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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 »

Radical Islamic Bullies

While discussing the liberation of Afghanistan from the Soviet Union, many people fail to understand that Osama bin Laden was one of the freedom fighters (mujahideen) who helped to defeat the Soviets. The United States backed these freedom fighters economically and militarily.

Afghanistan is where bin Laden and his followers learned to use weapons, engage in guerilla warfare, and the art of making bombs. Bin Laden — a Saudi Islamic fundamentalist — objected to the presence of U.S. military bases on “holy soil” in Saudi Arabia. He organized the terrorist group Al-Qaeda to fight westernization in Muslim countries and the U.S. itself. It was Saudis linked to Al-Qaeda who slammed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

President Bill Clinton and the CIA warned the American people about Al-Qaeda, but people did not know enough about radical Islam to understand. Nor could they imagine such a terrible thing happening.

Instead of addressing the problem head on, President Bush invaded Iraq and avoided any major military action against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where their camps were actually located. This was incomprehensible to many people. (If he was going to break international law and invade a country, it should have been Afghanistan.)

Under President Obama’s watch, bin Laden was finally killed and Al-Qaeda temporarily dispersed. But another threat emerged: ISIS. They announced their presence to the world through video-taped beheadings of Western journalists and other unlucky victims. Instead of taking these horrific actions seriously, Europe failed to act, and President Obama laughed and called them “J.V.” Realistically, the western world should have acted after the first beheading.

NO RADICAL ISLAMIC GROUP CAN BE WRITTEN OFF AS NOTHING BECAUSE ALL OF THESE GROUPS ARE WILLING TO USE VIOLENCE AND A CALL TO ISLAMIC UNITY AND PURITY TO PROMOTE THEIR AGENDAS. The media either downplays these groups or portrays them as “victims” of colonialism, even though European colonialism ended a long time ago. In point of fact, the Islamic governments which arose after colonialism puppet governments failed, are the real culprits.

The Muslim world has been uniquely divided against itself since the time of the the Prophet Muhammad. Westernization, which brought many countries into the 20th century, has been rejected over and over again when fundamentalist regimes have taken power. In Afghanistan, the Taliban were allowed to take over, resulting in an extreme form of Islamic oppression. The media – and the current Biden administration – does a poor job of reporting on situations like this. The realities of these events are so far removed from American life that people cannot comprehend the horrors of daily life for people in Afghanistan. Before the fall of Kabul, a poll revealed that 75% of the Afghanistan population hated the Taliban. People who were desperate to leave the country died, trying to get on airplanes leaving the airport.

Terrorism on U.S. soil was not as active under President Trump because he was proactive in preventing it. But in Europe, the media still tends to downplay any connection to radical Islamic terrorism when something happens because of the large numbers of Muslim refugees who have been allowed into European countries.

When an act of radical Islamic terrorism occurs — wherever it occurs — people need to know who did it and why. Trying to sweep it under the rug is just ignoring the problem. For example, the goal of ISIS (and Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and other, lesser-known groups) is to re-establish the caliphate in the Middle East. Although this sounds unrealistic to most people, it is a rallying point for ISIS and these other groups in recruiting new members. Referring back to the glory days of Islamic civilization gives down-trodden, oppressed people pride and hope for the future. ISIS – and these other groups – employs technology experts and does much of its recruiting on the Dark Web. The media does not report on this enough.

In reality, some Muslims DO become radicalized. Some of them DO become involved in violent terrorism. Some Americans have been seduced into joining radical Islamic terrorist groups. The media – and our government – has a responsibility to report fully and truthfully on this. Instead, President Biden plans to send $65 million to the Taliban in Afghanistan under the guise of helping the women and children of this war-torn country. The people will never see a dime of that money. Just like the U.S. military left behind $85 billion of weapons and other military equipment for the Taliban to use, the money will be spent on a terrorist government and terrorist activities. Biden has already allowed unvetted Afghanistanis to leave the country as refugees. Nobody knows how many are actual terrorists in disguise.

