Public-Private Partnerships Prepare California for Emergencies

Direct Relief’s partnership with the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) is crucial to making sure residents of California have access to the supplies and resources they need in an emergency.

The partnership—spotlighted here in the spirit of National Preparedness Month— developed when CalEMA recognized that working across the public and private sector during emergencies is essential to mobilizing resources for people in who need help. As a result, the state created the Business Utility Operations Center (BUOC) as a means of connecting private resources with public response efforts.

Direct Relief leads the distribution of donated medical resources with state response officials during an emergency. The BUOC includes representatives from Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, the California Utilities Emergency Association, San Francisco Helicopters, the California Resiliency Alliance, and the California Grocers Association.

This working group of private, public, and nonprofit organizations has been assembled to address the public’s needs during a large-scale emergency within California in a coordinated, efficient way. It has become an important model for states as they look to integrate public and private support.

Establishing this cooperative group in advance of an emergency helps ensure California will be prepared to respond to resident’s needs if disaster strikes. The BUOC allows Direct Relief to work closely with state officials, in addition to its network of more than 250 nonprofit clinics and health centers it supports on a regular basis throughout California.

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