The National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies Institute (NIMSAT) at UL joined with Louisiana Economic Development, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute at LSU for the opening of the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday.

A unique effort in the U.S., the LA BEOC represents the first time Louisiana’s public, private and academic sectors have coordinated emergency efforts of businesses and volunteer organizations statewide in a structured manner.

Serving as an annex of the state’s Emergency Operations Center, the LA BEOC will facilitate communication with the state’s major economic driver industries, as well as owners and operators of critical infrastructures and key resources to enhance Louisiana’s emergency management efforts. The LA BEOC will be led by the NIMSAT Institute, with support from SDMI, under an overarching leadership of LED and GOHSEP.

"During hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a team of researchers and staff at UL under the leadership of Dr. Ramesh Kolluru recognized the need for public-private partnerships," said UL President Dr. Joseph Savoie. "They have worked tirelessly for the past five years to establish the NIMSAT Institute and to conduct research and develop technologies to implement these partnerships for the benefit of the state of Louisiana and the nation. Under the leadership of Dr. Kolluru and at the direction of GOHSEP Director Mark Cooper and LED Secretary Stephen Moret, the NIMSAT Institute assisted in the informal deployment of these partnerships during hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. Today, as the LA BEOC is formalized, the University and the NIMSAT Institute are proud to lead this collaborative public-private partnership, under the direction of LED and GOHSEP and with support of our partners from LSU’s Stephenson Disaster Management Institute."

The LA BEOC will work with businesses to improve their disaster preparedness; improve communication with business and industry before, during and after disaster events; rapidly develop accurate economic impact estimates to support decision making and requests for business assistance; coordinate response efforts to assist businesses in their efforts to return to normal operations as quickly as possible; and help coordinate post-disaster economic recovery.

To further support communication between LA BEOC and businesses, has been activated for businesses to learn about disaster information alerts and provide post-disaster economic impact updates. Louisiana businesses are encouraged to register at the online portal, providing their contact information, as well as details about the products and services they might be able to provide to support the state’s disaster response. The portal also offers a secure way to donate money, goods or services.

The LA BEOC will have 42 Dell terminals with access to 10 workstations to be used by industry and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters, or VOAD, decision makers. Louisiana Optical Network Initiative and Cox Communications will provide Internet access. Accessories enhancing the LA BEOC information system include: an audio visual system with two high-definition plasma screens and three high-lumen projectors, high-speed color printers, an electronic white board, video conferencing systems, a wireless network, conference rooms and generator capacity to withstand long disasters without electricity. These features will provide members better connectivity to other EOC systems, and allow them to gain access to GOHSEP’s online portal, Virtual Louisiana.

Located at LSU’s South Campus, the LA BEOC will seat up to 40 business leaders, industry trade associations and organizations, as well as representatives from the Louisiana VOAD. When activated, the LA BEOC and its representatives will make disaster recovery and response recommendations to LED, GOHSEP and the governor’s Unified Command Group.

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