Back in January, we posted an article about the formation of New Jersey’s state-level cultural heritage emergency network, the New Jersey Cultural Alliance for Response (NJCAR). The network’s activities continue in high gear. Michele Stricker, Associate Director of Library Support Service at the New Jersey State Library, has agreed to serve as the Chair of NJCAR. Four standing committees have been established – Membership, Information Resources, Program, and Development – and each chair will be selecting members for their respective committees. On February 17, 2015, the NJCAR By-laws were adopted by a unanimous vote. The by-laws are available on NJCAR’s new website.
NJCAR has already planned two activities for New Jersey – two intensive hands-on disaster response and recovery workshops to increase practical knowledge through a simulated disaster, and a statewide summit to introduce NJCAR to cultural institutions and emergency responders at the local and regional levels. The trainings and summit will be held at regional police and fire training centers in north, south, and central New Jersey to increase participation by local emergency responders.
Heritage Preservation is proud to be one of NJCAR’s founding organizations.
A number of initiatives have contributed to the recent spate of activity that is enabling the Garden State’s cultural heritage and emergency management communities to move forward together on emergency preparedness. From the Regional Emergency Response Networks project in 2012 to the creation of the New Jersey Cultural Alliance for Response network in 2014, New Jersey has been moving full speed ahead!
Last week we held our first forum in Philadelphia, where state cultural stewards and their respective state emergency managers met, many for the first time. Participants seemed to embrace the more informal design of the forum, which resulted in lively and enlightening discussion. Participants were asked what the best part of their forum experience was, and here are some of their responses:
“Just talking and listening to others and gaining knowledge from their experiences. And that I was not alone…we all have funding and personnel shortages, but are still moving forward with disaster planning.”
“Group discussions and exercises. During these sessions we identified we are more alike than different. We were able to see steps to improve supporting the whole community.”
“Getting to know emergency management better – both their lingo and structures and their people.”
“Everything, but mostly the network that was built thanks to the way the workshop was designed. The constant change from group to group makes you aware of really who are the people around you.”
“Working with my state partners, as we were able to begin discussing plans for moving forward. Also, hearing about other state models was interesting; the entire scope of these collaborations was new to me.”