Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Two-Word Story: All Gone

All gone. (Photo from Reuters)

All gone. (Photo from Bright Hope)
All gone. (Photo from Shutterstock)

Two-word story:

All gone.

I’ll let you decide which photo fits best.

Dawn Pisturino

April 28, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

13 Comments »

Books and Censorship

“Censorship — The Assassination of an Idea.” ~Bookmans Entertainment Exchange~

What’s in the raging flame
of banned books burning?
Knowledge, truth, learning,
courage, freedom, yearning.
~Terri Guillemets~

Banned Books Week will be held from September 18 – 24, 2022. But censorship is an everyday concern, especially for writers, poets, artists, journalists, and other creative people. We’re seeing too much of it right now in the current political climate.

We’ve seen authors mobbed on Amazon and other sites and deliberately given poor ratings simply because the content of a book did not conform to the narrative of the people mobbing the book. This is using censorship and harassment (bullying) to create a politically correct environment where creativity is essentially dead. Show me one writer/artist worth his salt who is politically correct! Only sell-outs conform to the mob.

(Berlin book burning, 1933)

The Nazis confiscated and burned any book that they deemed “un-German.” What does that even mean? No more French porn? No Italian cookbooks? No English poetry? Who decided what was “un-German?” And it wasn’t just books that were condemned. Music, architecture, inventions, paintings, sculptures, and even dress fashions had to conform to a certain German aesthetic. Who wants to live like that? Who wants the government deciding what you can eat, read, think, create?

The Bolsheviks did the same thing after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Anything reminiscent of the previous regime was confiscated, suppressed, burned, destroyed, and labeled “too bourgeois.” The great Russian composer, Rachmaninoff, emigrated to America because his music was condemned by the Communist authorities. The great Russian writer, Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, was censored and suppressed. If his novel had not been smuggled out of Russia, a great piece of literature would have been lost to the world. Doctor Zhivago describes this shameful period in world history.

Chairman Mao did the same thing in China. The Chinese Communist Party is STILL suppressing free speech and writers who speak out against oppression. The CCP STILL controls access to information and the content of that information. American companies like Twitter and Facebook help the CCP censor and control information in China. That’s how they are allowed to do business there.

In the United States, the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment GUARANTEE every American citizen the right of free speech and peaceable assembly to express that free speech. Free speech makes some people uncomfortable. It causes some people to feel threatened. It makes some people close their minds to new ideas. It opens the minds of others. It is divisive, combative, uniting, liberating, threatening, and compromising — all at the same time. Free speech is the basis of CREATIVITY. Free speech is the foundation of FREEDOM. Taking it one step further, FREEDOM is the bedrock on which FREE SPEECH and CREATIVITY stand. If we lose our freedom and submit to totalitarianism, we may as well start looking for another universe to inhabit, because the freedom to CREATE and EXPRESS OURSELVES will be as extinct as the dinosaurs.

(NOTE: violence is not an expression of free speech and is NOT protected by the U.S. Constitution. Devolving into burning, looting, shooting, destroying private and public property, tearing down statues, committing assault and battery, killing police, and threatening people, is just criminal behavior committed by people who have no respect for law and order. These people belong in jail. Furthermore, there is a big difference between exercising free speech and engaging in a two-way debate and just being rude, ill-mannered, and stupid. There was a time when our society valued good manners and intelligent debate.)

(NOTE: Some famous writers banned or partially banned in Nazi Germany: Aldous Huxley, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, C.S. Lewis, Jack London, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, and Oscar Wilde.)

Thank you for stopping by!

Dawn Pisturino

January 7, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

19 Comments »

Poems About Books

There is no Frigate like a Book

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears the Human Soul –

~ Emily Dickinson ~

The Land of Story-Books

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

~ W.B. Yeats ~

Good Books

Good books are friendly things to own.
If you are busy they will wait.
They will not call you on the phone
Or wake you if the hour is late.
They stand together row by row,
Upon the low shelf or the high.
But if you’re lonesome this you know:
You have a friend or two nearby.

The fellowship of books is real.
They’re never noisy when you’re still.
They won’t disturb you at your meal.
They’ll comfort you when you are ill.
The lonesome hours they’ll always share.
When slighted they will not complain.
And though for them you’ve ceased to care
Your constant friends they’ll still remain.

