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CBRN and Hazmat Incidents at Major Public Events: Planning and Response by Dan Kaszeta

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CHAPTER 5

Building Capability and Capacity

Preparedness is really about developing capability (what jobs you can do) and capacity (how much of that job you can do) in order to be ready for an incident. Before I consider specific preparedness efforts in the various response disciplines, I think that it is important to look at some general measures that are useful across the board to develop both capability and capacity. Once you have developed a workable set of planning scenarios and have a planning threshold to work against, you can set out to bridge the gap between your present capability and capacity and your goal. One way to start is with a census of capability and capacity. Since it is easier to demonstrate what I mean than describe it, Appendices D and E provide examples of many of the concepts desctibed later in this chapter.

SURVEY THE EXISTING CAPABILITY

Capability answers the question “what jobs can we do?” Planners need to be able to assess what kinds of activities existing response organizations can do. Calculating the “delta”—the difference between present capability and desired goal—is not very easy. A comprehensive self-examination of what an agency, municipality, or government can actually accomplish is a necessary and often painful requirement for preparing for a major event. Sometimes it can be difficult, because an organization may not be ready to admit to real or perceived shortcomings. A strategy based on hope and optimism is not a substitute for a rigorous ...

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