Preparedness Failures for a Natural Disaster and a Terrorism Incident - Essay on Emergency Management

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Wesleyan University
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Emergency management entails a wide variety of incidences such as natural disasters earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes as well as human-made disasters like terrorists and chemical spills (Chung, 2013). The two primary forms of emergencies can be mitigated using various levels such as local, state, national, regional or international. Both natural and human-made disasters differ in some ways such as preparation, planning, response, reaction, and mitigation.

Similarity of natural disaster and terrorist attack

The major similarity between the terrorist attack and natural disaster such as a hurricane is that dissemination of information within the hierarchies of disaster respondents is ineffective. For example, after the agency announced the names of the terrorist after the 9/11 attack, the names were not expanded to ensures these people were blacklisted from taking any flight. Similarly, during a natural disaster such as a hurricane, there is a disadvantage of miscommunication because the federal officials are ineffective and they misinformed the public. Although the government knew that Katrina hurricane was about to happen, they were unprepared and took long before providing medical supplies after respondents started requesting for aid. This means that both natural disaster and terrorist attack preparation, response, and recovery activities fail due to lack of effective communication (Disaster Case Study Analysis, n.d).

Difference between terrorism attack and natural disaster

Natural disaster such as a hurricane cannot be prevented from occurring while terrorist attack such as 9/11 some issues can be addressed especially the issues to do with federal governments responses as well as allocating the resources on time (FEMA, 2015). The government can only mitigate terrorism through counter-terrorism by formulating policy measures that deter terrorist but not through contributing to institutionalized fear in particular through the media. In a terrorist attack, the government should formulate policy for preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery and have a balance between accurate statistical data and sciences as a way of avoiding instilling fear to the public. On the case of natural disaster, the government should be well- prepared for ways of mitigating the impact and ways of responding to the victims. The communities living in the area likely to be hit by a natural disaster like hurricane should be forewarned and prepared for emergency evacuation when the need arises (Institute of Medicine, 2007). This can be done through forewarning using all forms of media including social media such as Facebook and Twitter.


In todays, world both natural disasters and terrorist attacks are expected to rise due to the increasing use of technologies that have consequences beyond human expectations. The government should be aware of these upcoming and avoid investing its resources on one kind of disaster to the disadvantage of the other one. The government should ensure that it has adequate resources both human and capital to deal with all forms of disasters. It has to plan adequately and train respondents to ensure it has the competent personnel required to deal with disasters. The government and other concerned agencies should not dwell on the past, but they should move forward and regularly check and improve their policies. This can be done through better technology, communication, and training of the people who respond to these disasters whenever they occur.



Chung, J. (2013). Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Management: Keeping a Proper Balance.

Disaster Case Study Analysis. (n.d). Evaluating the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and Hurricane Katrina

FEMA. (2015). Outlines a Decade of Progress after Hurricane Katrina. Retrieved from

Institute of Medicine. 2007. Hospital-Based Emergency Care: At the Breaking Point. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.


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