Title Page Previous Next Contents | Part 1. A Day of Disaster >Reinforcements



That first day, in response to what appeared within less than an hour to be terrorist-inspired events, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) activated its Federal Response Plan, bringing together 28 federal agencies and the American Red Cross to assist local and state governments in responding to national emergencies and disasters.


Within a few hours, according to its press release, the agency “deployed eight Urban Search & Rescue teams (US&R) to New York City to search for victims in the affected buildings. US&R teams are specially trained teams that include engineers and other technical experts as well as specially trained search dogs. Another four teams have been deployed to the Pentagon, for search and rescue efforts there.” Its search and rescue response was the largest deployment in U.S. history. (23)


Each FEMA-sponsored task force member was highly trained for search-and-rescue operations in damaged or collapsed structures, hazardous materials evaluations and damaged structure stabilization. The team also can provide emergency medical care to the injured. Teams include: firefighters, structural engineers, paramedics/physicians, hazardous materials specialists, technicians, logistics specialists and canine/handler teams.


The Federal Emergency Response Plan was implemented immediately after first attack, according to White House. And at the same time all U.S. embassies and U.S. forces around the world were put on “high alert.” (The highest alert is THREATCON DELTA.)


The federal order to ground all aircraft, stopping all flights nationwide at their departure airports, was also issued for the first time.


That same day, Governor Pataki asked the President for a federal disaster designation for New York State; that request granted, the New York National Guard also deployed for the first time the federal Civil Support Team.  The CST arrived in New York City with a mission to assist first responders in identifying hazardous materials related to disasters. An additional 2,490 National Guard troops were mobilized and readied for deployment. The Governor also directed all state government offices south of 14th Street (in a thereafter designated “frozen zone”) closed for several days. (24)


Besides all these agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had a vital role in the disaster response with its mapping and remote sensing technical capabilities. It coordinated a “highly detailed mapping mission at both disaster sites using high resolution aerial photography and light detection and ranging technology” (LIDAR), which can scan terrain elevations. (25)


The federal response was of course not limited to the scene of the disasters but all sorts of installations that might be at risk of terrorism—nuclear power plants, chemical plants and more.

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