When we have politicians like Senator Krysten Sinema encouraging Americans to fight with the Taliban; government officials like John Kerry weaponizing terrorist countries like Iran (the leading country when it comes to financing terrorism); and presidents like Obama and Biden kissing terrorists’ asses, the American people are sitting ducks for violence, torture, and death.

Islamic fundamentalists are bullies. And they don’t care what you and I think about it. They are hate-filled, ideology-driven idealists determined to fulfill a goal – the Islamization of the whole world. Groups in America that became influential under the Obama-Biden regime are the Muslim Brotherhood (a well-known terrorist organization that was given access to the White House on numerous occasions under Obama), CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). These three groups are all connected.

Are all Muslims terrorists? Of course not, and the good ones should not be confused with the bad ones. But we know who the bad ones are, and it is unacceptable and completely unthinkable that our political leaders are negotiating and doing business with these guys. Even worse, it is total incompetence when the CIA and the FBI become aware of active groups and fail to act. The heads of these organizations should be immediately fired when something happens.

Finally, it is up to the American people to educate themselves and demand change from our own government.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

February 5, 2019; updated September 13, 2021

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

5 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 »

In Honor of the Flight 93 Heroes, September 11, 2001

Flight 93 National Memorial Wall of Names in Pennsylvania

I’m crying as I write this.

It’s hard to remember and write about the events that happened on 9/11 without weeping, gnashing my teeth in anger, and praising the innocent brave souls who lost their lives. As our country moves farther away from decency, patriotism, and traditional American values, it’s important to remember the heroes who willingly gave their lives trying to divert another terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. It’s imperative that we defeat and crush the enemies of the United States, both inside and outside of America – no matter who they are and what position they might hold.

We now have members of Congress who actively work against decent citizens of the United States. These worthless dogs dress themselves up in fine clothes, healthy bank accounts, and politically correct (for the Left) rhetoric and prey on the weak-minded and uneducated. (Having a college degree doesn’t make a person educated.)

We now have a President and Vice-President who deliberately sell themselves to Communist China and terrorists, while undermining the interests of America and the American people. These “leaders” – and I use the word loosely – come off as treasonous traitors to the United States. In my opinion, they should be court-martialed and face a military firing squad for their crimes against America and the American people. The same should be true of all politicians and corporate leaders who line their pockets at the people’s expense and betray our great country.

The sacrifice of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 calls out to us, urging us to save our country from the obscene, degraded, and depraved maniacs who hate their own country, pervert science, normalize insanity and criminality, glorify death and destruction, and revel in dirt and excrement.

Timeline of Events

At 09:23 am, the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) began issuing warnings about hijackers boarding planes and using them as weapons of mass destruction. United Airlines Flight 93 was notified at 09:27:25 am.

At 09:28:05 am, members of the radical Islamic terrorist group, Al Qaeda, hijacked the plane, taking over the cockpit and subduing the passengers. They were later identified as Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed al-Numi, Ahmed al-Haznawi, and Saeed al-Ghamdi. Their leader, Jarrah, had trained in Afghanistan for three months, met Osama bin Laden in January of 2000, and arrived in Florida in June of 2000 to take flight lessons and to study martial arts.

At 09:28:17 am, the Cleveland controller heard screaming over the radio transmission and LeRoy Homer, Jr. crying, “Mayday! Mayday! Get out of here! Get out of here! Get out of here!”

At 09:31:57 am, the cockpit voice recorder kicked in and recorded the last 30 minutes of the flight. Jarrah was heard talking to the passengers and saying, “We have a bomb on board.” The message was accidentally sent to the Cleveland Air Traffic controller.

At 09:39 am, Jarrah was heard announcing, “We are going back to the airport, and we have our demands.” In reality, the flight was turned eastward towards Washington, D.C. Although some have speculated that the White House was the target, the 9/11 Commission believed, based on evidence, that it was the U.S. Capitol Building that was the real target.

