Who's overlooked when it comes to national disaster preparedness?
A large part of a security practitioner's responsibility is developing an organization's business continuity plans. When disaster strikes, it's critical for an organization to be able to respond and recover as quickly as possible. And, there is a lot of coordination to be done at the local and federal level between both private and public organizations.
Today, I read an interesting article about the nation's disaster recovery plans. Organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Administration are dedicated to making sure everyone is ready for disaster and that events like the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina never happen again. It's a huge task that requires an immense amount of communication and coordination. And while there's always improvements to be made, I think FEMA and most private and public organizations are far more prepared and aware of the need for robust disaster planning today than they were only a few years ago.
Except, apparently, when it comes to caring for children. Yesterday, the National Commission on Children and Disasters went before Congress with a report that found the nation is unprepared to care for children during a disaster, according to an article in USA Today. Actually, the analysis found that even under normal circumstances, most ambulances and emergency rooms are not prepared to care for severely injured children.
"If you think of a disaster, there may be hundreds of thousands of kids who need medical care, and you'll be putting them in an environment where they don't have the experience or equipment to care for kids," says commission member Michael Anderson of Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland.
Craig Fugate, President Obama's chief of FEMA (who I am a HUGE fan of, by the way, the guy is really down to earth), says based on his experience as a paramedic he realized this major gap in the nation's response and began meeting with commission in his first week on the job.
"Children are not small adults. You can't scale stuff down and meet the needs of infants and children," said Fugate.
Yeah, we probably shouldn't overlook the future of our nation.