According to Timothy Manning, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, significant and measurable strides have taken place to improve preparedness for the hazards faced by all levels of government and all segments of society (DHS, 2012).
FEMA is now part of the DHS’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate. FEMA is tasked with advising on building codes and flood plain management; teaching people how to get through a disaster; helping equip local and state emergency preparedness teams; coordinating the federal response to a disaster; making disaster assistance available to states, communities, businesses, and individuals; training emergency managers; supporting the nation’s fire service; and administering the national flood and crime insurance programs.Listed below are some of the improvements that have taken place post 9/11 (DHS, 2012).
In the four years between 2006 and 2010, the proportion of states and urban areas that were confident in the effectiveness of their emergency operations plans increased from 40 percent to more than 75 percent; commercial radio broadcasters, in partnership with FEMA, today can deliver public warning messages to more than 84 percent of the U.S. population, up from 67 percent in 2009. By the end of 2013, coverage is expected to expand to more than 90 percent of the population;
Since 2001, federal, state and local governments have built a network of specialized teams capable of interdicting and disrupting a variety of imminent threats. That network includes 1,100 Hazardous Materials Response Teams, 5,400 SWAT teams, and 469 FBI-trained and accredited bomb squads;
Prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, major population centers in many parts of the country lacked structural collapse and urban search and rescue capabilities. Today, 97 percent of the nation is within a 4-hour drive of an urban search and rescue team; and
Government agencies at all levels have improved their strategic and tactical communications planning and coordination. In 2006, only 42 percent of the nation’s urban areas had a strategic plan in place to guide interoperable communications. Today, 100 percent of the nation’s highest-risk urban areas are capable of establishing response-level interoperable communications within one hour of an event involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
According to Factsheet: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Actions Taken Since 9/11,U.S. Customs and Border Protection are addressing the terrorist threat 24-hours a day. There is a multi-layered approach that encompasses working with our foreign counterparts, employing intelligence, technology, advanced information in the field and the most professional workforce worldwide. CBP uses various strategies and employs the latest in technology to accomplish its goals. We have extended our zone of security beyond our physical borders through the use of bilateral and private-sector partnerships, targeting and scrutinizing advance information on people and products coming into this country.
CBP has achieved much since its creation in March 2003. Some of the most significant accomplishments are as follows: Improved anti-terrorism training for all CBP personnel. CBP has implemented anti-terrorism training for all personnel with a special focus on training related to weapons of mass effect. This includes identifying and intercepting potential instruments of terrorism using non-intrusive inspection technology and radiation detection equipment.
The Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) were implemented in August 2003. It is an Internet/Intranet based system operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that electronically captures, maintains, and monitors information relevant to each foreign student, exchange visitor, and their dependents. SEVIS provides CBP with a mechanism to facilitate the entry of bonafide students and exchange visitors and quickly identify possible status violators.
Augmented Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS), that uses remotely monitored night-day camera and sensing systems to better detect, monitor, and respond to illegal crossings, on both the Northern and Southern borders.
Deployed radiation detection technology including Personal Radiation Detectors (PRDs) to more than 10,400 CBP officers and agents, and Radiation Isotope Identification Detection System (RIIDS) to over 60 Border Patrol field locations. Increased the amount of Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) which are pole mounted cameras that provide coverage 24 hours a day/7 days a week to detect illegal crossings, on both our Northern and Southern borders.
Implemented a Geographic Information System (GIS), a Southwest border initiative, which tracks illegal migration patterns to better deploy personnel and resources to establish control of our border.
Overall these agencies have impressed me the most. In recent light of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the emergency response was remarkable which shows that there has been much training and procedures put into place since 9/11 and that we as a nation are prepared and capable of handling any situation that might come our way.
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