Good books your faults will never see
Or tell about them round the town.
If you would have their company
You merely have to take them down.
They’ll help you pass the time away,
They’ll counsel give if that you need.
He has true friends for night and day
Who has a few good books to read.

~ Edgar Albert Guest ~

Here’s to good reading!!

Dawn Pisturino

January 7, 2022

8 Comments »

Books I’m Reading Right Now

For 2022, I vowed to take the time to read more books. I read a lot anyways, but I want to spend less time watching TV and more time reading. I have five bookcases full of books, and many of them I haven’t read yet. What’s that saying? “Too many books, too little time.” Time to catch up!

Books I’m reading right now:

“I want to bury myself in a den of books. I want to saturate myself with the elements of which they are made and breathe their atmosphere until I am of it.” ~ General Lew Wallace, 1885, author of Ben Hur.

To converse with the greats

by Vera Pavlova

To converse with the greats

by trying their blindfolds on;

to correspond with books

by rewriting them;

to edit holy edicts,

and at the midnight hour

to talk with the clock by tapping a wall

in the solitary confinement of the universe.

Dawn Pisturino

January 5, 2022

15 Comments »

Where have I been Published?

Historic Bonelli House Museum, Kingman, Arizona. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.

Where have I been published?

Poetry Anthologies:

World Poetry Anthology, 1987

Best New Poems of 1988

Great Poems of Today, 1987

New American Poetry Anthology, 1988

 National Poetry Anthology, 1988

American Poetry Anthology, 1988

Newspaper Articles:

Kingman Daily Miner – I had my own Health & Wellness Column in 2007

The Standard

Bullhead City Bee

Websites:

Masticadores USA

Iowa Life Blog

SelfGrowth.com

Committee for Direct Democracy

Scribd.com

F-Documents

ISSUU.com

 Underneath the Juniper Tree

 Smash Fascism

Cosmic Health Blog

Summer Eden Poetry Center

WordPress

Digital Ezines:

Underneath the Juniper Tree

Brooklyn Voice

Helmet Hair Motorcycle News

Danse Macabre du Jour

Psychic Magic Ezine

Working Writer

Print Publications:

Discussion Bulletin

New Unionist

Committee for Direct Democracy Information Packet

I appreciate every single one of my followers. I enjoy reading your comments and the posts on all of your blogs.

Thank you!

Dawn Pisturino

November 1, 2021

Copyright 2011-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

27 Comments »

Community Engagement: The Boston Marathon Bombing

Photo Credit: Britannica

The Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013 changed how police departments communicate with the public during important emergency events. For the first time, social media played a critical role in communicating information about the bombings and capturing the culprits (Haddow, 2017).

On the day of the bombings, Commissioner of Police Ed Davis held a press conference. He calmly explained what happened and reassured the public that Boston had a comprehensive emergency response plan in place. The FBI, State Police, National Guard, and ATF were already in the city, offering their services. The Commissioner exuded confidence, control, and common sense. He asked for the public’s help in capturing the perpetrators (Global Breaking News, 2013).

Commissioner of Police Ed Davis and the Boston Police Department were committed to providing accurate, timely information to the public and keeping the lines of two-way communication open. He asked people to stay home and away from crowds for their own safety. He asked people to call the Mayor’s hotline and the Boston PD TIPS line with information (Global Breaking News, 2013).

The Boston Police Department was a leader in using social media to communicate with the public. Photos, videos, and information were shared through Twitter, Facebook, and websites. Inaccurate information was quickly corrected. It was noted by Bar-Tur that “BPD’s presence online helps reinvent the whole notion of community policing for the 21st century” (Haddow, p. 185, 2017). When the Tsarnaev brothers were finally caught, Boston Police Department tweeted a resounding “CAPTURED!!!” (Haddow, p. 185, 2017).

Instead of cowering in fear and feeling powerless, the Boston community was kept involved. This community empowerment contributed to situational awareness and the recovery of Boston after the event.

Global Breaking News. (Presenter). (2013, April 15). First press conference boston marathon

       bomb attack [Video file].Retrieved from (link not working):

Haddow, G.D., Bullock, J.A., & Coppola, D.P. (2017). Introduction to emergency

       management. (6th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Elsevier.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

October 7, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

4 Comments »

Giuliani vs. Nagin: How Mayors Respond to Disasters

New York Daily News Photo

Both the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in New York City and Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 were major disasters. One was a manmade disaster and the other a natural disaster. In New York City, the damage was contained in Manhattan. But in New Orleans, the damage was widespread and uncontrolled.

