Most organizations can perform well when conditions are at their best, but it’s those truly epic “bad days” when dependability and performance are most important. Given how poorly the Washington, DC, Metro system has been performing on its “good days,” is there any reason to believe it will be able to perform under horrific conditions?
By Tim Stephens
Healthcare is the largest single sector of the U. S. economy, and the continuity of this sector is essential to the functioning of all American infrastructure sectors. Yet, federal funding of hospital preparedness is not at a scale necessary to move the system or achieve its stated goals.
On October 10, 2001, I stood in the field of wreckage of the World Trade Center. Now, a dozen years later, I returned to the site of that destruction and terror. The memory of 9/11 persists, but the wreckage is long gone, replaced by the One World Trade Center. On this 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, building a resilient nation is as important as it has ever been. The World Trade Center site offers many lessons in that regard.
In an era of diminished budgets and vanishing security grants, a recent break in at the Carters Lake Water Treatment Plant in Georgia highlights how the federal government is leaving small water systems, and the communities they serve, hanging in the wind. I’m not suggesting DHS throw obscene amounts of money at rural water systems, but I would argue that these systems can make major strides with small amounts of money.
As the Boston area recovers from the tragic and unprecedented events of the past week, the lessons learned will be far reaching. Emergency management professionals, like their counterparts in law enforcement, are pretty good culturally at pulling together “after-action” reports that chronicle what they did right and what they can do better next time. Those lessons learned will offer new chapters to study and consider in terms of planning and preparations for any future incidents of this magnitude but in terms of the private sector, there are a number of lessons learned that need to be studied as well.
For anyone alive eleven years ago, September 11 will always be a date on the calendar when you immediately remember where you were and what you were doing when all hell broke loose. History records many unforgettable days, but as the rawness of that day’s memories ebbs, the lessons learned continue to ripple in many ways. In the discussion on safety and security, one of the often-overlooked aspects is the impact that day had on business.
There has been a great deal of media coverage relating to an FBI/DHS document detailing likely anarchist activity during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The vast majority of that coverage has related to the threat of anarchists using Molotov cocktails, acid filled eggs, or even IEDs and IIDs. It appears an FBI/DHS report over-states and sensationalizes some of the likely threats from anarchists, as most recently expressed in their Joint Intelligence Bulletin released August 21, 2012.
It’s not easy being the police department responsible for hosting a National Special Security Event (NSSE). The fundamental requirement for a police department hosting an NSSE is to understand the threat so the response is proportionate and effective. Anarchists and Extreme Left Wing groups are not synonymous with protesters, but in the effort to combat the former, law-abiding protesters are often dragged into the fray. Signals from Tampa in advance of the Republican National Convention suggest the planned police response does not understand the threat.
Last night, protest organizers for Chicago G8 were celebrating their perceived victory of the move of the G8 to Camp David. However, despite what seems to be a common perception, the move will not affect the protests in Chicago. There are a number of serious issues facing Chicago Police, including their tactics and command preparation and the attendance of the anarchist community.
By Jay Alan
At some point during my day I can usually see the scaffolding atop the landmark National Cathedral here in Washington, D.C. — a reminder of damage from the August earthquake. And a reminder that disaster can strike anywhere at anytime. We all know and preach the doctrine of preparedness, but building resiliency and knowledge takes time. This effort takes another great step forward on Feb. 7. The Great Central U.S. Shakeout will occur at 10:15am CST, with (as of this writing) 1.7 million people in nine states practicing the ‘duck, cover and hold’ earthquake drill.