continuity of operations plans, or business preparedness. The membership directory provides the contact information and primary disciplines of each member so that they may easily share ideas. contains both original content and a large collection of documents from federal, state, local, and private sector organizations. researchers work with a multi-disciplinary working group of subject-matter experts to set the research agenda and to produce peer-validated content. These original documents capture expertise and innovation at the state and local levels. users are also encouraged to provide documents and to recommend areas of focus for the researchers.

All content on is organized into topic-specific pages that serve as one-stop shops for users to access, share, and discuss key emergency response and homeland security issues. Topics discussed on these pages currently include the private sector, community preparedness, planning, and critical infrastructure, among others. Each page contains related news stories, original research, plans, templates, studies, and more documents that emergency managers can reference to improve their organization’s preparedness. and the Private Sector works to facilitate information sharing among all levels of government and between the government and the private sector. Public-private partnerships encourage this exchange of information to make the country safer. features an original Best Practice series, “Public-Private Partnerships for Emergency Preparedness,” that discusses how to develop these partnerships; the necessary education, training, and technical assistance; the importance of emergency communications and information sharing; joint emergency planning; and resource management and sharing. This Best Practice provides many specific recommendations that both private and public sector organizations can take to protect the Nation’s workforce, economy, and critical infrastructure.

In addition to this Best Practice series, other original content documents address private sector involvement in homeland security and national preparedness. For example, a profile of the Columbia-Snake River Regional Maritime Security Coalition in thePacific Northwestshows how a public-private partnership can improve security and continuity on a large scale. This partnership links maritime, land transportation, and air cargo sector stakeholders inIdaho,Oregon, andWashingtonas well as federal, state, and local emergency management agencies into a secure Web-based communications network. The Coalition makes the private sector’s resources and expertise available to the public sector for the purpose of designing, implementing, and maintaining security approaches. The stakeholders work together regularly to become aware of risks and to prepare for possible incidents. In an emergency, this real-time network would communicate any disruptions in the flow of commerce, and stakeholders would activate their standing continuity plans.

Another original document draws upon the 2003 New York City blackout to recommend that local jurisdictions should plan to include private sector managers in the Emergency Operations Center so that employers do not have to rely on incomplete information from unofficial sources, such as broadcast news and radio. With credible, confirmed information, employers and stakeholders can make informed decisions regarding the status of their businesses and employees.

Other documents on cover topics such as pandemic influenza continuity planning, the role of the private sector in preparedness planning, and incorporating private sector representatives into regional fusion centers. Templates and guidelines for creating continuity of operations plans and conducting risk assessments are also available. is a free, online resource that not only provides a comprehensive library of homeland security-related documents, but also connects private sector emergency managers with each other and with their public sector peers. By working together to incorporate both public and private sector risks and resources into emergency plans, our Nation can be more prepared to face all hazards. CI

Jennifer Smither is a researcher for Lessons Learned Information Sharing (, where she works on outreach and communication efforts. She can be reached at (202) 533-0025.

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