On the night of September 11, 2001, Mayor Rudy Giuliani held a press conference to inform citizens of New York City and the entire nation of what happened, the response to the event, and future recovery. He talked about his own experiences during the event and how he and the people with him survived.

Mayor Giuliani presented himself as calm, rational, and confident. He maintained his composure and self-control. He made it clear to the public that everything was under control. He reassured them that everything was okay, and they were safe.

His message was positive and hopeful. He honored the victims and praised the people who had evacuated in a peaceful and civilized manner and helped each other along the way. He emphasized how proud he was of the people and first responders of New York City.

Giuliani became emotional when talking about the first responders and fire and police personnel who died. He asked everyone to pray for the victims and to be grateful that they were alive.

Towards the end of the news conference, he stressed that members of the Muslim community would be protected. He condemned all acts of vigilante violence and retaliation. He asked people who worked in Manhattan to stay home from work.

The mayor projected a feeling of hope, security, and confidence that the U.S. government would deal with the perpetrators and New York City would rebuild and be stronger than before.

Three days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin made an impassioned plea on WWL Radio for help. He described the horrific conditions in New Orleans and the lack of response by FEMA and the federal government. His anger and frustration were real. He was clearly traumatized by events.

When I was listening to him, I kept thinking that here is a man who feels powerless. There was apparently no clear chain of command or designated people in authority. Mayor Nagin was there, on the ground, asking for the authority to do something from people who seemed indifferent to the situation. He reminded everyone that FEMA knew about the problems with the pumping stations and did nothing. He wanted to know when the help promised by the federal government was coming. He deplored the fact that valuable resources were being wasted on looters and lawlessness instead of rescuing and helping victims.

At the end of the broadcast, he called on the public to be active in contacting authorities and demanding help for New Orleans. He contrasted the immediate response and aftermath of 9/11 to the lack of response to New Orleans. He was outraged.

Mayor Nagin had every right to be outraged by the slow response to Hurricane Katrina. And maybe his angry message was what it took to get things done.

Authentic History. (Presenter). (2011, January 11). 9/11 news coverage: 10:00 pm: Mayor rudy

       giuliani press conference [Video file]. Retrieved from  

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DZw0Q6WUsA.

Froomkin, M. (Presenter). (2005, September 2). Interview with mayor ray nagin of new orleans

       [Audio file]. Retrieved from

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

October 7, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

3 Comments »

What 9/11 Taught Us about Communications and Social Media


What Happened on September 11, 2001
:

„ At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City (911 Memorial, 2018).

„ John Murphy, CEO of Oppenheimer Funds, was jogging in Battery Park when he saw the smoke. He assumed that an airplane had inadvertently crashed into the World Trade Center (Argenti, 2002).

„ Mary Beth Bardin, executive vice-president of public affairs and communications at Verizon, was stuck in traffic when she noticed the smoke. She assumed that a building was on fire in downtown Manhattan. When the cab driver turned on the news, she learned that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center (Argenti, 2002).

„ Verizon suffered major communications damage. “The attack knocked out 300,000 voice access lines and 4.5 million data circuits and left ten cellular towers inactive, depriving 14,000 businesses and 20,000 residential customers of service” (Argenti, para. 9, 2002).

„ Communication breakdowns abounded during the emergency response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. 911 operators had no clue of what was actually happening. Orders to evacuate were misunderstood or not received. Telephone lines were jammed with callers. Signals to firefighter radios failed. Public address and intercom systems inside the World Trade Center went out (CBS News, 2004; Sharp, 2011).

„ Confusion and lack of situational awareness led to higher casualties. People in the South Tower were told not to evacuate and to wait for instructions and help from emergency personnel. Others evacuated up, toward the roof, not knowing that they needed a key to get onto the roof (CBS News, 2004).

„ A “long-standing rivalry between the NYPD and FDNY” (CBS News, para. 23, 2004) led to disputes over command authority. Fire and police personnel were using different radio channels and could not communicate with one another (CBS News, 2004; Sharp, 2011). A repeater system installed in the World Trade Center after the 1993 bombing was not completely functional (Sharp, 2011). All of these issues were addressed in the 9/11 Commission Report.

