Governor Outlines Security Goals for Maryland - Southern Maryland Headline News

Governor Outlines Security Goals for Maryland

NASHVILLE, Tn. - Governor Martin O'Malley on Tuesday, July 30 delivered an address focused on so-called "homeland" security to the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Speaking before hundreds of Democratic leaders and elected officials, Governor O'Malley outlined security goals for local and state governments.

"Maryland can be, and should be, nothing less than the best-prepared state in America," said Governor O'Malley. "A critical step towards achieving this goal is to identify the basic, core capacities which every region in our state should have, and to assess our current level of preparedness in these critical areas so that we may ensure we are investing our resources first and foremost to meet any capability gaps in these areas."

During his address to the DLC, O'Malley spoke of the importance of security integration and information sharing between all levels of government and first responder agencies.

"Nothing we care about as a society is possible without public safety and security," O'Malley said. "In the broadest sense, security integration means protecting our people and communities through seamless coordination and consistent information-sharing among government at all levels. It means that the criminal justice system must work as a system, not a collection of parallel lines that never meet."

In his speech, Governor O'Malley outlined a checklist of 12 core security capacities. The Governor's office deemed this checklist the "standards by which Maryland will be measuring the readiness of its localities and which every state in the nation can use to determine whether they are meeting their responsibilities."

1. INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS: First responders in every region in Maryland should have access to a fully digital, trunked radio system which all response partners can access in order to transmit and receive voice and data.

2. INTELLIGENCE/INFORMATION SHARING: Law enforcement officers in every region in Maryland should have the ability to transmit and receive law enforcement database information from the field and share that information on a real-time basis.

3. HAZ MAT/EXPLOSIVE DEVICE RESPONSE: Every metropolitan region should have a Type 1 Haz Mat team and a Type 1 bomb response team, either as one unit, or separate units, and there should be sufficient units statewide to provide a mutual aid response in any jurisdiction within a minimal amount of time.

4. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR FIRST RESPONDERS: All police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical providers in every metropolitan region should have ready and immediate access to personal protective equipment, including at a minimum some form of emergency airway protection, access to more advanced breathing apparatus and protective suits, and medications and antidotes against common WMD agents, and the training to use this equipment properly. All police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical providers in rural regions should have ready and immediate access to personal protective equipment appropriate to local hazards.

5. BIO-SURVEILLANCE: Every region in Maryland should have access to a real-time, 24/7 statewide bio-surveillance system that incorporates a wide span of data, including symptoms presenting in emergency rooms and to paramedics, over-the-counter sales of pharmaceuticals, animal carcass pick up, and in metropolitan areas, sensor-based data, such as air monitoring for chemical and radiological releases.

6. VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT: Every region in Maryland should have a comprehensive all-hazards threat and vulnerability assessment in place and fully updated every three years, including an assessment and inventory of critical infrastructure in the region.

7. TRAINING AND EXERCISES: Every region in Maryland should have a fully funded program of annual training and preparedness exercises which address the most likely hazards and threats for that area, including drills with partner jurisdictions who may provide mutual aid at least twice per year.

8. CCTV: Maryland should have a robust closed circuit television (CCTV) network to secure critical infrastructure such as power and water treatment plants and to provide the ability to monitor events in real time via means such as highway cameras to aid in evacuation control, and patrol car, helicopter, and marine unit downlinks to aid in incident response.

9. MASS CASUALTY/HOSPITAL SURGE: Every region in Maryland should have the equipment, supplies, and training to respond to a mass casualty event either directly or via close at hand mutual aid, including events requiring mass decontamination.

10. PLANNING: Every region in Maryland should have the capacity to develop plans to conduct no-notice and advance notice evacuation of its population, including special needs populations, persons without transportation, and vulnerable facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living centers-and in conjunction with partners, access to the equipment, personnel and supplies to carry out these plans.

11. BACKUP POWER AND COMMUNICATIONS: Every region in Maryland should have an inventory of pre-identified critical facilities, including privately owned facilities such as gas stations, and an up to date assessment of their backup power capabilities.

12. TRANSPORTATION SECURITY: Maryland's water ports, airports, train stations, subways, and rail lines should be fully hardened against attack with permanent physical countermeasures such as CCTV, lighting and fencing, and receive regular and randomly assigned heightened attention from covert and overt patrols by local and state law enforcement.

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