Regional-Fundamentals Explained

Upon reviewing FEMA’s Regional NIMS Coordinator Roster it is resolved that the state of Delaware is located in Region III which included Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, the state of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Traditionally the area of Delaware encompasses the potential for an array of disasters and emergencies as well as latent terrorist events. In order to reduce the related loss of life and property the city, state and federal agencies work hand-in-hand to abet the crisis as they occur. In specific threats within the state, Delaware is centered on the occasional Nor’easter, a possible hurricane and the ever present flooding. We have recently been seeing a rash of tornado warnings issued for Maryland but so far they are rare in Delaware.

We are not without the chances of experiencing industrial emergencies as the Northern portion of the state has an abundance of commercial chemical and oil related enterprises. Foremost of those companies include DuPont, Keen, Arch, Atlantic Chemical and Conoco. In addition to the perils connected to the chemical industry plants which reside in the Wilmington area we also have the prospective hazards of the Salem Hope Creek Nuclear Reactor which is directly across the bay in nearby New Jersey. An accident which may occur at the Salem reactor could affect the lives of thousands of people who reside in Northern Delaware.

Foremost of concern by the Homeland security is the terrorist element present in our society since we are so close to the Washington DC area and they are part of the Region III states. In the recent past the HQ Disaster Operations Directorate has supported the Secret Service in the 56th Presidential Inauguration, a whistle stop tour, the 2008 G-20 Summit and the 2009 G-20 Summit held in Pittsburgh. Incident Management Teams were actively deployed on the scene for all events.

To combat the potential of natural or manmade disasters the state preparedness agency, DEMA has partnered with several other agencies such as the American Red Cross and other volunteer organizations. DEMA publishes and distributes free educational literature to inform the citizens of the potential threats and how they can best prepare themselves. During a possible natural disaster both the local television and radio stations combined with National Weather Service participate in notifying the neighborhoods involved of the approaching hazard.

On the local level we have developed local Emergency Operations Plans which outline the responsibilities of all agencies involved. These plans have taken the state plans and expanded upon it to compensate for our local issues. There are provisions provided for not only natural disasters but also nuclear, biological and even hazardous material incidents. During potential deteriorating weather the daily status is monitored for dangerous trends. In the past the city has assisted many of the business operators in developing their individual emergency plans specifically tailored for their establishment.

In general the preparedness level is adequate, however in any program that deals with the unexpected there is always room for improvement. The various agencies did very well in last winter blizzard. We need to involve ourselves more in potential flood areas on a local level which must adequately take into consideration the re-engineering of roads and highways when necessary. If the city, county and state fails to satisfactorily deal with these flooding vulnerabilities in their community planning programs the homeowners may be subject to unnecessary risks resulting from flooding.