As a metaphor for picturing the maintenance of preparedness, imagine a number of 5-gallon buckets, where each one represents some aspect of readiness - detection, personal protective equipment (PPE), communications, training, etc. Each bucket is filled with water and ideally each would stay filled representing a steady state of preparedness.
In today's climate of austere budgets, federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector training managers need to get the most out of the scarce dollars that are available. A risk-based approach and assessment will help discern who needs what training, the specific levels of that training, and refresher training requirements.
First responder safety is the immediate goal when approaching and operating in an emergency response scenario. Not only does keeping personnel safe keep experts up at night, it is a priority for equipment manufacturers responsible for the design, function, and purpose of responder tools used in dangerous situations and environments.
The only way to be prepared is to be well trained and well educated, which are essential components to effectively respond to and mitigate threats from chemical, biological, and radiological incidents. Evidence-based response requires the knowledge of the threat, training in skills needed to be effective, and the ability - based on sound judgment to apply the appropriate knowledge and skills to ensure an effective response.
Radiological and nuclear sources pose a wider variety of threats than many realize. By understanding the threat and leveraging federal requirements such as the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA), emergency managers can better equip themselves and their communities to prevent, protect against, and respond to incidents related to these threats.
Law enforcement personnel operating in their communities have been trained to report suspicious activity sightings to their headquarters. Firefighters, emergency medical service providers, public health officials, and other first responders have been asked to "Remain Alert for Suspicious Activity." Now, every citizen and visitor plays a critical role in preventing terrorist threats.
Many communities - large and small - have recovered from disasters. Some have been successful, while others struggle to return. Disasters affect hundreds of communities nationwide every year and - at some point in time - each is confronted with the hard reality of recovering from a disaster. When the national attention and bright lights of the media fade, communities need to be prepared to recover.
Public health practice parallels the whole community approach advocated by 21st century emergency management practitioners. Therefore, public health's emergency preparedness actions integrate nicely with contemporary emergency management practice. Several methodologies of public health practice lend themselves to collaboration with other planning and response disciplines. By examining these methods, public health can extend and maximize its role in community-based emergency planning, response, and recovery.
"Forms, we dont need no stinking forms to handle an all hazard emergency response in our ______ (fill in the blank: town, city, county, parish, tribal territory, region, state)," was no doubt echoed by many of the leaders of the numerous alphabet agencies attending mandatory National Incident Management System (NIMS) training some 15 years ago.
For the first time since the demise of the civil defense program of the Cold War, the federal government has made one of the most significant modifications to its emergency preparedness message. A three-day emergency kit is no longer sufficient to prepare for emerging threats, whether coming from Earth or from space.