When catastrophe and disaster strike, one of the most immediate concerns is first response. Firm command and control of emergency situations, aided by adequate information sharing and clarity of roles between local, state, and federal officials is imperative to minimizing human suffering.
As evident from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a well-defined, cohesive plan for response and an accompanying financial backstop need to be in place in order to best respond to large-scale catastrophe. Catastrophes are inevitable, and our first responders, who are charged with saving lives and protecting critical infrastructure, need to be prepared and coordinated for a worst-case scenario.
At the local level, additional capacity needs to be built into emergency management, law enforcement, and firefighting. There are insufficient numbers within these incident management disciplines to deal with major catastrophe. Because of this, an effort between all levels of government is essential to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from any emergency or catastrophe.