* * *

People in New York City Knew Something was Happening, but They Didn’t Know What!

A lot of Changes have Happened Since 9/11:

Post-9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was created, and a National Incident Management System was established to designate clear lines of authority during disaster events.

„ The role of Communications has evolved.

„ Better technologies have been developed.

„ The rise of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social media networks has allowed two-way communication with the public.

„ Emergency managers now hire trained communication specialists to communicate accurate, timely information to the media, community and national leaders, and the public. (Haddow, 2017).

* * *

Why are these Changes Important?

„ New York City now has a state-of-the-art fire department operations center. During a disaster, the FDOC contacts other agencies for help. Personnel report to FDOC senior staff. The department’s incident management teams can be activated. FDOC can access NYPD videos, the Department of Transportation digital photographs, and live videos from media helicopters and ground vehicles. FDOC can monitor, record, and replay radio transmissions from Fire, EMS, NYPD, OEM, and others. FDOC can act as a command center. (Sharp, 2011)

„ FDNY now uses multi-frequency radio systems to communicate with each other and NYPD (Sharp, 2011).

„ Training in National Incident Management System processes is now mandatory to ensure that agencies are working together, using the same language, and sharing information with each other (Sharp, 2011).

„ The changes made in New York City have been duplicated in communities all across the country.

„ Community first responders now have social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to educate the public about disaster preparedness; relay accurate, timely information to the public during a disaster event; and help members of the community to register for disaster aid and find relief shelters (Haddow, 2017).

* * *

Use the Internet for Disaster Information:

„ In 2001, YouTube, Google News, Facebook, and Twitter did not exist (Praetorius, 2012).

„ Today, the Internet allows free access to all kinds of information:

„ Social networks like Facebook

„ Blogs like Blogger and WordPress

„ Microblogs like Twitter

„ Crowdsourcing and Forums like LiveJournal

„ Digital Mapping like Google Maps

„ Websites

„ Podcasts and TV and Radio broadcasts

„ Video Sharing like YouTube

„ Photo Sharing like Instagram

„ Wiki sites like Wikipedia (Haddow, 2017).

* * *

Participate with Social Media:

„ “Social media is imperative to emergency management because the public uses these communication tools regularly” (Haddow, p. 171, 2017).

„ Submitting videos, photos, digital maps, and information

„ Receiving information about casualties, injuries, and damage

„ Communicating with friends, family, and co-workers

„ Raising money for disaster relief

„ Learning about preparedness and evacuation routes

„ Receiving guidance, information, and moral support

„ Learning how to find relief shelters and registering for aid

„ Access to FEMA information

„ Access to press conferences and local news (Haddow, 2017).

* * *

Summing it all Up:

„ “The mission of an effective disaster communication strategy is to provide timely and accurate information to the public in all four phases of emergency management” (Haddow, p. 162, 2017).

„ “Information sharing is the basis of effective disaster communications” (Haddow, p. 191, 2017).

(This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC By-NC-ND)

* * *

Honor the Heroes!

(This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC By-NC-ND)

View the Power Point Presentation on Dropbox:

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

October 7, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

References

911Memorial. (2018). 9/11 Memorial Timeline. Retrieved from http://www.timeline.911memorial.org/#FrontPage.

Argenti, P. (2002, December). Crisis communication: Lessons from

9/11. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://www.hbr.org/2002/12/crisis-communication-lessons-

from-911.

Associated Press. (2004, May). Communication breakdown on

9/11. CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/communication- breakdown-on-9-11.

Haddow, G.D., Bullock, J.A., & Coppola, D.P. (2017). Introduction to emergency management. (6th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Elsevier.

Praetorius, D. (2012, November). How social media would have changed new york on 9/11. Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/social-media-9-11-new-York_b_ 1872764.

Sharp, K. (2011, September). Interoperability & other lessons from 9/11.

       Public Safety Communications. Retrieved from https://psc.apcointl.org/2011/09/06/911-10-years-later

7 Comments »

Communications and Social Media in Emergency Management

FEMA communications station

At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.  Seventeen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 smashed into the South Tower.  At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 nose-dived into the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia.  All three airlines had been hijacked by members of the radical Islamic terrorist organization, Al Qaeda (Haddow, 2017; 911 Memorial, 2018).

