INTRODUCTION: Improving local capacity by helping localities count on 100% of their responder base
AD | 01.09.2007 | 11:59:11 | Views: 2975 | ID:
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 exposed America to a dilemma well known to EMS and community planners: that 40% or more of a locality's responder base may not be available at any one time during the early hours of crisis due to individual responders tending to their own familys' safety and needs. Additionally, 20% of the responder base is typically pulled away from response and containment to manage well-meaning volunteers and triage incoming materials.
During Katrina, over 500 police officers did not report to duty during the early hours of the crisis because they were evacuating their own families, crippling the forces capability to respond to the growing emergency on the ground. Additionally, the response capability of the remaining responder pool was drawn down due by the massive challenge of finding the vulnerable and special needs individuals who were not evacuated in advance. As the crisis unfolded and volunteers and outside resources and materiale started arriving, the responder capability available for response, containment and law & order was drawn down even farther by the need to manage and organize this inflow.
In order for a community to realize the full capability of its responder pool, it would either have to 1) hire 160% of the expected need; or 2) develop alternative ways to support responder families, care for the evacuation of the vulnerable/special needs population and use other resources to manage and triage volunteers and responders. Since most communities are hard pressed to afford their current responder needs, hiring excess is impractical. The goal, therefore, is to put simple but effect plans in place, supported by the private and community sectors, that address these challenges and restore community capability.
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