In Case of Emergency, Read This Blog

In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog

A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

London Report On 7/7 Transit Bombings Offers Lesson About Need To “Re-cast” U.S. Emergency Plans From Public’s Point Of View

June 29th, 2008 · No Comments

An email from a new reader, Jo from London reminded me that I had meant to post the 2006 Report of the London Assembly’s 7 July Review Committee, which was set up to examine the lessons to be learned from the authorities’ response to the London bombings on July 7th, 2005.  

Though it is now two years old, the Report is a fascinating and incisive study whose overall conclusions about the lack of attention to the public in emergency preparedness and planning are important on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, the report contains some of the most direct and profound insights about citizen preparedness that I’ve read in a government report. 

7/7 bombing victims' claims ... 

A London bus where terrorists set off a bomb July 7, 2005

According to the Review Committee report:

“{Emergency] procedures tend to focus too much on incidents rather than individuals, and on processes rather than people. Emergency plans tend to cater for the needs of the emergency and other responding services, rather than explicitly addressing the needs and priorities and the people involved.”

The Report further recommended:

“London’s plans should be re-cast from the point of view of people involved in a major or catastrophic incident rather than focusing primarily on the point of view of each emergency service. A change of mindset is needed to bring about the necessary shift of focus from incidents to individuals and from processes to people.”

A followup report in 2007 indicated that the British authorities had made improvements in their response plans, particularly in regard to the public. However, the idea that there needs to be a “change of mindset” and the emergency plans should be “re-cast” to take the interests and the point of view of the  ”people”into consideration is a lesson that we here in the U.S. must learn as well. I would argue that we have not yet.  

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Tags: International · Preparedness Lessons

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