Communication breakdowns were widespread during the emergency response to the attacks on the World Trade Center.  911 operators did not know what was actually happening.  Evacuation orders were confused and misleading.  Telephone lines were jammed with callers, and cell towers were down.  Signals to firefighter radios failed.    Public address and intercom systems inside the World Trade Center went out (CBS News, 2004; Sharp, 2011).

Confusion and lack of situational awareness led to higher casualties, especially among first responders.  People in the South Tower were told not to evacuate and to wait for instructions and aid from emergency personnel.  Others evacuated up, toward the roof, not knowing that they needed a key to get outside to the roof (CBS News, 2004).

Fire and police personnel were using different radio channels and could not communicate with one another (CBS News, 2004; Sharp, 2011).  A repeater system installed in the World Trade Center after the 1993 bombing was not completely functional (Sharp, 2011).

By the time the Boston Marathon bombings occurred on April 15, 2013, emergency managers had learned the importance of communications during disaster events.  For the first time, social media played a critical role in communicating information about the bombings and capturing the culprits (Haddow, 2017).

The Boston Police Department was a leader in using social media to communicate with the public.  Photos, videos, and information were shared through Twitter, Facebook, and websites.  Inaccurate information was quickly corrected.  When the Tsarnaev brothers were finally caught, Boston Police Department tweeted a resounding “CAPTURED!!!” (Haddow, p. 185, 2017).

“Information sharing is the basis of effective disaster communications” (Haddow, p. 191, 2017). The public needs to know what is happening and where to get help.  TV, radio, and newspapers have been the traditional media used for information.  But the use of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter has changed all that.

“Social media is imperative to emergency management because the public uses these communication tools regularly” (Haddow, p. 171, 2017).  Not only can members of the public receive accurate and timely information from reliable sources, but they can help response efforts by submitting videos, photos, digital maps, and other information.

The use of social media allows friends and family to communicate with one another.  They can view press conferences by local and national leaders.  Information about shelters and registering for aid is readily available.  People can contribute donations through websites (Haddow, 2017).

On the downside, social media has been responsible for spreading hysteria and misinformation across the Internet.  “Misleading, faulty, or malicious information or pictures” (Haddow, p. 161, 2017) can hamper response and relief efforts.  Dishonest people have been known to solicit donations for relief aid that never reached the intended source.  When terrorism is involved, calls for retaliation are often posted.

Emergency managers have found that interacting with the public through two-way communication is an effective tool during disaster events.  When emergency managers and local leaders commit themselves to providing timely and accurate information to the public, the whole community benefits.  Communication specialists are now an important part of every Office of Emergency Management.  They work with the local media to get disaster and relief information out quickly and effectively.  Understanding what is actually going on helps members of the public to make well-informed decisions about evacuation, relief aid, and recovery (Haddow, 2017).

“The mission of an effective disaster communications strategy is to provide timely and accurate information to the public in all four phases of emergency management” (Haddow, p.162, 2017).  Social media can provide information about disaster preparedness and limiting damages resulting from disasters.   Local emergency responders can provide warnings of an impending event, information about evacuation routes, and up-to-date details about an ongoing event.  After the event, social media and websites can help people register for and receive disaster aid.  The FEMA website offers complete information about its mission and what services are available to disaster victims (Haddow, 2017).

Decades of experience have taught emergency managers the value of effective communication.  Improved communication technology and social media contribute enormously to that goal.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

October 10, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

References

911 Memorial. (2018). 9/11 Memorial Timeline. Retrieved from

       http://www.timeline.911Memorial.org/#FrontPage.

Associated Press. (2004, May). Communication breakdown on 9/11. CBS News. Retrieved from

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/communication-breakdown-on-9-11.

Haddow, G.D., Bullock, J.A., & Coppola, D.P. (2017). Introduction to emergency management.

       (6th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Elsevier.

Sharp, K. (2011, September). Interoperability & other lessons from 9/11. Public Safety

       Communications. Retrieved from

7 Comments »

9/11, the Incident Command System, and the National Incident Management System

Incident Command System and the National Incident Management System

[Twenty] years ago, America changed forever.  Protecting our nation from terrorist attacks became the primary objective.  The systems and operations developed to prepare, plan, mitigate, respond, and recover from terrorist attacks expanded to include ALL disasters.  We now have a national disaster plan which is utilized at the local, tribal, state, and federal levels.

