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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2015 Vol. 62 No. 10

The Texas Business Emergency Operations Center

The Texas Business Emergency Operations Center (TX BEOC) is a joint partnership between various Texas trade associations and the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s (TDEM) State Management Team (SMT). The TX BEOC will specifically enhance participation by businesses and non-profit organizations in disaster management efforts through the development and deployment of public/private partnerships for the benefit of the state of Texas.

The TX BEOC provides a mechanism for the rapid dissemination of information, determination of resource needs and solutions and fulfillment of critical requirements to support the private sector’s ability to return to normal business operations. The TX BEOC’s mission is to support the return of normal business operations at the local level by coordinating response activities and facilitating bidirectional communication of information with the state’s major economic driving industries.

TXBEOC

Texas Business Emergency Operations Center Objectives

  • Facilitate a public-private sector exchange of information about needs and capabilities.
  • Support the ability of state, local and tribal governments to recover from disasters by connecting them with needed resources.
  • Foster cooperative and mutually-supportive relationships that eliminate duplicative partnership development efforts.
  • Assist disaster district committees and local jurisdictions in identifying where support is available or needed to restore business operations in the affected areas.
  • Engage key stakeholders who bring resources, capabilities and expertise to bear during disaster response and recovery efforts to determine impacts on their ability to provide services to the public.
  • Improve situational awareness across the affected areas.

Over the next five years, the TX BEOC will work to enhance the functionality of the program primarily through implementation of the TX BEOC virtual platform and implementation of a training and evaluation program to identify program strengths and weaknesses.

The implementation of the TX BEOC virtual platform is a two-phased process. The first phase is directed toward engagement of private and public sector partners. The milestones in phase one are:

  • Engage TX DPS Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Members to participate and serve as the program’s Steering Committee.
  • Establish a TX BEOC Working Committee from Steering Committee recommendations.
  • Determine private and public sector needs and expectations for program.
  • Develop processes for information gathering and sharing.
  • Establish Communication Strategy consistent with the determined program needs and expectations.
  • Establish a virtual platform to be used as a bidirectional communication tool.

The second phase is directed toward portal integration. The milestones in phase two are:

  • Develop processes for fusion with U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center.
  • Outreach Initiative.
  • Engage institutes of higher learning for collaboration and further technological program process development.

Web Portal Overview
Registration and participation in the TX BEOC effort is voluntary. By registering, which takes approximately 15 minutes, businesses agree to allow their information to be accessed and used by TX BEOC participants (including government agencies, academic partners and industry trade organizations) in the state’s disaster response and recovery efforts.

The web portal serves as a one-stop shop for private sector members to obtain a variety of useful tools to aid in their businesses: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. One key feature of the website is the “Business Disaster Toolkit.” This toolkit outlines common sense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready for unplanned emergencies. A commitment to planning today will help support employees, customers, the community, the local economy and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival. Studies have shown that the majority of small businesses that are affected by a disaster never reopen or fail within two years.

Some additional private sector benefits include: technical assistance for business continuity, real-time information exchange with the public sector, situational awareness, access to state situation reports, key information for long-term recovery and access to training, exercises, and best practice programs.

Recovery of the private sector following a disaster is crucial to the overall resiliency of any community. The faster a community can return to some type of normalcy is beneficial to both the private and public sectors. Once we have successful buy-in from our private and public sector partners and have identified what their needs are, we can continue to refine the web portal to meet those needs and successfully implement a training and evaluation program. Private and public sector engagement, along with training and evaluation will be a continual process for the success of the program.

Darrick Hesson, Plans Section Coordinator State Management Team

For more information on the Texas Business Emergency Operations Center visit www.txbeoc.org.


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