GAO releases report measuring national preparedness during an RDD and IND attack

The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently conducted a survey to determine how many cities were prepared in the event of a terrorist attack using a radiological dispersal device or improvised nuclear device.

The survey was conducted using a questionnaire, which was sent to representative from every state. Twenty-seven major cities responded. Of all 27 cities, 11 reported complete RDD emergency response and eight reported complete IND response plans.

Some of the questionnaires returned reported that some cities would use the all hazards emergency preparedness plan or hazard management planned in the event of an RDD or IND attack. Most of the cities reported having conducted exercises to ensure the efficacy of each plan.

The responses of how quickly the emergency responders would be able to respond varied greatly, ranging from within 24 hours self-sufficiently to being unable to do anything under federal assistance arrived. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said that cities should be self-reliant in the event of an RDD or IND emergency, at least to a degree. If a small-scale attack takes place, there will likely be limited assistance.

The GAO released recommendations, based on the report, that advised FEMA to attend to the cities that admitted a lack of preparedness because this can result in greater loss of life and economic consequences during an emergency situation. FEMA disagreed and said the government should be responsible for filling in the gap to explain FEMA's established emergency response plans.