Brief Overview of the Events of 9/11

At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.  Seventeen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 smashed into the South Tower.  At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 nose-dived into the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia.  All three airplanes had been hijacked by members of the radical Islamic terrorist organization, Al Qaeda (Haddow, 2017; 911 Memorial, 2018).

“The use of fuel-filled planes caused catastrophic fires in all three buildings impacted, and this led to collapse of both World Trade Center towers and the wing of the Pentagon directly affected” (Haddow, 2017, p. 393).  The federal government has spent more than $20 billion on the response and recovery of the World Trade Center attacks alone.  On the positive side, the events of 9/11 led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the development and implementation of a more comprehensive and advanced national response to disasters, regardless of size and cause (Haddow, 2017).

The Core Components of the National Incident Management System (NIMS)

“NIMS was created to integrate effective practices in emergency preparedness and response into a comprehensive national framework for incident management” (Haddow, 2017, p.247).  Its flexibility allows it to adapt to any kind of disaster, from routine incidents involving local communities to large-scale events, such as hurricanes or earthquakes (DHS, 2008).  NIMS provides a template for “coordination and standardization among emergency management/response personnel and their affiliated organizations” (DHS, 2008, p.7).

The National Incident Management System is guided by five core components: preparedness; communications and information management; resource management; command and management; and ongoing management and maintenance.  The National Integration Center is responsible for directing NIMS, using the latest technology and operational systems (DHS, 2008).

Preparedness is a multi-task discipline which uses assessment skills; advanced planning; appropriate procedures and protocols; up-to-date training and practice exercises; skilled personnel with the proper licensure and certification; the latest technology and equipment; and the ability to evaluate responses to events and revise protocols and procedures for improved responses to future events (DHS, 2008).

Communications and information management are crucial to emergency responders because all command and coordination stations must share a common goal and operating system in order to work effectively as a team (DHS, 2008).

Resource management demands that “the flow of resources [personnel, equipment, etc.] be fluid and adaptable to the requirements of the incident” (DHS, 2008, p. 8)  Without a well-coordinated movement of resources to the disaster site, responders cannot do their job in a timely and efficient manner.

Command and management “enable effective and efficient incident management and coordination by providing a flexible, standardized incident management structure” (DHS, 2008, p. 8) which involves the Incident Command System, Multi-agency Coordination Systems, and public information.  Jurisdiction, authority, and multi-agency involvement must be decided and coordinated before and during the disaster event for the response to be successful.

Ongoing management and maintenance by the National Integration Center ensures that the National Incident Management System will always perform at a top-notch level.  Failures and successes must be evaluated and addressed and systems refined accordingly (DHS, 2008).

How the Components of NIMS Support and Complete the Incident Command System (ICS)

“NIMS was developed as an outgrowth of ICS that allows for increased interorganizational coordination that is not necessarily addressed under standard ICS structures.  The system is designed to be a more comprehensive incident management system than ICS because it goes beyond the field-level incident command and control and addresses all phases of emergency management, as well as all stakeholders (including the NGO and private sectors).  It does not, however, replace ICS” (Haddow, 2017, p. 248).

The National Incident Management System provides a template by which the ICS can operate more efficiently.  It is an upper management organizational system that oversees the entire operation of a disaster event (Haddow, 2008).

The Incident Command System falls under the command and management component of the National Incident Management System.  ICS addresses all hazards, regardless of cause, at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels.  NGOs and the private sector are also included (DHS, 2008).

The ICS standardizes the use of common terminology for all agencies involved; inventories and describes resources used; and records incident fatalities (DHS, 2008).

A flexible organizational system adapts the ICS to the needs of a particular event.  A small, community-based incident will require less manpower and fewer resources than an event on the scale of Hurricane Katrina (DHS, 2008).

ICS develops a set of objectives by which an event can be measured, studied, and evaluated.  This is important for quality improvement.  The Incident Commander or Unified Commander creates an Incident Action Plan which “should guide all response activities” (DHS, 2008, p. 47).  There should be enough staff and supervisors involved to make the work flow go as planned (DHS, 2008).

The Incident Commander determines and oversees the locations of command facilities.  Resources must be carefully managed to control costs and availability.  Communication systems must be set up and maintained to provide optimal information sharing and communication (DHS, 2008).

