National Disaster Drills: Just A Costly Game?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent $218 million on national emergency drills since 2005. But the one set for next month in Nevada has been cancelled, and the federal government is considering scaling back next year’s National Level Exercise.

In an article on the Washington Post website, Spencer S. Hsu says some emergency planners and state officials are concerned that the federal government, in a cost cutting measure, may “dumb down” the drills to make them easier to pass.

Officials said they wanted to improve the drills, which Napolitano said have grown into an “elaborate game” that doesn’t necessarily foster problem-solving in a disaster scenario. But emergency planners fear that canceling or scaling back on the tests means the government is regressing in its efforts to prepare for the worst.

“The fact that the central United States could face a catastrophic earthquake soon is scary enough,” said one official, “but the fact that FEMA and DHS appear overwhelmed by even doing an exercise on this scenario is very disturbing.”

To read the Washington Post article click here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/01/AR2010040103746.html?hpid

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