“America Burning” Revisited Report Of 1987

One of the key findings of the America Burning report of 1987 is that fire departments should increase their preparedness for disasters occurring. In it, FEMA (1987) states that “fire departments are generally the first responders to almost every kind of disaster, including natural and technological hazards, and even domestic terrorism and foreign attack” (p. 17). This finding is especially relevant today, as natural catastrophes have been occurring at an increasing rates, and the threats of terrorism and extremism are becoming more common in society. Thus, it is extremely important for the fire departments everywhere in the country to remain prepared to act quickly and efficiently in case of any disaster to provide best outcomes, as well as protect and support population in the immediate vicinity.

Each disaster, accident, and catastrophe has its own characteristics, the nature of damage, the volume and scale of destruction, and the magnitude of disasters and human losses. Knowledge of the causes and nature of different kinds of disasters makes it possible to significantly reduce all types of losses with the early adoption of protection measures and efficient prevention strategies. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2022) reports that “climate change, land use, large-scale insect infestation, fuel availability, and management practices, including fire suppression play an important role in wildfire frequency and intensity” (para. 6). This indicates that fire departments should adjust their prevention and action strategies accordingly. One of the main problems in this regard today is the correct forecasting of the occurrence and development of natural disasters and early warning of both the authorities and the population about the approaching danger. It is very important and extremely necessary to carry out all-round localization of natural disasters in order to narrow the zone of destruction and provide timely assistance to the victims.

The issue of minimizing the consequences in case of a terrorist attack, a mass shooting, or any other big scale violent act is also relevant to the work of fire department. For example, during the 9/11 catastrophe, several weeks were spent on extinguishing fires in the remains of Twin Towers, and the fires were occurring in the rubble for more than 90 days (The Guardian, 2001). This was due to the fact that the New York state fire departments were not prepared to deal with a disaster of this scale, and there was no effective strategy to diminish the damages and losses. Moreover, the design issues of the towers, such as the narrowness of the stairwells, were another major factor in the unsuccessfulness of the rescue operation (Colgan, 2021) Firemen and emergency workers had to put out the fire that arose in the ruins, and at the same time try to save people who remained under the rubble. However, the mass panic, restricted space, and overall unpreparedness of the local rescue forces hindered the process significantly.

A fire department is typically at the forefront of any type of disaster, reducing the damages, controlling fires, and assisting emergency services in any way possible. Thus, natural disasters, accidents, and catastrophes should be resisted with high level of organization, clear and thoughtful measures of federal and local authorities, and cooperation of various emergency departments. With increased preparedness, there are less human losses and material damage, and the measures to eliminate the consequences of disasters are more effectively carried out. Moreover, advance information makes it possible to carry out preventive work and develop strategies to alert authorities and population in a quicker, more efficient manner.

Works Cited

Colgan, Jill. “A Design Choice Made in 1965 Inadvertently Determined Who Lived and Who Died in the US on 9/11.” ABC News, Web.

Environmental Protection Agency. “Climate Change Indicators: Wildfires.” EPA, 2022, Web.

FEMA. America Burning Revisited. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 1987.

The Guardian. “Ground Zero Stops Burning, after 100 Days.” The Guardian | News and Media, 2001, Web.