DHS - St Clair Vitual cities


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DHS - St Clair Vitual cities

  1. 1. Feds locate Virtual City center in St. Clair County<br />Published: Friday, June 25, 2010<br />As the United States continues to ramp up security around its borders, St. Clair County will play a vital role in that effort.The Department of Homeland Security has designated St. Clair County as a Virtual City pilot site. The intent is to deploy Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, technology to improve public safety and overall communication.Apparently, the county's proximity to Canada was a major factor in the designation."The St. Clair County emergency response and law enforcement teams and Canadian partners play a critical role in the safety and security for the State of Michigan and our northern border with Canada," said St. Clair County DHS Emergency Management Director Jeffrey A. Friedland.The county's resources provide a platform for local, state and federal operations in an around the region. DHS has designated St. Clair County as a regional site for Virtual City operational technology evaluations, policies and standards development with an initial focus on geospatially enabled collaboration tools for all-hazard and daily decision support.Both city and regional emergency response organizations are a critical first line of defense in planning for and responding to natural disasters and manmade terrorist events. The operations centers function to provide day-to-day support of emergency response activities. They will also support critical infrastructure inspection, transportation management and other functions. The centers are linked to a variety of local and regional databases that cover elements ranging from traffic cameras, to emergency vehicle tracking, to the status of school and government facilities.In the instance of a crisis, emergency response organizations coordinate and share information with a variety of other government, health, and non-governmental organizations. Operations centers differ in operational capabilities, tools, technologies, and integration with other services, based on the needs of the authority. Centers benefit from and understanding of best practices and core competencies to support their roles in coordinated emergency support."Our goal is to make state, local, national and international interoperable," Friedland said.Representatives for the DHS Science and Technology Department of the Navy Space and Naval Warfare System Command Atlantic and IDV Solutions met with Friedland in Port Huron last week."We want this to be international and work with our Canadian Partners," Friedland said. <br />The center will be called upon as not only a first line of defense but also an action base should an emergency situation occur."This will offer technical solutions a collaboration tool for all hazard training," Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command spokesperson Becky Olson said."This will set up a platform for SCC and be a model for other areas," Friedland said.The group expects to begin pilot development by Aug. 1, with a completion date of December 31, 2010, anticipated.The Virtual City will give monthly updates, a 24/7 picture of what is going on in St. Clair County. All costs are borne by the federal government.Friedland expects it will have an impact on the local economy."Overall the platform being created will substantially assist communities in their efforts of community growth as well as utilize it beyond Emergency Management," Friedland said. <br />