Attn: IAEM-USA Members
Dear IAEM-USA Members and Friends
Targeting for mass shootings not only in Orlando, but throughout the United States is of great concern to local preparedness professionals and first responders. Significant attempts to address gaps in preparedness and response had been initiated after the attacks of September 11, 2001. However, the mass murder in Orlando highlights both the great quality of local response and the fragility of local capabilities since federal funding has dwindled to near zero for a majority of the largest metropolitan areas in the US.
Local communities are now stretched thin in continuing to effectively plan, equip, and train for mass casualty events. Orlando and San Bernardino are high profile events, but there have been numerous others in the recent past that required multi-agency and multi-disciplinary responses. These complex responses require active participation in all phases of emergency management and response far beyond the capacity of most communities where the violence has occurred.
Local use of federal funds from US DHS has been highly effective through the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS – no longer funded as such), the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), as well as the US HHS’s preparedness grants for hospitals and local public health. Response capabilities are perishable and MUST be sustained.
The federal era of penny-wise and pound-foolish support for local preparedness for a growing threat needs to end now. The forward-looking cities of Cleveland and Philadelphia are doing their best to prepare for the two national political conventions. They need special supports now and ongoing support long after those conventions close—and the same is true for all of the nation’s urban areas as we recognize that any town can be convulsed by the traumas and tragedies we’ve seen all too often.
Since 2010 grant funds needed to assist the majority of those metropolitan and urban areas to prepare for, respond to, and recover from attacks have been cut by over 600 million dollars.
ACTION: Please immediately contact your Members of Congress and request their support to restore full funding to assist metropolitan and urban areas to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
Questions? Contact IAEM member and President of the Homeland Security Alliance Carmine Centrella at 860-982-9326 or Paul Weichselbaum IAEM member and President of the MMRS National Leadership Group at 315-565-9007.