On May 2, New York State Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Jerome Hauer, gave a presentation at the 9/11 Tribute Center. He spoke about the survey of threats, measures for prevention and how New York State is preparing response systems.
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and its five offices provide leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. DHSES personnel work to develop communication and coordination with officials in government, the private sector and volunteer organizations who may be involved in disaster response.
Commissioner Hauer said that the threats we are confronting haven’t changed since 9/11. He stated that the biggest threats are still those that arise from materials that are easily accessible and easy to use – bombs and guns. He said that the biggest threats are cyber threats, and he gave examples of computer systems in the intelligence sector and the banking sector that have been hacked. The best way to prevent this is for system users to be more careful.
One of Commissioner Hauer’s strongest recommendations is that information sharing among agencies be transparent. He believes that the flow of information from one agency to another is still limited. He also suggested that we as a society tend to forget about the past and become complacent. He did think that residents in the New York metropolitan region are among the most aware of the possibility of terror of any people in America.
In the coming months, New York State will be rolling out a program to teach people how to be prepared for disaster. In most disasters, both man-made and natural, he said people are usually saved by neighbors, not first responders. He would like more people to be trained to help others so that first responders can take on larger tasks, such as evacuating hospitals as they did during Hurricane Sandy.