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Emergency response
Date:11/11/2007

Disasters are getting worse it seems but the federal government's preparedness has been limited to helping after a disaster has occurred. On the other hand, local organizations often do not have the resources or the training to effectively react. Federal and state support must now be given to programs that enable local governments to work effectively with communities to prepare for and respond to all disasters. That is the conclusion of a new analysis released today in the Inderscience publication the International Journal of Emergency Management.

Colin Falato, Susan Smith, and Tyler Kress of the Health and Safety Programs at the University of Tennessee, have looked at the preparedness of local and federal governments in their response to natural and human-induced disasters and found them seriously lacking. They suggest that it should be the responsibility of local government officials as well as citizens to work together to adapt the disaster-response programs to suit communities' needs.

Historically, the belief that local knowledge and experience is best suited to dealing with common natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornados and floods, has meant that responsibility for disaster preparedness and response has been devolved to local organizations and communities themselves. Federal government intervention has been limited to assistance after the disaster. The same is true for other natural, civil, technological, and ecological disasters, the researchers explain.

In the last 25 years, the researchers point out, the continental USA has issued almost 1000 disaster declarations (902) and been subjected to 442 natural disasters. Among these natural disasters are hurricanes, fires, windstorms, earthquakes, tornados and floods. But, disasters are not limited to natural events.

September 11, 2001 refocused the countrys attention on disaster preparedness and the realization that there was a lack of preparedness for such disaster
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Contact: Susan Smith
smsmith@utk.edu
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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