"In light of the catastrophic impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, controversy has arisen over whether state and local organizations have overemphasized preparedness for terrorism at the expense of emergency preparedness for natural disasters. Our survey results suggest that the events of 9/11 spurred response organizations not only to undertake preparedness activities for terrorism-related incidents—e.g., updating response plans to address chemical, biological, radiological/ nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) incidents—but also to make general improvements in emergency response, including updating mutual-aid agreements and participating in joint preparedness activities with other organizations. All these activities support overall preparedness for any catastrophic event."—Summary.
The Report covers the work of the Legislature's Office of Emergency Service and makes suggestions for what OES should be doing to improve California's ability to respond to a catastrophic event. It criticizes the lack of integration and unity of emergency response services among state, local, and private providers. More hopefully, the Report describes
that funding is available from the federal government to help the state move forward and suggests ways to better target funding. Finally, the Report concludes by stressing the need for greater accountability for both the planning and effectiveness of programs.
"Mayors acknowledge that more must be done at every level of government to make sure that cities, and the nation, are able to respond to the growing challenges of homeland security and emergency response. 'This new survey shows that we must further strengthen our partnership with the federal government to make sure that our
domestic "first preventers" and "first responders" have the resources and training they need to succeed, and that
all necessary federal support is ready in the event of a major disaster,' [Conference of Mayors President, Dearborn Mayor Michael] Guido said."—Press Release.
"The failure of local, state, and federal governments to respond more effectively to Katrina ? which had been predicted in theory for many years, and forecast with startling accuracy for five days ? demonstrates that whatever improvements have been made to our capacity to respond to natural or man-made disasters, four and half years after 9/11, we are still not fully prepared. Local
first responders were largely overwhelmed and unable to perform their duties, and the National Response Plan did not adequately provide a way for federal assets to quickly supplement or, if necessary, supplant first responders."
An extensive report of assessments of Federal and State evacuation plans, including findings and recommendations relating to decision making and management, planning, public communication and preparedness, evacuation of people with special needs, evacuation operations, sheltering, and training and exercises.
"Despite the understanding of the Gulf Coast's particular vulnerability to hurricane devastation, officials braced for Katrina
with full awareness of critical deficiencies in their plans and gaping holes in their resources. While Katrina's destructive force could not be denied, state and local officials did not marshal enough of the resources at their disposal."—Executive Summary.
"Disaster planning for health care providers following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and, more recently, Hurricane Katrina, focuses on preparing hospitals and other emergency services to respond to victims' medical needs. But little attention has been paid to the challenges that providers would face resuming normal operations after the catastrophe. A large-scale disaster could create unprecedented demand for health care and emergency services. Hospitals already struggle to meet the high demand for and high costs of emergency care, and they would face additional challenges in the aftermath of a catastrophic event. Strained capacity and financial reserves may force hospitals to close, just as occurred with the two largest public hospitals in New Orleans following Katrina. To prevent the initial terrorist-related or natural disaster from spiraling into a lasting access-to-care crisis, this Article proposes a government disaster relief plan to stabilize the health care industry before the next catastrophe and prevent interruption of services during the recovery." —Abstract.