From military "takeover" to a "win-win" situation for states affected by natural disasters: The U.S. Department of Defense used the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina to develop new tactics - and used them creatively when assisting the response and recovery efforts in New Jersey and New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina left many people without basic resources. Less publicized was the fact that a number of citizens suffering from various disabilities were transported without their wheelchairs and/or other equipment and devices required to meet their needs. In Connecticut, trainers with real-world experiences are helping first responders lessen the impact of future disasters on persons with functional needs.
The United States already has a national system in place that can help responders "manage" any disaster situation - both natural and manmade. By adapting and modifying the concepts and processes of the Incident Command System, large and small jurisdictions alike can easily incorporate several categories of specialized response teams into complex response efforts.
Understanding the different facets of tornado preparedness planning helps responders address questions related to these often costly and sometimes deadly incidents. A comprehensive approach for gathering and disseminating information, educating and training response personnel, and creating and updating a strategic plan could help reduce fatalities, damages, and recovery time when the next funnel cloud forms.
Trying to predict risks is a risk in itself. It is, of course, difficult to quantify numerically the overarching risk involving a particular asset. However, the more complex the assessment model used, the less likely it is that most people will understand it and the greater effort that must be made to explain and use the results.
Decision makers, managers, and responders who focus on special needs populations require additional planning to ensure the safe evacuation and well-being, following a major disaster, of those entrusted to their care. Among those populations, there are three distinct groups - those with transportation; those without transportation; and those who cannot or do not want to evacuate.
Some statistical data suggest that the crime rate is rising along the U.S.-Mexico border and "spilling over" into the United States. Other data, however, suggest that such crime has actually declined in recent years. The differing results are greatly affected by the definition of "spillover," gathering and interpreting accurate statistics, and taking a closer look at the problem from the perspective of those living near the border itself.
First responders have been specially trained to deal with fires, active shooters, hazardous materials, and other threats to public safety - but they are not as prepared for an attack that involves a combination of those threats, or even simultaneous attacks at several locations. One possible solution: Multi-discipline training to cope with, and defeat, multiple simultaneous threats.
The top priority of the responders who are called to a fire or other incident, of course, is scene safety. To reduce the chances of those responders becoming victims themselves, fire departments should communicate and work closely with law enforcement agencies to better understand the perimeters and resources that the law enforcement community uses to protect responders.
Although the Incident Command System (ICS) concept has been available for use since 1968, many law enforcement agencies are still faced with difficulties implementing ICS each and every time it is needed. When implemented properly, ICS can prevent some officers from dying in the line of duty.