At this point, Captain Jason Dahl may have disabled the autopilot. It was later discovered that passengers and crew had made 35 airphone calls and two cell phone calls, warning family and friends of what was happening. The passengers came up with a plan to take back the plane and revolted at 09:57 am. They allegedly used the food cart to try and break into the cockpit. One of the hijackers guarding the door may have been killed.

At 10:03:09 am, a male voice speaking English cried, “Pull it up!” The plane was deliberately crashed by the hijackers at 10:03:11 am.

In the meantime, Vice-President Dick Cheney, safe inside the Presidential Emergency Operation Center under the White House, ordered Flight 93 to be shot down. After the plane crashed, he called the passengers and crew “heroes.”

A permanent memorial to the passengers and crew of Flight 93 was dedicated on September 10, 2011.

Crew members

Captain Jason Dahl

First Officer LeRoy Homer, Jr.

Lorraine Bay

Sandra Bradshaw

Wanda Green

CeeCee Lyles

Deborah Welsh

The 33 passengers included several foreign nationals.

The American passengers were innocent victims and died for their country. They sacrificed their own lives by standing up to the terrorists, who were forced to then crash the plane into an empty field in Pennsylvania. The foreign passengers who died as innocent victims were in the wrong country at the wrong time. Please pray for all of them and their families.

Let this be a lesson to all of us that life can change on the turn of a dime. The enemies of America never sleep. And we must be equally watchful and alert to the danger they pose.

Dawn Pisturino

September 8, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

6 Comments »

Why Biden is to Blame for Afghanistan

Der Spiegel Photo

For those of you who don’t understand why Biden is to blame for Afghanistan:

Biden ignored his own advisors and pulled out of Afghanistan the wrong way. The disaster has nothing to do with Trump or the agreement with the Taliban. That’s a liberal fantasy with no basis in reality propagated by The New York Times and other liberal propaganda rags. Biden did not follow the original plan for troop withdrawal, violated military protocols and precedents, and screwed up big time trying to be a cowboy like George W. Bush and a tough Commander-in-Chief like President Trump. He failed; and because of what he has done, the whole world is less safe, and you will see a rise in terrorism around the globe. But some people, who refuse to wake up and open their minds, will have to see it for themselves – even lose a loved one – before they will listen or understand.

And that is a terrible shame because a lot of people are going to suffer because of this guy’s stupidity and incompetence.

Kamala Harris is equally to blame! In an interview, she bragged about being “at the table” with Biden when the decision was made and praised Biden for his disastrous results. Then she disappeared from the limelight – her usual modus operandi – the silly, cackling fool!

The Department of Defense released the names of the thirteen heroic soldiers killed on August 26th:  

  • Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California.
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California.
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri. 
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California.
  • Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio.
  • Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.

Please pray for the souls of these heroic, brave young soldiers who died unjustly as a result of the decisions made by the two blithering idiots in the White House. Please pray for their grieving parents and give them the strength to speak up and fight back. Please pray for America, to restore American values and traditions, to raise up strong American Patriots as leaders, to preserve freedom and the U.S. Constitution, to wake up the American people from their COVID-induced coma, and to give them the strength and will to fight back against Democratic Party tyranny, oppression, dishonesty, and Fascism (yes, the Nazis were considered the “progressives” in Germany.) Conservatives, please continue to BOYCOTT any corporation or business that promotes the ridiculous “woke” agenda. Do not give your tourist dollars to California, Oregon, New York, and Washington, D.C. There are better places to visit. DO NOT FEED THE BEAST! Do not donate money to Republican RINOS. Like the Democrats, these misguided monsters have to go.

Dawn Pisturino

September 6, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

4 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 »

The Evolution of Emergency Management in the United States

Associated Press

What is “emergency management?”  According to Haddow, Bullock, and Coppola (2017), “the definition of emergency management can be extremely broad and all-encompassing.”  It is an evolving discipline whose priorities have changed in response to diverse events, political leadership, and scientific advances.

