Letter: The Lack of Police and Fire Training or Preparation For the Aftermath of An EMP

I have been visiting west coast fire departments and law enforcement agencies, and none of them, including LAPD, LA Sheriffs, Seattle PD , Oakland PD, or Portland PD, have or plan on scheduling any EMP training drills, and they are not even thinking about how their police or fire agency is going to deal with the aftermath of an EMP.

Everyone talks about how devastating an EMP could be and how the aftermath will affect everyone, but no one from Police and Fire is talking about what and how are they going to react to a catastrophic EMP event.

Has there been any articles on your blog as to whether or not there are any plans from the first responders on just how are they going to deal with an EMP. – D.P.

HJL Responds: While there are many articles on SurvivalBlog about the specifics of EMP, the damage it can cause, how to protect equipment, and other information, first responders have to look to their local organizations for response plans. Since 911, all first responders participate in Incident Response Plans formulated by their local governing agencies. The federal government spends an extraordinary amount of money on developing training materials and classes and makes this information available at little to no cost to all of these first responder agencies. During the 911 crises, first responders learned that on large scale emergencies, differing agencies did not play well with each other, so the focus has been on creating an infrastructure that can grow or shrink with the emergency and allow the interaction and inter-operation of whatever aid organization, both private and public, that was necessary. EMP is just one of many scenarios for which training has been considered, yet emphasis is always placed on the most likely issues to face the local community. For instance, if your community has a major railway that crosses through it, dealing with hazardous material spills will take a higher precedence in training than will EMP issues. While an EMP may be devastating on a national level, the likelihood of that event actually occurring is much smaller than a hazardous materials spill on the railroad or highway system.

It would be nice if they could train for every conceivable issue, but the reality is that there are so many issues that can happen, they must spend their resources, time, and energy on those that they know will happen. Sadly, for EMP to make it higher on the list of priorities, there will probably have to be some form of EMP strike somewhere in the world first.