Academic journal article Homeland Security Affairs

Letter to the Editor: Expecting the Unexpected: The Need for a Networked Terrorism and Disaster Response Strategy

Academic journal article Homeland Security Affairs

Letter to the Editor: Expecting the Unexpected: The Need for a Networked Terrorism and Disaster Response Strategy

Article excerpt

April 17, 2007

The Editors

Homeland Security Affairs Magazine

Dear Editors:

I am writing in response to the recent article "Expecting the Unexpected: The Need for a Networked Terrorism and Disaster Response Strategy." by W. David Stephenson and Eric Bonabeau in "Homeland Security Affairs III, No. 1 (February 2007).

Based on my present position as the British Columbia Fire Commissioner and past positions of leadership in the emergency services, including my academic credentials and authorship of a monthly article in Fire Fighting in Canada , I can unequivocally state I am in full agreement with the necessity of a networked terrorism and disaster response strategy. In fact, Canada has in place an operational emergency management system that meets the criteria of that advocated by Stephenson and Bonabeau.

The incident management system is called Emergency Site Management and it is a fully integrated multi-jurisdictional multi-agency system capable of responding to emergencies of any magnitude. It was devised on the premise that no single service can successfully respond unilaterally to an emergency. Therefore it stresses the need for decision making, communication, cooperation and coordination among key services and jurisdictions in order to ensure an effective emergency response. Under this system, the emergency site team decides on mitigation strategies and tactics to limit the threat to people, property and the environment at the emergency site.

As a Chief Officer of Strathcona County, I successfully employed this system in responding to the 1987 tornado that devastated parts of Edmonton, Alberta and Strathcona County, resulting in loss of life and multi-million dollar property damage. …

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