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Emergency Response for Homeland Security: Lessons Learned and the Need for Analysis

Emergency Response for Homeland Security: Lessons Learned and the Need for Analysis,Richard C. Larson,Michael D. Metzger,Michael F. Cahn

Emergency Response for Homeland Security: Lessons Learned and the Need for Analysis   (Citations: 2)
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This report addresses response preparedness for large-scale emergency incidents, be they acts of terrorism, acts of Mother Nature (e.g., earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes) or human-caused accidents. We call such events major emergencies, in which local first-responder resources are overwhelmed. There simply are not enough local resources to do the many jobs at hand. Response to a major emergency requires careful planning and professional execution. Decisions involve the deployment of people, equipment and supplies. Peoples’ lives are at stake. Proper planning for a major emergency can save many lives, perhaps thousands. Our role is to discover decisions that have to be made before and during a major emergency and to develop quantitative tools to assist local planners and decision makers to assure that their emergency response plans are as effective as they can be. Our approach is quantitative, systematic, based on data and past experience. The tools of systems analysis, statistics and operations research are those that we apply to the problem. For the sake of brevity, we will just refer to the methodology as operations research, or simply “O.R.” This report, the first in a series, is organized in three sections. The first, Chapter 1, reviews O.R. approaches to emergency response up to the present time. Much of this extends back to the 1960’s, when ‘crime on the streets’ led analysts to study emergency response of our cities’ first responders, i.e., police, fire and emergency medical. The 40 years of cumulative research provides a sound foundation for going forward with emergency response within a Homeland Security context. The second section, Chapters 2 through 7, provides an historical review of six well-publicized major emergencies that have occurred in recent years. These include acts of nature, industrial accidents and terrorist attacks. In this section, we are particularly concerned with ‘lessons learned’ and with recurring decisions that must be made and may become better informed with quantitative decision support tools. The third and final section is Chapter 8, which extracts from the historical analysis and from the review of research to date, the need for additional O.R. research needed to move forward with new planning models in emergency response for major emergencies.
Published in 2004.
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