Federal Report: Most U.S. Cities Not Prepared for Attack

A new report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that most American cities do not have adequate communication plans in place in the event of a disaster. Five years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, only six major U.S. areas received the DHS’ highest rating: San Diego, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Washington, D.C.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Laramie County, Wyo.

The DHS looked at the emergency communications systems of 75 urban and metropolitan areas. The evaluations centered on the ability of police, fire, and medical personnel to communicate effectively with one another in the case of a crisis, as well as the precautionary coordination among various emergency bureaus. Chicago, Baton Rouge, La., and Cleveland were among the municipalities that had the poorest scores in the study.

Persisting emergency communications problems were highlighted during the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe of 2005. Democrats have promised to make the issue of crisis communications a high priority in the coming Congressional session.

“Five years after 9/11, we continue to turn a deaf ear to gaps in interoperable communications,” Sen. Charles Schumer told the Associated Press. “If it didn’t have such potentially devastating consequences, it would be laughable.”

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