Finding the "sweet spot" for catastrophic incident search and rescue
Bleakney, Eric M.
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This thesis examines the national preparedness to conduct catastrophic incident search and rescue (SAR) using organization-specific doctrine, concept plans, congressional research reports and testimonies, after action reviews, periodicals, federal government plans, interviews, a focus group and two benchmark studies. The research indicates that individual organizations conduct SAR activities well, but combined, joint and interagency catastrophic search and rescue preparations are lacking. Should another catastrophic incident occur tomorrow, the SAR results will likely exhibit the same unacceptable inefficiency as was found in Hurricane Katrina. Finding the sweet spot for response to catastrophic incidents is needed. There are three major findings: First, a national strategy for SAR is needed. This epic effort will help to improve the interagency coordination between equity holders of the search and rescue megacommunity and set the conditions to improve catastrophic incident SAR. Secondly, a Joint Air Ground Coordination Center (JAGCC) is critical to effective response operations. Two benchmark studies suggest a framework for developing a SAR coordination center using experiences of the wildland firefighting community and the United States Secret Service. Finally, domestic and international interagency coordination through integrated strategy development, planning, training and exercises is needed to improve response operations.
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