If people approach the issue of terrorism with sensitivity, they will seriously consider that terrorists are ruthless, merciless, and are concerned only with advancing their goal, even at the expense of innocent civilians. ”Terrorist attacks can, and are often intended to result in mass casualties, loss of critical resources, disruption of vital services, disruption of the economy, and heightened fear” (Emergency Preparedness). Because of this, emergency response plans will be more concrete, effective, and almost fault-free. Aside from that, the public will accept the fact that terrorism can happen anywhere.”No country is immune from this threat “(Ahmet Davutoglu quoted in Goodenough). Therefore, people will be more vigilant in spotting any sign of terrorism in their community. With all this, the catastrophe that can be possibly brought by terrorist attack may be lessened, if not prevented.
If they do not approach terrorism with sensitivity, the public and the officials of the community tend to be complacent. Because of complacency, the emergency response plans will be half-baked and filled with many flaws, thus ineffective. They may work in lighter situations but not in heavy terror attack. This is lethal, because terrorists are “in constant search of loopholes in our defenses and to adapt themselves accordingly” (Ahmet Davutoglu quoted in Goodenough). The entire city will be caught off guard, which may result in great devastation and the huge number of human casualties
The significant number of elders and disabled persons in the community certainly affects the plan of emergency response. These people should be taken into consideration when designing the response plans. Evacuation is the most common reaction when an attack occurs. However, due to the situation of the elders and disabled persons, they cannot move as quick as needed in order to reach the evacuation center in short time, and they cannot stay outside longer than what is necessary during the attack “as leaving your house might expose you to harmful agents that have been dispersed into the air“(Menino and O’Toole). Therefore, evacuation of elders and disabled individual may not be the best option, especially when the evacuation site is far. They will be advised to momentarily stay inside their homes or take shelter in the nearest building until the rescuers arrive. Aside from that, able family members and/ or trained volunteers are assigned to assist these physically weak people. Drills and practice will be a must to lessen or prevent confusion in the time of an attack.
Informing the public about possible terrorist attacks poses great challenge as this may cause utmost fear and panic among the residents. However, they need to know about it in order for them to be prepared. Door-to-door communication takes time and can possibly create confusion, because households may receive varying information. Thus, this method is out of the question. I will coordinate with the local authorities, particularly the mayor, to organize a closed door conference with the residents. Only the able adults (aged 18 and above) are compelled to attend the meeting. Every household must have one or more capable representatives. To avoid widespread panic, the prospective adult members of the family are informed about the meeting discreetly (i.e. the messenger or police will talk with the adult member/s privately out of the other members’ earshot). The attendees will only learn about the details inside the conference hall. This method is effective and time-consuming because, unlike the door-to-door communication, everybody is informed at once. The attendees are expected to show disbelief, raise questions, and share some outputs that are otherwise unknown to the authorities, so there are many areas that can be covered and discussed lessening the chance of flaws or deficiencies when the moment comes. The conference will not end until the definite and concrete agreement is reached. The details of the meeting are kept within the four corners of the conference hall, so there will be no panic. The attendees are given the responsibility of informing the other family members about the details in a calm and rational way.