Local and State Law Enforcement
Anchorage is a municipality located in the South-Central region of Alaska, the largest state in America. It is located in a valley surrounded by mountains resulting in warmer temperatures than those experienced in other parts of the state. Anchorage municipality covers a landmass of approximately 1,704 square miles and an estimated population of 295, 570 people (“Anchorage Municipality,” 2012). This municipality’s location makes it susceptible to numerous natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and other extreme weather. According to reports, the rates at which earthquakes can cause damage are higher in Anchorage than in the entire state of Alaska and the United States at large (“Anchorage AK,” 2012). In 1964, the worst-ever earthquake in the history of North America, known as the Good Friday earthquake, hit Anchorage (“Information on Anchorage,” 2009). In addition to the natural disasters, the municipality faces terror threats just like other parts of Alaska and greater America. For this reasons, it is imperative that a local plan is devised to deal with the looming dangers arising from natural disasters such as storms and volcanoes, as well as, terror attacks.
Local and State Law Enforcement
Local, State, federal, humanitarian, private, non-governmental and other actors can be involved in dealing with such calamities through an official agreement (“State of Alaska,” 2011). At the local level, the Anchorage police department, the fire department, local hospitals and Anchorage ambulance and rescue services (“State of Alaska,” 2011). At State level, the following departments should be involved; Office of the Governor, State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (AKDHS&EM), Alaska Information and Analysis center (AKIAC), Alaska Earthquake information Center (AEIC) and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) (“State of Alaska,” 2011). At the federal level, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), The U.S. Military, U.S. Coast guard, Alaskan Command (ALCOM), Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Warning Center (NWC), and National Weather Service (NWS) should be incorporated (“State of Alaska,” 2011). Contributions could also come from nongovernmental agencies and churches such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army respectively.
These organizations are chosen based on their general roles and responsibilities. These agencies are required to come together during terrorist or catastrophic events to pool their resources and increase their collective capacity to address any such event effectively and efficiently (“State of Alaska,” 2011). All the organizations as mentioned can deal with specific issues, for instance in case of a fire the fire department is best positioned to deal with this given their training and equipments used in their operations (“State of Alaska,” 2011). The functions of these organizations fall within different categories in line with their capacity such as Firefighting, communication, emergency management, transportation, public security and safety and search and rescue.
This agreement will not affect their current responsibilities and will work if the capacities of the organization are streamlined. The agreement is just a plan on how to respond to disasters efficiently and effectively, and this is done by assigning roles to organizations, and these roles have to fall in line with their general responsibilities. The determination of the official communication channels through the plan will reduce and at times eliminate misunderstandings instead giving the organizations an opportunity to focus on their responsibilities.
The police department will substantially provide security to the affected areas. The police will also get involved in search and rescue operations; clear the streets and direct traffic and can also provide transportation (“Plan and Prepare for Disasters,” n.d.). The fire department is expected to contain cases of fire and evacuate people who are affected and those at proximity. They can also be involved in search and rescue and also provide transportation. The local hospitals are to provide facilitation for the treatment of the injured. The ambulance and rescue services are expected to provide speedy transport of the injured to hospitals and can also provide first aid or light medical assistance. The office of the Governor is expected to inform the public of events by declaring a state of emergency or disaster emergency. The SEOC is expected to coordinate and control information and communications. It is also tasked with determination of the alert level as communicated by other organizations.
The AKDHS&EM is expected to provide financial assistance in the affected areas (Reese, 2007). The AKIAC is expected to provide public information, communication, warning and alert notification. The AEIC is expected to provide public information, notifications, alerts and warnings particularly when it revolves around earthquakes (“Emergency Management,” n.d.). The AVO is expected to issue alerts on situations concerning volcanic activity and can also provide financial and administration services (“Natural Disasters,” 2008). The FEMA is expected to provide control and coordination within the federal level organization (“Disaster Recovery Centers,” 2003). The FBI is expected to carry out investigations to ascertain the true nature of the events in case of terrorism (“Terrorism Incident Law,” 2004) The Military is expected to provide security and evacuation procedures. They can also be involved in search and rescue procedures (“Building a Resilient Nation,” n.d.). The U.S Coast guard is expected to maintain security along the coast line and can also be involved in search and rescue operations.
The ALCOM is expected to provide information and communications revolving around the events of the catastrophe (“Building a Resilient Nation,” n.d.). The CDC is expected to carry out evacuation procedures around areas where there is an outbreak or threat of an outbreak of a disease. They will also be tasked with provision of medical services and financial and administration services. The NWC is expected to issue warnings on the situation to the wider public. The NWS is expected to provide the public with information concerning the weather and the impact it might have. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are expected to deal with the humanitarian crisis that comes as a result of terrorist or catastrophic events.
One organization should be appointed the lead to ensure all the agencies speak in one voice and their commands or directives do not interfere or conflict with one another. The organization to be tasked with this responsibility should have different capacities, which are highly, developed to be appointed as the command or control centre (“State of Alaska,” 2011). It will be best if this organization has space to work with representatives from all the other organizations within the plan to ensure smooth communications.
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Anchorage Municipality. (2012). State and County Quick Facts. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/02/02020.html
Building a Resilient Nation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dhs.gov/building-resilient-nation
Disaster Recovery Centres. (2003). Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov/news-release/disaster recovery-centers-anchorage-palmer-close
Emergency Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.muni.org/Departments/OEM/EOC/Pages/default.aspx
Information on Anchorage. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/medicine/som/depts/medex/applicants/trainin sites_anchorage.tm
Natural Disasters. (2008). Retrieved from http://akcenter.org/climate-energy/effects-of-climate change/cost-of-natural-disasters
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Reese, S. (2007). State and Urban Area Homeland Security Plans and Exercises: Issues for the 110th Congress. Retrieved from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA467265
State of Alaska Emergency Operations Plan. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.akprepared.com/documents/State%20of%20Alaska%20Emergency%20Ope ations%20Pla%202 11_12_22_2011.pdf
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