In Michigan, a variety of agencies are responsible for different aspects of homeland security. Emergency response disciplines at the local level include emergency management, law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, public health, public works, government administrative, public safety communications, health care, private security and cyber security providers.
As you know, individual emergency response disciplines have their own diverse and unique needs and associated priorities as they pursue planning, training, equipping and exercising initiatives. Accordingly, it is necessary for emergency response agencies to be included in the process of identifying priorities, and developing and implementing initiatives under the Homeland Security Grant Program.
This effort requires an organized method of information exchange between local response agencies to facilitate homeland security strategic goals and objectives, problem-solving, and strategy implementation programs. Effective local planning, as well as increased communication and collaboration between agencies, are essential components of an effective homeland security program. Given the fiscal constraints being experienced by local jurisdictions throughout the State it is critical to implement cost-effective and coordinated strategies to meet the growing needs of first responder agencies while avoiding unnecessary redundancies and minimizing duplication of effort.
Local Planning Team (LPT) Initiative
Many benefits exist for jurisdictions who utilize the LPT initiative. First, the team provides a forum for an open exchange of views regarding potential local initiatives that have implications for the sub-grantee jurisdiction and its first responder agencies. Second, the team serves as an essential coordinating body for assessing homeland security needs and in developing strategies to overcome shortfalls in readiness.
Local Planning Teams (LPT), by definition, consist of representatives from each of the emergency response disciplines (i.e., emergency management, fire services, law enforcement, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, public health, health care, public works, government administrative, public safety communications and cyber security. Local Planning Teams identify capability shortfalls in the five solution areas of planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercises. The specific goals associated with this initiative are to:
- Promote enhanced coordination between emergency response agencies;
- Promote standardization and interoperability throughout the jurisdiction;
- Foster innovative approaches to meeting homeland security needs; and
- Direct the effective use of the jurisdiction’s homeland security funding.
LPT Core Functions
Core LPT functions support working towards having a “balanced” and appropriate set of homeland security projects for the jurisdiction. The LPT should assess six dimensions for each homeland security project. These six dimensions include:
- Existence. Are resources and services available to the jurisdiction’s first responder agencies? If not, how does the project support the availability? For example, do all first responders have availability to personal protective equipment?
- Adequacy. Are current resources adequate and in sufficient supply to meet first responder needs? If not, what needs to be obtained (equipment, planning, training, drills)?
- Accessibility. How obtainable are resources and services to those first response agencies most in need? Can it be accomplished with the funding and eligible activities identified under the grant?
- Efficiency/Duplication. How reasonable are resource costs and are there possible ways to streamline services to avoid duplication?
- Equity. How available are resources and services to those in need “without bias”?
- Effectiveness/Quality. How successful are the resources and services in addressing first responder needs?
These core functions assist in setting priorities within the homeland security planning process. Local planning teams have great flexibility in designing a planning process that meets their needs. Local planning teams are able to choose resources and services to include in their analysis, as well as to determine which solution areas to consider in their planning process, the level of importance given to each solution area, and the allocation of funding to address each solution area.