How NIMS and ICS were Utilized in the Events of 9/11

The events of 9/11 resulted in a large number of fatalities among first responders.  It became necessary to re-evaluate and re-write appropriate procedures and protocols.  At that time, there were no procedures in place to deal with terrorist attacks.  The Department of Homeland Security was created, which absorbed FEMA into its structure.  The National Incident Management System gradually developed and was finally published in 2008 (Hadddow, 2017).

As soon as the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked on 9/11, New York City emergency dispatchers sent police, paramedics, and firefighters to the site.  Battalion  Chief Joseph Pfeifer of the New York City Fire Department dispatched additional fire personnel and equipment.  The Port Authority Police Department, which was responsible for the security of the World Trade Center, went into action to help with evacuation and rescue (911 Memorial, 2018).

President Bush was notified at 8:50 a.m.  At 8:55 a.m., the South Tower was declared secure, and no evacuation attempts were made. Four minutes later, it was decided to evacuate both towers.  And, at 9:00 a.m., all civilians were ordered to evacuate the World Trade Center complex.  At 9:02 a.m., evacuation efforts were underway, when the South Tower was attacked at 9:03 a.m.  President Bush was further informed at 9:05 a.m., and Mayor Rudy Giuliani arrived at the New York City Police Department Command Post (911 Memorial, 2018).

At 9:30 a.m., the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management evacuated its office at the World Trade Center.  Vice-President Dick Cheney was evacuated from the White House (911 Memorial, 2018).

The Pentagon attack occurred at 9:37 a.m.  Emergency personnel immediately responded.  At 9:45 a.m., the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building were evacuated (911 Memorial, 2018).

The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed at 9:59 a.m.  At 10:15 a.m., the Pentagon E-ring collapsed.  The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed at 10:28 a.m., and the evacuation of lower Manhattan began at 11:02 a.m.  At 5:20 p.m., the entire World Trade Center collapsed.  All efforts after that were dedicated to putting out the fires, securing the crime site, finding and rescuing survivors, recovering the dead, identifying victims, and removing and cleaning up debris and body parts (Haddow, 2017; 911 Memorial, 2018).

In 2002, two after-action reports were released: Improving NYPD Emergency Preparedness and Response and Arlington County After-Action Report on the Response to the 9/11 Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon.  These reports helped to shape improvements in the emergency management discipline (Haddow, 2017).

The NYPD report identified twenty areas of improvement, with six warranting immediate action: “clearer delineation of roles and responsibilities of organizational leaders; better clarity in the chain of command; radio communications protocols and procedures that optimize information flow; more effective mobilization of response staff; more efficient provisioning and distribution of emergency and donated equipment; a comprehensive disaster response plan with a significant counterterrorism component” (Haddow, 2017).

It is easy to see here how the implementation of the National Incident Management System would have improved the response to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.  The Command and Management Component would have helped to define the authority of the Incident Commander and to clarify the chain of command.  The Communications and Information Management Component would have centralized communications and information sharing to present a clear picture of what was happening and what was needed.  The Resource Management Component would have coordinated the flow of personnel and equipment to the site to more efficiently deal with the disaster.  The Ongoing Management and Maintenance Component would have ensured that a comprehensive plan was in place to manage a major terrorist attack.  The Preparedness Component would have ensured that New York City was ready to bring all agencies together to work as an expert team in responding to a major disaster (DHS, 2008).

The response to the Pentagon attack was deemed a success due to its quick, coordinated, well-prepared response based on the Incident Command System.  Arlington County already had a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan in place.  The Arlington County Fire Department had already considered the possibility of a weapons of mass destruction scenario and was well-prepared to respond (Haddow, 2017).

Conclusion

It is unfortunate that disasters have to occur in order to improve emergency management as a discipline and emergency response as a necessity of life.  But complacency is not an option.  Preparation is the key to effective response and recovery when disasters do occur.  The Incident Command System, guided by the core components of the National Incident Management System, is an effective tool for coordinating and managing preparation, planning, mitigation, response, and recovery of major disasters on the local, tribal, state, and federal levels.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

September 18, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

References

911 Memorial. (2018 ). 9/11 Memorial Timeline. Retrieved from

       http://www.timeline.911memorial.org/#FrontPage

Department of Homeland Security. (2008). National incident management system.

       Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov/nims.

Haddow, G.D., Bullock, J.A., & Coppola, D.P. (2017). Introduction to emergency

       management. (6th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Elsevier.

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