As 2015 begins, administrators of the over 7,000 communities on First Responder Communities of Practice (FRCoP) are taking stock of their accomplishments in 2014, identifying goals for 2015 and preparing to welcome new members. FRCoP is a professional networking, collaboration and communication platform created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group (FRG) to support improved information sharing amongst the nation’s first responders and other federal, state, tribal, territorial, local government and private sector stakeholders. The vetted community of members focuses on emergency preparedness, response, recovery and other homeland security issues. New members will find engaging groups of like-minded people, as membership is only available to first responders, government employees, and government-sponsored contractors, academic institutions and citizens.
FRCoP features many different topics of interest including emergency management, best practices, fire, hazardous materials hazmat and social media. The site evolves over time, as new CoPs and topics are added by members. In 2014, several new resources were created to help members better navigate the site’s many features. The first is an introductory video, which can be found on the FRCoP home page. The video provides a tutorial-style overview of FRCoP for new and existing members. Community administrators are responsible for encouraging activity and participation in a CoP, as well as providing guidance to members.
Arthur “Greg” Gibson, community administrator for the DHS Emergency Services Sector (ESS) community of practice (CoP), has found FRCoP to be an excellent place for advertising webinars, performing project work online, networking with first responders and storing important information. Gibson launched the ESS CoP last July to fulfill the ESS’s mission of providing a system of preparedness, response and recovery elements. These elements form the nation’s first line of defense for preventing and mitigating the risk of physical and cyber-attacks and manmade and natural disasters.
“As an open community, anyone with an interest in learning or sharing information or experiences about protecting our nation and improving emergency response is welcome to join,” Gibson said. “The New Year is a fantastic time to get involved, and I look forward to seeing what we accomplish.”
To schedule a web-based demonstration of FRCoP, request personalized assistance with setting up or growing an existing CoP, contact a site administrator at FR.Communities@hq.dhs.gov.