I would like to propose that FEMA's National Preparedness Division change the Technical Hazards Divisions name to fit with the rest of the emergency management profession to CBRNE Division and that it be given the resources to expand beyond CSEEP (Chemical warfare agent demilitarization) and REP (commercial nuclear power plants). Formally FEMA’s preparedness mission included hazardous materials, but the funding was lost as Congress and the Nation focused on WMD and HAZMAT lost its importance.
Propose that the CBRNE Division have the responsibility for the development of planning and training-exercise materials for state, tribal and local governments along with citizen preparedness. It should be broken down into sections for:
Chemical, which includes chemical weapons, toxic industrial chemicals and toxic industrial materials. Has the responsibility of working with the agencies and organizations (NRT and RRTs, SERC and LEPCs) which deal in this area day-to-day, i.e., US EPA, US DOT, US DOE, and DHHS. They are to build the tools and guidance documents, not conduct exercises.
Biological, has the responsibility of working with the agencies (DHHS and USDA) and public health and medical organizations which deal in this area day-to-day. They are to help build the tools and guidance documents, not conduct exercises. Planning for isolation, quarantine, medical surge, etc should all fall into this sections area of responsibility.
Radiological and Nuclear. This section would have responsibility for the REP program (commercial nuclear power plants), other nuclear/radiation fixed facility, transportation of radiological materials, NASA space vehicles with radiological materials on board, planning and preparedness and improvised nuclear devices (IND), radiological dispersion devices (RDD), radiological exposure devices (RED). Would partner with agencies and organizations currently working in this area, such as US DOE, NRC, US EPA, NASA, and DOD
Explosives. The need for planning and preparedness for explosives devices continues to grow as terrorist continue to improve their abilities. DOJ has done an exceptional job of preparing the law enforcement community and fire service, benefiting the emergency management community as well. FEMA, also needs to become a partner in this effort, ensuring that the preparedness and response and recovery of explosives devises are part of all-hazards plans and procedures. FEMA would work with DOJ, FBI, ATF, DOD and the other agencies involved in this area.
An engineering section is also needed to look methods and tools for protecting structures and consolidating it into planning guidance documents and instructional materials.
Additionally the CBRNS Division would be resources for FEMA disaster operations to call on for exercise design or actual responses to a CBRNE, participate in FEMA’s international assistance, etc.