A new report suggests that “surge capacity is the largest threat” to America’s ability to respond to a major catastrophe.
From the press release:
Ready or Not?, a yearly analysis of preparedness for health emergencies that’s released by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, found that “surge capacity remains the largest threat to the nation’s ability to respond to a major catastrophe.” Local, and specifically, regional abilities to care for the wounded will be vital just after a nuclear terrorist attack. Unfortunately many communities haven’t gotten the point.
The report notes that, “Two assumptions prevail at the local level:
- Any nuclear explosion will completely destroy a major city; and
- The military is the only organization capable of responding.
Because it often takes the military time to respond to catastrophic events, the report urges local governments to consider and prepare for what they would do if the military doesn’t arrive in time.
The report suggests that local decision-makers:
- Come to grips with the threat and understand that the military can’t arrive immediately to help.
- Realize that isn’t a problem for only large, high-risk cities, but one that requires a regional response.
- Actually make plans and co-ordinate with your neighbours.
The press release concludes that, “Such preparation isn’t necessarily specific to nuclear terrorism. Regional preparedness and response can be used for a range of catastrophic events, including hurricanes such as Katrina. Moving down the scale, preparing for the “big one” will help communities deal with the small disasters they face every year.”