Thorough planning that takes into account all of the potential problems, pitfalls, and outright disasters that might be encountered is key to the success of any major special event. Here is a comprehensive list, compiled by a highly respected career professional, of the questions to ask, the intangibles to remember, and the essential resources required to ensure that nothing spoils the party.
In 2011, the City of Virginia Beach hosted a day of special ceremonies honoring members of a Navy SEAL Team who had been killed in action during a high-risk operation in Afghanistan. The short-notice decision to salute these fallen heroes was fraught with numerous potential difficulties - but the City, with the help of numerous other agencies, overcame the potential obstacles and set a new standard for special event planning.
The South Carolina Region's healthcare coalition is bringing together various resources and knowledge to improve capabilities for mass-fatality incidents and subsequent family assistance operations. Through ongoing discussions, the coalition is able to address planning efforts - e.g., additional training and exercises, available morgue space, multi-jurisdiction cooperation, and various other aspects of fatality surge - that can be implemented and improved upon for years to come.
Most medium-sized or larger U.S. hospitals can handle multi-casualty incidents efficiently and effectively under normal circumstances. However, during major incidents such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or terrorist attacks, those same hospitals often require additional resources. Through interagency cooperation, new standards of care have been published to help better prepare for future crisis response situations.
The well-known military axiom that an army "travels on its stomach" applies equally to a nation - more so now than ever before, primarily because of the massive increase in the international trade of food and agricultural products that has taken place in recent years. For this reason, the accidental and/or intentional poisoning of food is now a major U.S. national priority that will undoubtedly grow in importance for many years to come.
For more than a century, the United States has followed a "forward defense" strategy - in other words, fighting the nation's battles overseas rather than in the United States itself. The 9/11 terrorist attacks led to the realization that homeland security must now begin at home. The federal government has acted accordingly, but individual states and cities still have a long way to go. Here are a few helpful suggestions to follow.
There are almost 50 million foodborne illnesses "of various types" in the United States, and over 3,000 deaths annually. Those are the grim statistics that persuaded the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the FDA, and NACCHO to expand and upgrade programs already in place to detect, control, and prevent the spread of foodborne diseases in cities and states throughout the country.
The numbers are staggering - U.S. subway systems carry literally billions of passengers every year, while all of the nation's airlines combined carry less than one billion! Today, airline passenger screening is routine, and reasonably thorough. However, there is little if any screening of subway passengers, making subways an easier target for a possible terrorist attack.
The so-called "standardization" of equipment is intended to lower costs, simplify procurement decisions, and also improve training and operational capabilities - theoretically, at least. When the standards previously approved are not followed, though, or are simply ignored, new and complex difficulties follow in short order. When those difficulties complicate CBRNE operations, the results could be almost cosmic in nature.
From the Pre-Colonial Era to the present, America has been a nation of volunteers. The tradition of neighbors helping neighbors is probably more important today, though, than ever before. The cost of dealing with a "relatively minor" CBRNE incident is prohibitively expensive, and it is likely to be years before, if ever, current budgetary restrictions can be eased even slightly.