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Buffalo Joins Disaster Response Project

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The City of Buffalo will be one of three cities nationwide participating in a pilot project in 2008 to establish the National Blueprint for local disaster preparedness and response, according to Mayor Byron W. Brown.

The mayor briefed reporters on the project Tuesday evening at Buffalo Niagara International Airport after returning from a two-day forum sponsored by the National Congress for Secure Communities.

"We're very pleased Buffalo was asked to be a pilot community," Brown said. "It's important for communities to be prepared for natural disasters. Local communities are the first responders. They are at ground zero, so to speak."

Representatives from the National Congress and from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government will be providing technical support and other assistance to the city during the ReadyCommunity Partnership project designed to refine the community's planned response to disaster situations, according to Brown.

The project will further the development of the National Blueprint, which is "a dynamic framework for disaster response based on input from private industry... and government."

The project identifies the challenges facing communities during the first 72 hours of crisis, the best practices to address those challenges and the tools that can increase response and hasten recovery.

Two communities, Galveston, Texas, and Charleston, S.C., already participated in the project. Others will include the Detroit area and Hamilton County, Ind., near Indianapolis.

"These issues have become critical," Brown said. "You never know when some kind of disaster will hit."

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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