The nature of the events and the responses of political leaders have been the most influential in shaping emergency management priorities and organizational structure.  Since emergency management “deals with risk and risk avoidance” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017), no single event will be handled in precisely the same way.  A terrorist attack like 9/11, which was a major criminal event that involved foreigners and foreign countries, will have a much greater impact on the psyche of the American people and affect a broader range of government departments, than a natural event like a hurricane or earthquake.

The U.S. Constitution “gives the states the responsibility for public health and safety – hence the responsibility for public risks – with the federal government in a secondary role.  The federal role is to help when the state, local or individual entity is overwhelmed” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

What kind of events can hit American communities?  Natural events include floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, storm surges, tornadoes, wildfires, land movements such as avalanches and mudslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, severe winter storms, drought, extremes of heat and cold, coastal erosion, thunderstorms, lightning, and hail.  Technological events can include building fires, dam failures, hazardous material incidents, nuclear and radiation accidents. 

Criminal events include terrorism and the potential use of biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).      

On May 31, 1889, the South Fork dam in Johnstown, PA failed, and “unleashed 20,000,000 tons of water that devastated” the town and killed 2,209 residents (National Park Service,2017).  The failure was caused by inadequate construction, maintenance, and repair.  This event caught the attention of the entire world, and people banded together to help “the Johnstown sufferers” (National Park Service, 2017).

In 1803, Congress passed legislation authorizing federal funds to help a town in New Hampshire destroyed by fire.  This set the precedence for federal involvement in local events.  But it was under Franklin D. Roosevelt “that the federal government began to make significant investments in emergency management functions” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Bureau of Public Roads were authorized “to make disaster loans available for repair and reconstruction of certain public facilities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) in the 1930s. The Tennessee Valley Authority – established to produce hydroelectric power – also sought to reduce flooding in the valley (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The Flood Control Act of 1936 authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to design and build flood-control projects” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Now, “humans could control nature” and promote growth and development in areas previously unavailable (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The 1950s and the Cold War brought a whole new dynamic to the discipline of emergency management.  Scientists had succeeded in creating a whole new arsenal of weapons with the capability of destroying the world.  The potential for nuclear holocaust was so great, “civil defense programs proliferated across communities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  People built bomb shelters to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.  A feeling of paranoia gripped the entire nation as U.S. politicians engaged diplomatically with representatives from the Soviet Union.                                                                            

The Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) was a poorly-funded department “whose main role was to provide technical assistance” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) in the event of nuclear attack.  In reality, however, it was the civil defense directors at the local and state levels who shaped the policies and response to potential disaster.

The 1960s focused attention on natural disasters, and the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 was passed by Congress.  The National Flood Insurance Program was subsequently created, which helped to ease the burden on homeowners located in flood areas and to act proactively before the floods began.  This legislation emphasized “the concept of community-based mitigation” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  When communities joined the NFIP, they committed themselves to passing local ordinances which controlled development in floodplain areas.  The federal government produced floodplain maps to support these ordinances.

George Bernstein, who became head of the Federal Insurance Administration under President Richard Nixon, strengthened the program by “linking the mandatory purchase of flood insurance to all homeowner loans that were backed by federal mortgages” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  This led to the Flood Insurance Act of 1972.

During the 1970s, “more than 100 federal agencies were involved in some aspect of risks and disasters” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  The fragmentation, conflicts, and confusion that resulted were no different on the state and local levels.  When Three Mile Island occurred, these problems became all-too-apparent to the general public.  As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created by Congress under President Jimmy Carter, with the director reporting directly to the president.

