APWA Emergency Management Committee: Representing public works at the national level

Teresa Hon, Technical Services Program Manager, APWA, Kansas City, Missouri; Dan Jensen, Government Affairs Manager, APWA, Washington, D.C.

"Centers of expertise" may be a bit of an understatement when you look at what the members of the Emergency Management Committee are involved in on behalf of APWA. In addition to providing testimony in Washington, D.C., conducting state, regional and international training, planning workshop sessions for APWA's Congress, and locating authors for this issue of the Reporter, committee members serve on a variety of national committees and task forces. All this is done in their spare time and with no additional compensation from their employers.

The six volunteer members of the committee are Chair Teresa Scott (City of Gainesville, FL), Larry Zensinger (Dewberry, Fairfax, VA), Christine Walsh (City of Beloit, WA), Brian Usher (City of Largo, FL), David Himes (City of Nashville, TN), and Curt Edwards (Psomas, San Diego, CA). Dan Jensen serves as the advocacy liaison in the APWA office in Washington, D.C. Teresa Hon is the staff liaison and works in the Kansas City office.

Following is a brief description of the consortiums, committees and task forces on which these committee members represent public works and APWA:

The National Homeland Security Consortium is a unique coalition of key state and local organizations, elected officials, private sector employees and others with roles and responsibilities for homeland security prevention, preparedness, and response and recovery activities. Christine Walsh serves on the National Homeland Security Consortium, which is an outgrowth of discussions regarding the need for enhanced communication and coordination between disciplines and levels of government. The Consortium is a recognized entity by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Brian Usher represents APWA and public works as a participant in the National Fire Incident Management System Consortium (NFIMSC). The NFIMSC is an organization of fire service professionals whose goal was to merge the two most popular incident command systems used by the American fire service (the Fire Ground Command System and the Incident Command System) into a single common system.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Board of Directors authorized the IAFC Mutual Aid Task Force to develop a National Fire Service Mutual Aid System. David Himes has been participating in this process (at the invitation of IAFC) as an observer, in hopes that public works officials will mirror the efforts of the fire chiefs.

The primary goal of the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance is to develop a wider understanding within Congress that reducing the risks and costs of natural disasters, as well as man-made hazards, is a public value. Larry Zensinger is APWA's representative to the Alliance that works to educate congressional members and staff about the costs of these disasters to their districts and states, and the benefits their constituents will realize through greater efforts to understand, prevent and mitigate all hazards.

Brian Usher sits on the NFPA Professional Qualifications Committee. The mission of the international nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. NFPA membership totals more than 79,000 individuals from around the world and more than 80 national trade and professional organizations, including APWA.

The NIMS Upgrade Working Group is made up of stakeholders from first responder groups, safety and private sector members who meet semi-annually to discuss the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and direct the course of any proposed changes. Teresa Scott is APWA's representative on the working group.

The newly-created EMAC Advisory Board was created to facilitate the effective integration of multi-discipline emergency response assets for nationwide mutual aid through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Larry Zensinger serves on the Board as APWA's representative.

Two members of the committee, Teresa Scott and Larry Zensinger, as well as APWA members Mary Anderson (City of Highland Park, IL) and Ken Hill (City of Tulsa, OK) serve on the Universal Task List (HSPD-8, Targeted Capabilities List). The purpose of HSPD-8 is to "establish policies to strengthen the preparedness of the United States to prevent and respond to threatened or actual domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies by requiring a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal, establishing mechanisms for improved delivery of federal preparedness assistance to state and local governments, and outlining actions to strengthen preparedness capabilities of federal, state, and local entities."

The Emergency Management Committee also receives reports from APWA members who serve on other national committees.

Jeff Wilson (Wilson, Miller, Inc., Fort Myers, FL) is APWA's newly-appointed representative to the SAFECOM program which was established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and approved by the President's Management Council (PMC) as a high-priority E-Gov initiative. More specifically, SAFECOM is a communications program within the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC) that provides research, development, testing and evaluation, guidance, tools, and templates on communications-related issues to local, tribal, state and federal emergency response agencies working to improve emergency response through more effective and efficient interoperable wireless communications.

Judy Mueller (City of Charlottesville, VA) serves on the Presidential Senior Advisory Committee or, as it is known officially, the Emergency Services, Law Enforcement, and Public Health and Hospitals Senior Advisory Committee. Established by Executive Order 13260 of March 19, 2002, the purpose of this committee is to provide the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council with advice on increasing America's security from experts representing the nation's emergency response community.

As you can see, there are many instances where the Emergency Management Committee or designees are representing public works and APWA at the national level. If you would like more information on any of these groups or programs, feel free to contact our office.

Dan Jensen can be reached at (202) 218-6734 or; Teresa Hon can be reached at (816) 595-5224 or