City Council Approves ResilientALX Charter to Iron Out Alexandria’s Safety Inefficiencies

Feeling safe lately in Alexandria?

On Tuesday, the Alexandria City Council approved the creation of the ResilientALX Charter to make all aspects of the city safer, from emergency planning to disaster response and beyond.

“The need for resilience and preparedness is perhaps more important than ever,” said Mayor Justin Wilson at Tuesday’s Council meeting. “This is an important effort. I think we’ve seen so far this year, obviously, the great importance of this kind of planning in community resiliency and we have to take it to the next step.”

The charter will take two years to complete, as volunteers and graduate students working with the Alexandria’s Citizen Corps Council will look at the city’s existing preparedness data and include input from city stakeholders, along with recommendations. The charter could even impact the City’s Strategic Plan.

Now, this is a process. It’ll take quite a bit of time,” CCC Chair Patrick Moran told Council. “Rather than come to the council with recommendations that are based on opinion or anecdote, we found that the best way to initiate this process would be one through community engagement through assessment, through reviewing and analyzing the data and engaging stakeholders across the city, better understanding what they saw as critically important for addressing resiliency in the city, and premier issues and recommendations that we could bring back to city council that may be considered and potentially, taking into account in terms of the update for the Strategic Plan moving forward.”

Moran said that the next step is an assessment phase to identify strengths and weaknesses in the city’s preparedness posture by moving down a tiered approach through city departments that deal with public safety, schools, transportation and health.

According to a CCC presentation to Council, report will identify perceived strengths and weaknesses in Alexandria’s resilience posture, along with opportunities for improvement.

“After a thorough review of the City of Alexandria’s Strategic Plan, the CCC found that Alexandria’s preparedness strategy deferred disproportionately to emergency services, without a holistic approach for resilience in the face of an increasing myriad of hazards and threats,” the report notes. “The assessment will also encompass the involvement and coordination of different levels of government (local, state, and federal) and neighboring jurisdictions in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from crises, disasters, and shared threats.”

CCC’s two largest programs are the Community Emergency Response Team and Medical Reserve Corps. The group was established in 2005 by City Council to shore up emergency prevention, preparation and response measures. The Citizens Corps is a byproduct of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and started in 2002 after the 9/11 attacks.

According to the City:

Alexandria’s Citizen Corps Council (CCC) is designed to advise the City on how to enhance community resilience. The project will include creating a Charter, and Assessment and Report. The Charter offers an overarching vision to supplement the goal of Alexandria’s Strategic Plan in the area of creating a Safe and Resilient Community. Charter The CCC Charter will utilize the FEMA Lifelines to categorize data from the study. The results of which will inform the Focus Areas of the Assessment and Report. CCC will work collaboratively with related advisory bodies to create a sound and unifying vision for the City.