Colin Falato, Susan Smith and Tyler Kress of the University of Tennessee said that historically, local knowledge and experience had been considered best suited to dealing with common natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. Federal government intervention had been limited to assistance after the disaster.
However, in the last 25 years, 902 disaster declarations have been made as a result of hurricanes, fires, windstorms, earthquakes, tornadoes and floods. In addition, the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, refocused the country's attention on disaster preparedness and the realization that there was a lack of preparedness for such disasters, the researchers said.
The analysis, published in the International Journal of Emergency Management, said federal and state support must be given to programs that enable local governments to work effectively with communities to prepare for and respond to all disasters.
Local organizations often do not have the resources or the training to effectively react -- federal and state support must be given to programs that enable local governments to work effectively with communities to prepare for and respond to all disasters, the researchers said in a statement.