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Date:11/11/2007

s. One effect of the 9/11 Commission was to mould two new organizations charged with the responsibility of protecting the USA from a new era of technological disasters. The US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) is the military arm responsible for homeland defense and the US Department of Homeland Security, which leads a unified national effort to secure the USA from potential terrorist attacks.

Four directorates were brought together from Homeland Security, including the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, which includes FEMA, and is tasked with domestic disaster preparedness training to help families make their homes safer from disasters of all kinds. This is similar in aims to the CitizenCorps developed by NORTHCOM. These initiatives are already having an impact on response capacity and equipment availability for certain communities in the USA. However, the rapid response required of a national disaster situation involves training local elected officials in every community to take control in a disaster situation.

The recent focus of US disaster funding has focused on terrorist events, but the benefits from this technological disaster preparedness orientation should crossover to natural disaster preparedness, the researchers suggest. In the US fledgling agencies are only now beginning to find their niche in the comprehensive overview of emergency management and the benefits they will be able to provide to communities have not been fully realized.

"It is the responsibility of the local governments to encourage the participation in disaster exercises and planning, and they must demonstrate a commitment to community disaster preparedness," the researchers say, "When these roles are met head on, then local communities within the USA will truly be better prepared when a local or national disaster, natural or technological occurs."


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Contact: Susan Smith
smsmith@utk.edu
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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