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Jacob History of Emergency Management COLLAPSE This weeks lesson focused on an introduction and history of emergency management. It is truly important to understand the history of emergency management, in order to learn from the failures learned from prior emergency responses. Haddow begins by outlining the early history of emergency management by addressing the congressional act of 1803, which provided financial assistance to Portsmouth, NH. The fire of 1802 led to the destruction of over 100 buildings, and Portsmouth suffered subsequently from two more large fires in 1806 and the largest in 1813. The fire of 1813 could be seen over 45 miles away in Salem, Massachusetts and led to the destruction of 15 city acres and 108 buildings destroyed (The History of Portsmouths Christmas Fires, 2014). Portsmouth, NH has since recovered, in part from the financial relief from the federal government. Portsmouth is currently a thriving seacoast city that lies on the Piscataqua River, across from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and home to Pease International Airport a joint military and civil airport. This was important because it was the first example of the federal government becoming involved in a local disaster (Haddow, 2014, pg. 3). I currently reside approximately thirty minutes from Portsmouth, NH so it is interesting to see the role New Hampshire played in the early stages of emergency management in the United States. Claire Rubin discussed The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 in her chapter in Waughs book on Emergency Management. I was truly surprised to see the death toll was expected between 6,000 and 12,000 with one of every six Galveston citizens having died in the disaster (Waugh, 2007, pg. 28). I had not heard of this hurricane prior to the reading. Rubin did a good job explaining some of the lessons learned from the aftermath and how the city after rejecting the idea of a seawall prior to the Hurricane years before, now embraced the idea. Rubin also discussed the creation of FEMA, having been created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. This organization consolidated multiple federal agencies and programs in a new, independent federal agency (Waugh, 2007, pg. 33). FEMA helped consolidate the federals ability to respond to natural disaster and large-scale incidents. Haddow makes the important note however that the Constitution gives the states the responsibility for public health and safety hence the responsibility for public risks with the federal government is a secondary role (Haddow, 2014, pg. 2). Since it would be difficult for states to truly manage large scale incidents solely on their own, the federal government provides assistance to state and local agencies to help effectively manage emergency situations. Another topic discussed in Haddows chapter on the introduction and history of emergency management is the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the formation of the department of Homeland Security. Haddow discussed how the strength of the US Emergency Management System was proven stating that hundreds of response personnel initiated their operations within just minutes of the onset of events (Haddow, 2014, pg. 13). Haddow and Rubin do not address any of the shortcomings of the response and mostly hail the response overall as a success. However, that is not to say the response was without issues. For example, one of the major changes following the September 11th attacks was the push for plain speak and to move away from the utilization of ten codes. Since the 9-11 attacks was a large-scale emergency response that brought in agencies from across the northeast and beyond, it is important that communication be clear and concise. Not every agency or state utilizes the same ten codes, which led to some confusion during the response. Since 9-11, FEMA has sent out the directive that, plain language be used for multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction and multi-discipline events, such as major disasters and exercises, this directive is not required for internal operations (FEMA, 2006). Additionally, there were documented issues between communication during the response, including lack of coordination, lack of training and failures among infrastructure. Both texts address the issues that arose when FEMA was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security which led to the failures of the Hurricane Katrina response in 2005. Haddow examines the failures before the hurricane and the post hurricane changes to FEMA. Haddow further goes on to discuss the lessons learned and discuss the praise received by FEMA for the Hurricane Sandy response in New Jersey. Sandy was also the first large-scale disaster to completely apply the new National Disaster Recovery Framework (Haddow, 2014, pg. 27). This utilization of the NDRF recognized several additional flaws which would later need to be addressed. Overall both texts do a good job at outlining the history of emergency management in the United States and highlight issues discovered while responding to critical incidents and lessons learned in their response. References: FEMA. (2006, December, 19). NIMS and Use of Plain Language. Retrieved from: Haddow, G. D., Bullock, J. A., & Coppola, D. P. (2014). Introduction to emergency management. Waltham, MA: Elsevier. The History of Portsmouth’s Christmas Fires. New Hampshire Magazine, December 4. 2014, Retrieved from: Waugh, W., Tierney, K. (2007). Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for local government. Washington, DC: ICMA Press.