DHS Outlines Benefits of Crisis Response Assessment Tool
Wednesday, January 08, 2020 | Comments

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) funded the development of guidance and tools to help communities measure their “capability quotient (CQ),” the readiness to respond to risk and to respond to disruptions of any kind.

DHS S&T and industry partner SPIN Global began working on this guidance in 2016 and published an assessment framework, developed ResponderCQ.com, and initiated a global disaster resilience assessment community of practice in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation and Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA).

The resource is globally available and is in use by cities, countries, businesses and non-governmental organizations. ResponderCQ was designed to support cross-border collaboration at local, regional or multinational levels. For example, ResponderCQ offers an online crisis information management assessment for governments, which is a modified version of DHS S&T’s Incident Management Information Sharing Capability Maturity Model and the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum.

Building on the lessons learned from S&T’s bilateral efforts, such as the Canada-U.S. Enhanced Resiliency Experiment Series (CAUSE), the assessment tool was initially piloted in conjunction with NATO’s Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. The tool enabled NATO program participants to assess crisis information management capabilities and informed development of a country-specific and multinational program road map.

“ResponderCQ is applicable across a range of S&T priorities, from our multinational efforts with NATO NICS to our flood programs in South Carolina,” said S&T Program Manager Ronald Langhelm. “This tool helps provide a realistic assessment of whether efforts to improve resilience are in fact doing so. This is a tremendous help for communities that must decide how to assign resources, whether it is to continue in their current improvement efforts or to try a new approach to enhance resilience.”

In a 100 Resilient Cities survey, the top need identified was a request for assistance with implementing and measuring disaster resilience.

Mike Mendonca, chief resilience officer for Wellington, New Zealand, used ResponderCQ to “better understand where our strengths are with respect to geographic information systems (GIS) and resilience information management, and more importantly where our weaknesses are and where we have gaps.”

The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) used ResponderCQ to provide a business continuity assessment and facilitate outreach.

ResponderCQ is intended to provide a baseline assessment of a community’s resilience and then monitor progress during the next two to five years. The tool allows communities to better plan, coordinate and manage response to risk and to incidents as they arise.

“This tool changes the way communities used to plan for and respond to risks,” said Langhelm. “Now ResponderCQ guides their decisions on how to improve resilience efforts.”

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