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Can Rural America Afford to Prepare for a Wmd Attack?

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Since the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, terrorism and the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have been in the forefront of how our nation is going to prepare for the next possible attack. Millions of dollars have been spent around our nation on WMD preparedness in the hope of reducing future loss of life. What is less known is how prepa Since the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, terrorism and the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have been in the forefront of how our nation is going to prepare for the next possible attack. Millions of dollars have been spent around our nation on WMD preparedness in the hope of reducing future loss of life. What is less known is how prepared our rural communities are for a WMD attack. Rural communities, for the purpose of this research essay, are those that have population of fewer than 50,000. These communities have limited full-time first responders and equipment to respond to everyday emergencies, let alone a catastrophic disaster. How prepared is rural America, and should they bear the costs of WMD preparedness alone? This research essay will examine the cost to rural America to organize, train, equip, and maintain a full-time Hazardous Materials Response Team (HMRT) by National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standards. The City of Altus, Oklahoma will be used as a case study. This case study will show that although there is a small risk of a possible terrorist attack, rural America cannot support and should not bear the cost of maintaining a full-time HMRT for the purpose of homeland defense. A better solution would be for state government to supply rural communities with emergency response resources based on local risk assessment, current mutual aid agreements, resource capabilities, and the ability to adapt to the National Incident Management System (NIMS).


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Since the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, terrorism and the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have been in the forefront of how our nation is going to prepare for the next possible attack. Millions of dollars have been spent around our nation on WMD preparedness in the hope of reducing future loss of life. What is less known is how prepa Since the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, terrorism and the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have been in the forefront of how our nation is going to prepare for the next possible attack. Millions of dollars have been spent around our nation on WMD preparedness in the hope of reducing future loss of life. What is less known is how prepared our rural communities are for a WMD attack. Rural communities, for the purpose of this research essay, are those that have population of fewer than 50,000. These communities have limited full-time first responders and equipment to respond to everyday emergencies, let alone a catastrophic disaster. How prepared is rural America, and should they bear the costs of WMD preparedness alone? This research essay will examine the cost to rural America to organize, train, equip, and maintain a full-time Hazardous Materials Response Team (HMRT) by National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standards. The City of Altus, Oklahoma will be used as a case study. This case study will show that although there is a small risk of a possible terrorist attack, rural America cannot support and should not bear the cost of maintaining a full-time HMRT for the purpose of homeland defense. A better solution would be for state government to supply rural communities with emergency response resources based on local risk assessment, current mutual aid agreements, resource capabilities, and the ability to adapt to the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

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