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NCJ Number: 212329 
Title: Natural Disasters and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Policy Issues and Implications (From Homeland Security Law and Policy, P 253-261, 2005, William C. Nicholson, ed. -- See NCJ-212315)
Author(s): Anne Strack Angelheart
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Charles C. Thomas
Springfield, IL 62704
Sale Source: Charles C. Thomas
2600 South First Street
Springfield, IL 62704
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview; Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter summarizes the changes in Federal disaster policy and the attendant changes in disaster outcomes over the last century and discusses the changes in disaster prevention and mitigation efforts with respect to extreme terrorist attacks.
Abstract: The planned strategy for disasters, i.e., events that cause significant human suffering and damage to social networks and infrastructure, has evolved over the last century to include detection, protection, prevention, preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been promoting a strategy of comprehensive emergency management that addresses the last four elements of a disaster: preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Due to physical changes to the natural landscape as well as improved forecast and warning technologies, the death toll and casualty counts due to disastrous events in more developed nations have been declining in recent decades. These improvements, however, have also increased a sense of false security among residents in hazard-prone areas, attracted more people to vulnerable areas in the belief that the benefits of the area outweigh the risks, and produced scenarios for more extreme disasters if warning/forecasting systems fail. This chapter also discusses the extensive media coverage that accompanies disasters, which in turn places political pressure on governments to use more and more resources to aid disaster victims and areas. All these factors have converged over the years to increase disaster costs and victims' expectations for government assistance. The chapter concludes with a section that distinguishes the dynamics of a premeditated terrorist attack from natural and technological disasters and the different tactics required to prevent and protect the public from disasters caused by terrorists. 25 references, 3 notes, and discussion questions
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Biological weapons; Chemical Weapons; Counter-terrorism tactics; Disaster procedures; Emergency procedures; Federal legislation; Federal programs; Nuclear terrorism; Terrorist weapons
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