The U.S. government gave the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Irving, Texas, a seat at the table for establishing the direction of Homeland Security as it involves the nation’s emergency service industry.

ESA has become a member of the Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council (ESSCC), which was created by the Department of Homeland Security in 2004 as a vehicle for coordinating the actions and capabilities of the Emergency Services Sector. This includes law enforcement, fire service, search and rescue, medical personnel and other first responders.

ESA’s role will be to represent the leadership of the electronic life safety and security industry within the council, providing general direction to the group and working with other participating members. John Chwat, director of Government Relations for ESA, will be the association’s representative on the council, and ESA Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau will serve as the alternate. The group meets twice each year, with occasional conference calls, and members are involved with council initiatives year-round.

The ESSCC is an independent, unfunded coalition of organizations that represent the Emergency Services Sector (ESS). The ESS is defined as the nation’s system of preparedness, response, and recovery elements that form the first line of defense for preventing and mitigating the risk from physical and cyber attacks, and manmade and natural disasters.

The sector consists of emergency services facilities and associated systems, trained and tested personnel, detailed plans and procedures, redundant systems, and mutual-aid agreements that provide life safety and security services across the nation via a first-responder community comprised of federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.

The ESS is a primary “protector” for other Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) sectors. The loss or incapacitation of ESS capabilities would notably impact the nation’s security, public safety, and morale.

Associations like ESA play an important role in two ways: first, by providing an effective means of sharing information across multiple organizations and providers within a particular industry; and second, by identifying and leveraging existing programs and providing a venue for communication of technical expertise to the appropriate authorities.

Other ESSCC members include the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), National Association of State Fire Marshals, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Emergency Managers, and a number of other associations.

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