Emergency shortfalls classified

A comprehensive assessment of how well-prepared the states and territories

are to respond to acts of terrorism revealed the need for better equipment

and training, improved communications capabilities and more mutual aid pacts,

said a Federal Emergency Management Agency official.

The classified federal document — a "snapshot" of the nation's overall

current capabilities and shortfalls — will help the federal government

decide how to best use limited funds and resources for homeland security,

said Charles Biggs, deputy director of FEMA's Planning and Readiness Division

(www.fema.gov).

"Let me just say what we saw on 9/11 won't be the last time," Biggs

said Dec. 10 during the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council's

national conference in Las Vegas. "There will be a future incident."

He said the federal government assessed the states' preparedness on

18 issues, some of which include:

* Whether the states have an organizational process to look at critical

infrastructures, such as airports and the electrical grid.

* Whether the states have continuity of operations or contingency plans

and performed exercises.

* The level of command and control when multiple jurisdictions are involved.

* Whether the states updated their emergency operations plan and protocols.

* How a state's first responders deal with and manage a credible threat.

* Whether the states have robust communications equipment to warn the

public and whether they have alternative means of communication.

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