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  Homeland Security      
         
 

homeland iconDespite our best efforts to reduce risks, catastrophic events can occur that overwhelm local first emergency responders. Such an event could be a terrorist attack or an act of nature. Local police, fire and emergency medical services will be on the scene first and find themselves unable to provide the magnitude and mixture of services needed. Theirs is a holding and rescue operation pending the arrival of regional second responders and perhaps third level federal responders. The 2nd and 3rd levels of responders constitute a mixture of well-trained professionals and others less skilled but very willing to help (e.g., uninjured civilians). The types and numbers of second and third level responders who are needed is a function of the type of major event. The responding specialists should be trained in any one or more of the following: HAZMAT removal, bomb disposal, crime scene analysis, infrastructure repair, medical triage, mobile communications, etc.

Key to the success of a coordinated response is up-front planning. No one wants to contemplate another terrible event such as 9/11/01. But without adequate response planning, the numbers of serious injuries and lives lost after the event may be greater than the numbers injured and lost instantaneously as a direct consequence of the event. Planning can save lives, oftentimes many lives.

Under a three-year grant from the Department of Homeland Security-funded Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorist Events (CREATE) at the University of Southern California, our goal is to develop a deep understanding of the realities of emergency response to catastrophic events and to develop a set of quantitatively based tools to assist planners in designing informed emergency response plans for such disasters. Using the tools to assess and improve the quality of any municipality's emergency response plans - when applied to acts of nature or terrorists attacks - should save lives.

Emergency Response Planning
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