Reorganization Plan Number 3, which created FEMA, sought to establish the following guidelines: FEMA workers “were to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to major civil emergencies” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017); the agency would demand “the most efficient use of all available resources” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017); “emergency responsibilities should be extensions of federal agencies” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017); and “federal hazard mitigation activities should be closely linked with emergency preparedness and response functions” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

In the 1980s, civil defense became the priority under President Ronald Reagan.  Director Louis Giuffrida reorganized FEMA, moved multiple departments into one building, and placed the agency’s priority “on government preparedness for a nuclear attack” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Giuffrida resigned after a financial scandal, which undermined the credibility of the agency.  The new director, Julius Becton, worked to restore “integrity to the operations and appropriations of the agency” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Under Becton’s leadership, natural hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods were given a low priority, confirming that the agency “continued the pattern of isolating resources for national security priorities without recognizing the potential of a major natural disaster” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Senator Al Gore, during Senate hearings, questioned FEMA’s priorities and its preparedness in the event of a major earthquake.  FEMA was pressured to create an earthquake preparedness plan which “would later become the standard for all of the federal agencies’ response operations” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Under George H.W. Bush, multiple natural disasters occurred – including Hurricane Andrew – which affected people’s perception of FEMA.  “People wanted, and expected, their government to be there to help in their time of need” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  FEMA was perceived as weak and ineffective.

James Witt was appointed Director by President Bill Clinton.  Witt had extensive experience in emergency management and reorganized FEMA to support community relations, the efficient use of new technology, and an emphasis on “mitigation and risk avoidance” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The 1990s heralded a new wave of natural disasters.  FEMA successfully handled the Midwest floods of 1993 and initiated “the largest voluntary buyout and relocation program to date in an effort to move people out of the floodplain . . .” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Director Witt became a member of Clinton’s cabinet and persuaded state governors “to include their state emergency management directors in their cabinets” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  This is how important emergency management had become.

The bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma Bombing in 1995 reaffirmed the notion that terrorist events fall into the category of “risks and the consequences of those risks” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Emergency management has been an important part of handling similar events.

FEMA’s Project impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities heralded “a new community-based approach” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) that required communities “to identify risks and establish a plan to reduce those risks” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  The ultimate goal was for the community to “promote sustainable economic development, protect and enhance its natural resources, and ensure a better quality of life for its citizens” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

Project Impact was defunded under President George W. Bush.  After the unexpected earthquake in Seattle, however, FEMA received a lot of praise from Seattle’s mayor, and the program was restored.  Seattle, it turned out, had been “one of the most successful Project impact communities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The events of 9/11 proved the effectiveness of FEMA when “hundreds of response personnel initiated their operations within just minutes of the onset of events” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  FEMA was then incorporated into the newly-formed Department of Homeland Security and lost much of its effectiveness and power.  The new National Incident Management System (NIMS) fell under the auspices of the Director of Operations Coordination (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).

The threat of Hurricane Katrina off the Gulf Coast in 2005 prompted President Bush to declare “a disaster in advance of an emergency event for the states in the projected impact zone” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017) and caused DHS/FEMA to shoulder the responsibility.  Their response was a failure.

Obama’s appointee, W. Craig Fugate, designated victims of disasters as “survivors” and developed the Whole Community concept which emphasized “preparedness partnerships that had been developed among federal, state, local, private sector, voluntary, and non-profit entities” (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2017).  Involving people from all sectors of the community has increased the effectiveness of emergency management response to disasters.

The history and development of emergency management prove how events influence and shape government policies, departmental organization, leadership priorities, and government response to national emergencies.  When all citizens get involved, emergency preparedness and response protect communities and mitigate the costs of recovery.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

August 8, 2019

Copyright 2019-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

References

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

       management. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Inc.

National Park Service. (2017). Johnstown flood national memorial pennsylvania.

       Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/jofl/index.htm.

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How the Paramount Decision and the Hollywood Blacklist Changed Hollywood

Rapid post-war changes in American society put downward pressure on studio revenues and profits.  But the Paramount decision and the Hollywood blacklist led to permanent changes that determined how Hollywood studios would conduct business from then on.

