Resilient Communities are the Foundations of a Resilient America.

Charleston, SC Announced as Third Partner Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information, contact
October 16, 2007 Warren Edwards, 865-574-8277


Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI)
Announces Charleston, SC as Third “Partner Community”


Project part of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s
Southeast Region Research Initiative


Oak Ridge, Tenn. – Leaders from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI), and their partners at Savannah River National Laboratory, announced today that Charleston, South Carolina and its surrounding counties will join Gulfport, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee in a new partnership to better define community resilience and to help more communities prepare for and quickly recover from natural and man-made disasters.


An important new initiative of ORNL’s Southeast Regional Research Initiative, CARRI is already working closely with leaders of Charleston to help develop and share the essential benchmarks, tools and techniques that any community or region should take to strengthen its ability to prepare for, respond to, and rapidly recover from significant natural and man-made disasters with minimal downtime to basic community, government and business services.


“We will be looking to draw insights from the experiences of all sectors of the Charleston community as we begin to construct what we are calling our ‘resiliency toolbox,’ said CARRI Director Warren Edwards. “If we can identify what these ‘partner communities’ need to be truly resilient, then we can use that information to assess vulnerabilities in other communities and then work with them to help them close the gaps.” Edwards said that the decision to approach Charleston about becoming a “partner community” for the project was strategic since the city’s location on the Atlantic Coast and as a major seaport makes it susceptible to both natural and man-made disasters.


“Charleston is particularly vulnerable to both hurricanes and earthquakes,” Edwards said. “We feel like we can learn a lot from Charleston given what it has already shown in its ability to respond to and recover from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Charleston, under the leadership of Mayor Joe Riley has shown a strong commitment to becoming an even more resilient community in the future.”


Edwards said he hopes that one of the results of CARRI will be to help communities move beyond their reliance on government and first responders and to draw on all of the resources within a community: business, education, and civic resources, to quickly get the right resources to the right people as efficiently and quickly as possible in the event of a disaster. CARRI will also have access to national and international researchers and practitioners who can augment the findings from the community activities with the best information and practices available.


“A resilient community is not only prepared to help prevent or minimize the loss or damage to life, property and the environment, but also it has the ability to more quickly return citizens to work, reopen schools and businesses, and restore other essential services needed for a full and swift economic recovery,” said Edwards.


“Charleston, along with our other two ‘partner communities’ of Gulfport and Memphis are already doing some great work. So we look forward to working closely with key leaders in those communities to learn from what they are doing well, to help them locate and address any gaps, and to then formalize and develop some new best practices that can be shared and used by other communities.”


ORNL’s Community and Regional Resilience Initiative is a new program of the Southeast Region Research Initiative. ORNL is working closely and in partnership with South Carolina’s own Savannah River National Laboratory on this important project.


Key leaders from CARRI will also be featured at a special event hosted by U.S. Senator Jim DeMint and several of his colleagues in the U.S. House for a one-day technology event in Greenville, SC on November 19.


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