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Catastrophic Events - Emergency Management Planning Requirements And Success Factors For Catastrophic Response Operations Open Access

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ABSTRACT There appears to be "agreement throughout the emergency management community that existing" [1] response "plans, policies, procedures and resources are not fully adequate" [1] or appropriate "to address" [1] a catastrophic event. Catastrophes have impacts and complexities that are orders of magnitude above disasters and community emergencies challenging local, State and Federal communities, organizations and society. They also have the potential to impact the environment and national security. Therefore, catastrophes have different response operations planning requirements vs. disasters. This places significant challenges on a complex Federal response system operating under the National Response Framework, built upon the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) that provide for standard command and control structures for organizing management of disasters. Although the national disaster response system within the context of NIMS and ICS successfully manages small scale events, experience has shown it falters when attempting to meet the challenges of large scale, potentially catastrophic events, implying that some key factor or factors are missing. Catastrophes require imagination in their response and different strategies of planning and management, far beyond those of "garden variety" disasters. The Department of Homeland Security has attempted to categorize all-hazard planning on the basis of 15 National Planning Scenarios. This research project interviewed and surveyed Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to examine current Complex Catastrophic Disaster Response Planning based upon a comparison of disasters and catastrophes, notice vs. no-notice response operations planning, and identification of Federal success factors which can eventually be applied to develop metrics to gauge success in response to a complex catastrophic disaster. Seventeen (17) Response Success Factors/Themes and their components for a Complex Catastrophic Event were identified.

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