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Terrorism refers to acts of terror in which certain individuals or organizations target nations with the intention of destroying both property and human lives. Recently, domestic terrorism has increased, particularly in the United States. These are actions that are carried out by native people or groups. It can be characterized as a very psychological form of conflict. Compared to their government agents anti-terrorism counterparts, local groups and people have less physical and personnel resources. So they decide to use violence to further their goals. A big percentage of the local acts of terrorism are carried out by right-wing extremists, who are majorly composed of whites which is in contrary to the normal perception of terrorism as being propelled by the Muslim community (Ruiz-Grossman, 2017). “There were almost twice as many terrorist incidents by right-wing extremists as by Islamist extremists in the U.S. from 2008 to 2016, according to a new report from The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund and The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal.” (Ruiz-Grossman, 2017). It is the responsibility of the government and security agencies to “detect, deter, and disrupt terrorist threats to the United States and its interests” (THE FBI, 2017).
The National Response Framework (NRF) handles incident management regarding domestic issues. Among other duties that NRF handles includes preparation, response, prevention and assisting the communities and the country at large to recover from emergencies, disasters (e.g., hurricanes) and attacks (terrorist). NRF provides a platform whereby several security arms can work together to achieve a common goal. Among others, these may include private-sector, local, state, federal and others (Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA), 2017).
Response to a Terrorist Incidents versus Response to Natural Disasters
When responding to a terrorist incident, first of all, determining the threat level is done, this is a task vested on FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). The threat level analysis provides the threshold of the measures that will be required to be taken when handling the response (Federal of American Scientists, 2001). The federal government then takes the required action accordingly, combining the forces of every federal agency present. This will be done after all local and state governments have been notified. The federal agencies have to move in the location first to determine if there may be other risks, e.g., bombs still present, and to determine the main cause. This is done this way because first responders are usually in risky situations and can also become casualties (Federal of American Scientists, 2001). An example of such an event is the September 11, 2001, bombing at New York. The first responders were police officers and the fire department. To show criticality of the situation, 383 firefighters died while trying to save civilians from the debris and what was left of the World Trade Center. After the threat has been leveled, is when other responders such as Red-Cross can move in to assist in the rescue process.
The case is different when responding to natural disasters. In this perspective, all bodies of federal government, homeland security, local and state government, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations are all urged to take part in responding to natural disasters (FEMA, 2016). The whole community is in fact encouraged to take part in such since natural disasters can be of very large magnitudes and affect a large area and a large number of people. There is also the inclusion of teams such as the U.S. Coast Guard, maritime and coastal agencies; this is an example of Hurricane Katrina (FEMA, 2016). The first responders to Hurricane Katrina summed to a number of 1382 responders. These included emergency services medical teams, fire department, police and city workers. The involvement here proved that for natural disasters, responders can come from any field, even just the community itself.
Precautions to be taken at a scene of destruction
Red Cross volunteers are some of the responders that rush to disaster-stricken scenes to look for survivors. This is usually a task that requires adequate training since working as a rescuer is itself a risky task. The volunteer should check their environment for any remaining harmful components and need to be always alert (American Red Cross, 2017). They should ensure that the injured are only treated by professionals. Water and soap should be used to wash small wounds to prevent the infection that may come with it. Clean bandages should be used, and they should be replaced in case they get damaged or soiled. Disasters like earthquakes may strike again, and the volunteer needs to be on the lookout if that was the case. Keeping calm is required, as this helps in composure and being aware of your environment (American Red Cross, 2017).
A volunteer receives clearance from their supervisors and in the case that the supervisor is not within reach, the security agency personnel present gives the required direction (American Red Cross, 2017).
Three Control Zones in Hazard Isolation
Hazard isolation is an essential task when handling disaster-stricken areas. This is important as it will keep people safe until the area is regarded as safe, by reducing the chances of spreading of hazardous substances. The control zones in a hazardous isolation include:
The hot/exclusion zone: This is the point where the hazardous material is very active, and the chances of an individual being contaminated are very high (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2017). An example is the 9/11 bombing, where the center of the event was isolated from the public due to safety issues, considered dangerous and only allowed personnel could get access.
The reduced contamination (warm) zone: This is the area where the decontamination takes place. It is an intermediate zone between the hot and the cold zone (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2017). Decontamination zone gives responders an opportunity to interact with the support zone. All risky substances are e.g. chemicals are cleaned at this zone, before the responders can get access to the cold zone where they can now freely interact with the general planning team.
The cold/support zone: It is the Free-from-contamination area which can be used as a planning zone. All the action-plans are decided from these zone before entering the warm zone. It is from here that the responders can now interact with the public and media.
American Red Cross. (2017). Staying Safe in the Immediate Aftermath of a Disaster. Retrieved from American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery-services/safety-immediate-aftermath
Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA). (2017, January). National Response Framework (NRF). Retrieved from Environmental Protection Agencies: https://www.epa.gov/emergency-response/national-response-framework-nrf
Federal of American Scientists. (2001). UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT INTERAGENCY DOMESTIC TERRORISM CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS PLAN. Retrieved from Federal of American Scientists: https://fas.org/irp/threat/conplan.html#III
FEMA. (2016). Hurricane Katrina: A Decade of Progress through Partnerships. Retrieved from FEMA: https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-katrina-decade-progress-through-partnerships
Ruiz-Grossman, S. (2017, August). Most Of America’s Terrorists Are White, And Not Muslim. Retrieved from Huffingtonpost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/domestic-terrorism-white-supremacists-islamist-extremists_us_594c46e4e4b0da2c731a84df
THE FBI. (2017). WHAT WE INVESTIGATE. Retrieved from FBI: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism
United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2017). Safety Zones. Retrieved from United States Environmental Protection Agency: https://www.epa.gov/emergency-response/safety-zones
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