While those events fundamentally changed the way first responders (fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement) do our daily business, the effect on response to 95 percent of our service calls has been minimal. Most of these calls involve someone having a bad day, but those calls affect only a few people at a time.
The other five percent of the calls may, or should, make us consider “What if this isn’t an accident? What if someone did this on purpose?” It’s too easy to say “We aren’t a target. We are too small and too insignificant to warrant that type of attention.” But as first responders, we have to consider this. We have to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
We certainly are better prepared than we were 10 years ago. We have obtained new equipment, become more involved in local agencies with counterterrorism responsibilities, received specific threat training, and conducted or participated in many multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction training exercises.
We have worked hard to identify local hazards and threats in our community and have been working to develop response plans for each potential target. We have taken measures to increase the security of local assets, critical infrastructure and targets of opportunity.
Most of these preparations are transparent to the local community, and that’s the way it should be. The citizens we serve should feel confident that when they need help, all they need do is dial 9-1-1 and the appropriate responder will be there as soon as possible.
That’s one thing that has not changed.
CSFD Public Information Officer