Terrorism in America is not purely academic now, it is a reality. Teaching terrorism classes throughout the United States over the last several years has been a great experience. I enjoy teaching and visiting other fire departments. One thing I have notice when teaching fire departments, police academies, fire academies, and conferences is that we still need to strive forward in our teaching efforts. We are not really ready for emergency response to terrorism! We are getting closer in our preparation and our final goal of being well equipped, well trained, and ready to respond.
Many are not prepared to respond to these types of incidents. We need to focus training on emergency response to terrorism more than ever before, after the most recent events (Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on 9/11/01).
I have been an instructor in a variety of terrorism type programs for several years and have found we need a good base of knowledge to respond to these types of events. When teaching the domestic terrorism programs (Awareness, Operations, and Incident Command) I found that this is the starting place for a good base of knowledge. Terrorism training which includes, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) training is indeed needed, but we need to go further. What is the next step? The next step is attending courses that have gone beyond the basics. The National Fire Academy (NFA) has helped us in the development of Tactical Considerations for Company Officers and Strategic Considerations for Command Officers. Recently a new program by the National Fire Academy (NFA) has been developed to focus even more attention and knowledge on this important subject, it is entitled "Advanced Tactical Management for Incident Commanders."
Preparation through planning and training are keys in this new threat. Recently I read an article that indicated we need to focus on terrorism. This article told of a Commission that stressed the need for perpetration, planning, and training in this important area of emergency response. By the way, the article was written six months prior to the September 11th, 2001 attack on New York and Washington, D.C. The Twin Towers were once again the target of terrorist! At this point I want to express my sincere condolences to all whom have been effected by this horrific tragedy.
All of this talk on training brings me to expand further on the point of building that knowledge base. A very valuable course is available for the emergency services, It is entitled "Emergency Response to Terrorism Self-Study." This book is published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation of several other organizations. If you need training on this subject matter you can obtain a copy through the United States Fire Administration Publications Office at:
Web Site: www.usfa.fema.gov
Phone #: 1-800-238-3358 Extension 1189 or (301) 447-1189
Fax #: (301) 447-1213
I also want to point out that at the end of the course materials is a final exam. To receive a Certificate of Completion from the National Fire Academy, complete the exam and mail it in to the address provided. You must receive a score of 70 percent or higher to receive the certificate.
Okay, now let's say you have studied and prepared for emergency response to a terrorist event. You have a good base of knowledge on the subject. Make sure you have also prepared yourself for the tactical considerations, strategic considerations and Incident Command. You most likely have taken a number of courses of instruction to obtain this information. What is next? I eluted to this earlier in this article, a couple of the newest courses that are being developed and presented are: