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Always Prepare for the Future, But Never Forget the Past

September is a month to remember lives that were lost in the line of duty and prepare for future emergencies and disasters to minimize the consequences and reduce the number of lives and properties that could be lost. Three notable lessons emerged when terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 (9/11). First, the United States is not immune to terrorist threats on its own soil. Second, interoperability gaps between agencies and organizations must be closed to ensure the safety and security of communities, states, and the nation from domestic and foreign threats – whether they originate from nature, humans, or technology. Third, the physical and psychological effects of a major disaster can have significant lasting effects on those who respond to help. 

This September edition of the Domestic Preparedness Journal addresses these and other key preparedness efforts that should be considered when planning for future incidents. Reflecting on the events of 9/11, consider the personal costs that emergency responders pay for serving their communities and develop mitigation strategies to reduce those costs. Also, evaluate the organizational changes that have occurred since 9/11 and the gaps that still need to be addressed. 

For potential future incidents, consider public-private and interagency collaboration to plan for events that span jurisdictions and ensure that all community members, including vulnerable populations and people with disabilities, are included in those plans. Discover new ways to incorporate existing underutilized resources, such as state defense forces and volunteer groups, as force multipliers. 

Anyone with a role in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery has a lot to consider to best protect the communities they serve. Whether preparing for an act of Mother Nature, a public health threat, a violent attack, a cybersecurity threat, or something else, collaboration and coordination across and between communities builds resources and capabilities, supports communities in crisis and those who respond to help, and speeds recovery efforts. During National Preparedness Month and the rest of the year, remember the events of the past and prepare for the future. 



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