The Houston Community Preparedness Collaborative (HCPC), a group of City of Houston officials, not-for-profit and private-sector partners met for the first time Friday at the Houston Emergency Center with the purpose of developing partnerships to enhance Houston residents’ ability to prepare for disasters.

The Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security (MOPSHS) and the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) hosted the meeting, bringing together a variety of officials from across the City of Houston as well as non-profit agencies and businesses that serve unique communities throughout the City.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker opened the meeting by encouraging the group to promote emergency preparedness in their community saying, “During emergencies we have to give out important information, it’s through our community partners that we make sure everyone hears that message. ”

Participants heard from the three host departments about what they are already doing to promote preparedness citywide, and participated in a discussion on how to coordinate their efforts with those already in place throughout the Houston area.

Dennis Storemski, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security emphasized the importance of meeting the needs of Houston’s unique communities, “A community as large as Houston has a variety of groups with individual needs. 

Meeting with representatives from these groups will help the City develop ways to make sure that the entire community has the tools it needs to be prepared for disasters.”

The objectives of the HCPC include: promoting emergency and disaster preparedness throughout the community, providing guidance to the City of Houston regarding emergency and disaster preparedness materials  and messaging to the community, hosting and/or supporting emergency and disaster preparedness activities for the community.

“Houston’s history with severe weather and other hazards only makes collaborative planning more important.” said Stephen L. Williams, director of HDHHS.

The HCPC will meet quarterly and will include representation from OEM, HDHHS, MOPSHS, the Houston Police Department, the Houston Fire Department and over 20 collaborative community agencies.