A coalition of business and government leaders that’s working to improve the effectiveness of disaster management, recently appointed a new executive director. Jami Haberl took over leadership of the Safeguard Iowa Partnership in September.
She says recent disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires have highlighted the fact that the private sector is a key component for disaster preparedness. Haberl says one of her goals for the Partnership is to develop a database of business resources to help state and local officials in emergency response situations.
Haberl says up to 85% of the resources needed in a disaster response are available from the private sector, "So it’s critical, before a disaster happens, we have a well established a private/public partnership, so those resources can be identified quickly and brought out to wherever that disaster may be." Haberl says the level of cooperation between business and government also affects how the state recovers from a disaster.
"Any disaster can be very disheartening on communities and it can jeopardize the economy," Haberl says, "and it’s important that the private sector’s engaged in that, so that we can come back from a disaster quickly, in a timely fashion, so we don’t have a major impact to our economy…as well as to the citizens of Iowa."
Haberl previously worked for the Iowa Department of Public Health and for the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care. She replaced Ed Beaman, who led the Safeguard Iowa Partnership in it’s early months.