HM500 Crisis and Emergency Management
Unit 5 DQ
Topic 1: Preparedness for Terrorist Attacks
Since September 11, there has been a significant focus on preparedness for terrorist attacks. The response to Katrina highlighted significant shortcomings in response to the impact of natural disasters. Based upon your text and outside readings, what do you see as the improvements required to adequately respond to terrorist threats and attacks, as well as hurricanes like Katrina, earthquakes, and other natural disasters? Does preparing for one emergency assist in preparing for the other type of disaster? What organizations within the community would you engage in preparing an emergency response plan to both terrorist attacks and natural disasters?
Topic 1: Reply to Student #1 Below (Help the student, give advice)
Terrorist attacks can be different than natural disasters, there is a wide range of attacks that can happen. Emergency managers should look at preparedness needs the community needs, depending upon the consequences of the attack, what the community can do to mitigate or prevent an attack from happening, how the community should respond to attacks, and what will be needed for the long-term recovery process (Haddow, et al., 2021, pg. 405). With natural disasters, the best thing is to be prepared for any level of disaster, what I mean by this is there needs to be emergency plans for a level 4 or 5 hurricane, but a level 1 hurricane as well. I think that preparing for one emergency disaster can help in preparing for future disasters, you learn and experience things as they happen, and you can take that knowledge into plans for future emergencies. I would engage with emergency responders, neighboring communities to get extra help, local TV networks to help get information out about evacuation plans, hospitals, and the American Red-Cross.
Haddow, D.G., Bullock, A.J. & Coppola, P.D. (2021). Introduction to emergency management (7th ed). Butterworth-Heinemann.
Topic 1: Reply to Student #2 Below (Help the student, give advice)
Several improvements will be required to adequately respond to terrorist threats and attacks, major hurricanes and earthquakes, and other natural disasters. The shift from an “all hazards approach” to a “single-hazard approach” was certain to cause issues in the future as the focus seemed to be on the threat of terrorist attacks and not on the possibility of other disasters (Haddow et al., 2021). In the first 20 years of the reorganization of DHS and FEMA, many issues arose particularly with leadership roles and the chain of command. In other words, who should be called during emergency situations and in what order, and who is in control? According to Haddow et al. (2021), Bush’s reorganization and creation of the new “Homeland Security Presidential Directive” merged approximately 179,000 employees from 22 pre-existing agencies and programs into one “cabinet-level” organization” (p. 14). The change was quite sudden, and while many agencies remained as they were, most were consolidated into four new programs (Haddow et al., 2021). Changes were definitely needed since there had been no major reorganization attempts since the Truman era; however, the changes may have occurred too abruptly and may have pared down departments too drastically. It also did not help that while all of these agencies were getting used to their new roles and responsibilities that the United States would experience such a wave of continuous disasters. Part of the problem with previous disasters would be a “too many cooks in the kitchen” cliché. Haddow et al. (2021) explained that the biggest issue in any scenario is deciding who is in charge and making the decisions. With Hurricane Katrina, FEMA failed to allow local authorities to establish and maintain the Incident Command. It became clear that FEMA was unwilling to “bend the rules” during the disaster. Many of the supplies and services were blocked because FEMA claimed they had either not been requested or had been incorrectly requested (Takeda & Helms, 2008). For a response effort to operate effectively, the ICS must be organized and be able to work with other agencies seamlessly (Haddow et al., 2021).
Preparing for one emergency does help in preparing for other types of disasters. Most mitigation attempts happen after a disaster occurs. During this phase, communities and agencies often discover what should have been done to prevent loss of life and property damage. In retrospect, they can review what worked and what did not and make changes as needed. For instance, even though supplies were in place before Katrina hit, there were not enough supplies. As a result, when Hurricane Rita hit a few months later, agencies were better prepared to respond. There were more supplies in place and an “incidence of national significance” was declared. These things did not happen until two days after Katrina (Select Bipartisan Committee, 2006, p. 12). Furthermore, the Select Bipartisan Committee (2006) continued to add that authorities sent 10,000 National Guardsmen to Texas while only 1500 were sent to Louisiana. Reviewing and preparing for one emergency does help in preparing for others.
FEMA’s “Whole Community Concept” employs every member of a community which includes all people, every level of government, organizations, businesses, groups, and more (Haddow et al., 2021). To develop and Emergency Operations Plan or EOP, I would begin with law enforcement and fire departments who are most typically the first responders in any incident. After that, I would involve health care facilities locally, at first, and then bring in surrounding areas as needed in the plan. Next, I would engage the local, state, and federal governments. Finally, I would include the private sector resources. As part of the EOP, I would develop Mutual Aid agreements to be implemented as needed.
Haddow, G. D., Bullock, J. A., & Coppola, D. P. (2021). Introduction to emergency management, 7th ed., Elsevier.
Martin, M. L., Jenkins, H. A., Mehring, B. B., & Ma, A. C. (2011). All-Hazards, All Communities: An Approach to Disaster Preparedness and Policy. The Journal of Race & Policy, 7(1), 26-41.
Select Bipartisan Committee. (2006, February 15). A failure of initiative: Final report of the select bipartisan committee to investigate the preparation for and the response to Hurricane Katrina,
Takeda, M. B., & Helms, M. M. (2006). “Bureaucracy, meet catastrophe”: Analysis of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and their implications for emergency response governance. The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 19(4), 397-411. http://dx.doi.org.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/10.1108/09513550610669211
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