Searching for Safety, Protection

Searching for Safety, Protection

<bt>Terrorism and Loudoun’s technological infrastructure were at the center of a county conference entitled “A View from the Top: Protecting the Internet Infrastructure in Loudoun.” The panel discussion, part of the Loudoun Chamber Conference Series, took place on May 29 in the Serif Auditorium at the American Online Campus.

George Newstrom, Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth; Kirby Bowers, county administrator; Chief Robert Griffin of the Loudoun County Fire and Rescue, and Eugene D. Troxell, director of the Loudoun Department of Information Technology, served as panelists. Each spoke on his efforts and suggestions on increased safety, followed by a brief question-and-answer period.

Much of the talk dealt with the aftereffects of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 in relation to Loudoun’s preparedness in the event of an emergency.

“The basic tools for security are already in your hands,” he said. “We don’t use the capabilities of our PC’s,” said Newstrom.

Bowers discussed the new Regional Emergency Coordination Plan to create better collaborations between the federal and local government before, during and after a regional emergency.

“When you talk about homeland defense and security, local government is out there on the front line,” he said.

Vigilance was stressed by Griffin as a means of keeping the Internet infrastructure safe. “[Sept. 11] showed us a lot of weaknesses we need to address,” he said.

Troxell agreed. “We learned a lot from that experience,” he said. “We continue to learn, we continue to practice.” According to him, the major problem on Sept. 11 was a breakdown of communications. By establishing an 800 MHz Loudoun County radio system, “we can communicate with our surrounding neighbors,” he said. This includes other counties such as Fairfax and Arlington, emergency services and Dulles Airport.