Once the Justice Department set its site on the Hollywood filmmaking industry, there was no turning back.  The first antitrust challenge by the Department of Justice came in 1938.  The Hollywood studios operated as trusts, and the Department of Justice was determined to break them up (Lewis 194).

Operating as trusts, the studios held almost complete control over the industry from film development to exhibition.  Studios released new films via a two-tier system.  Most first-tier theaters were owned by the studios.  Second-tier theaters, owned mainly by independents, were pressured by the studios into accepting certain terms if they wanted to screen first-run movies.  The studios used other scams to keep the theaters under their thumbs, such as “blind bidding (the licensing of films sight unseen) [and] block booking (the licensing of an entire slate of films in order to get access to one or two hit titles)” (Lewis 194-195).

After much legal wrangling, the Big Five – MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century-Fox, and RKO – signed an “interim consent decree” (Lewis 195) with the Department of Justice on October 29, 1940.  This decree allowed a system of arbitration to be set up that could resolve conflicts between theater owners and the studios.  But the decree did nothing to break up studio monopolies and end their monopolistic practices.  This led to the studios and the theater owners arbitrating a new consent decree in 1941 called the United Motion Picture Industry (Unity) plan.  The plan gave theater owners more leverage but did not go far enough to limit the power of the studios (Lewis 195).

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the Paramount case in 1948 (which also included RKO, Warner Bros., 20th Century-Fox, Loew’s-MGM, Columbia, Universal, and United Artists.)  On May 3, 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that the studios must divest themselves of studio-owned theaters across the country.  The Court reasoned that the studios had colluded to “restrain free and fair trade and to monopolize the distribution and exhibition of films” (Lewis 195).

On the plus side, the Court found the fines imposed on theater owners by the MPAA [Motion Picture Association of America] for screening films without a PCA [Production Code Administration] seal, unconstitutional (Lewis 196-197).

While domestic revenues and studio profits declined after the Paramount decision, “foreign demand for American films after the war” (Lewis 197) grew steadily.  The Cold War was in full swing.  “The Office of War Information . . . cooperated with the MPAA to establish for the studios an ideological and industrial presence abroad” (Lewis 197) which would ensure that American filmmakers would depict America in a positive light.

Within this climate of anti-Communism and competition with the Soviet Union, the Hollywood blacklist was born.  Fearing Communist propaganda and influence in Hollywood, nineteen studio employees were subpoenaed in 1947 by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  Only ten were required to show up for questioning (called the Hollywood Ten.)  Noted playwright, Bertolt Brecht, testified in a closed session and later emigrated to East Germany (Lewis 197-198).

Members of the Hollywood Ten were generally uncooperative with the House Committee on Un-American Activities and were ultimately indicted and imprisoned for contempt of Congress.  At first, the MPAA publicly supported the Hollywood Ten.  Its president, Eric Johnston, declared, “There’ll never be a blacklist” (Lewis 200).  But shortly after he backtracked, saying, “We did not defend them” (Lewis 200).  After the Hollywood Ten were indicted and sentenced, the MPAA helped to institute “an industry-wide blacklist” (Lewis 200).

The blacklist benefited the studios financially because the contract system was slowly being replaced by “the union-guild movement” (Lewis 200).  The blacklist allowed studios to exert a certain amount of control over actors, guilds, agents, and lawyers.  At the same time, financiers in New York supported the MPAA and gave them more control over the Hollywood studios (Lewis 200).

As a result of the indictments and subsequent blacklist, the studios cancelled contracts and refused to pay members of the Hollywood Ten.  Civil suits dragged on for years.  Hundreds of “writers, directors, producers, and actors were blacklisted between 1947 and 1957” (Lewis 200), resulting in bitter feelings against the Hollywood studios.

Although the Hollywood studios lost financially when divestiture was ordered by the Supreme Court, they gained more power and control as a result of the Hollywood blacklist when the union-guild movement eventually replaced the contract system.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

January 9, 2018

Copyright 2018-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Works Cited

Lewis, Jon. American Cinema: A History. New York: Norton, 2008.

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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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