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Profile: Bruce Baughman
Bruce Baughman was a participant or observer in the following events:
Peter LaPorte. [Source: Executive Affairs Group]Officials consider a scenario in which a terrorist chemical attack occurs in Washington, DC. Local officials, along with members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), come up with “a scenario in which terrorists release poison gas at hot dog stands, one at 17th and D Streets NW and one on the Mall near the Museum of American History,” the Washington Post will later describe. Whether they do this as part of a training exercise will be unstated. As they envisage the scenario, the officials successfully predict the public’s behavior on September 11, when traffic in Washington will be clogged as workers head home in response to the live television reports of the terrorist attacks. The FEMA members and Peter LaPorte, director of the DC Emergency Management Agency, determine, after considering the scenario, that if a terrorist attack occurs, the public must be given information within an hour of the incident so as to knock down rumors, explain the fastest routes out of the city, and identify areas to avoid. They suggest that authorities should make use of the Washington Area Warning System, which is a mechanism for providing emergency communications to officials in the Washington area during a crisis, or hold a news conference immediately. However, on September 11, the first news conference in Washington will take place more than three hours after the first hijacked plane crashes into the World Trade Center. Following the simulation, LaPorte and the FEMA members will urge that a plan be created, which outlines how the Washington area should respond to a terrorist incident and efforts to create such a plan will then get underway. However, since the plan’s intended date of completion is spring 2002, it will not be ready to be implemented on September 11. “It’s clear these [emergency response] things didn’t happen [on September 11] because we didn’t have a plan,” Bruce Baughman, director of FEMA’s planning and readiness division, will complain in the days after 9/11. [Washington Post, 9/17/2001]
Bruce Baughman. [Source: Elise Moore / FEMA]Bruce Baughman, director of the planning and readiness division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), takes charge at FEMA headquarters in Washington, DC, because more senior FEMA officials, including the agency’s director, are away from the capital. FEMA Director Joseph Allbaugh and Lacy Suiter, FEMA’s assistant director of readiness, response, and recovery, are in Big Sky, Montana, attending the annual conference of the National Emergency Management Association (see September 8-11, 2001 and After 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). Baughman, who led FEMA’s response to the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995 (see 8:35 a.m. - 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995), therefore has to take charge of FEMA’s response to today’s terrorist attacks. In this capacity, he is responsible for activating FEMA’s emergency operations center, dispatching disaster medical personnel to the scenes of the attacks, and establishing emergency communications for New York. After the Twin Towers come down (see 9:59 a.m. September 11, 2001 and 10:28 a.m. September 11, 2001), he calls up the first FEMA urban search and rescue teams, which specialize in rescuing people from collapsed structures. [Block and Cooper, 2006, pp. 73-75] He will subsequently personally brief President Bush on three days while response operations are underway. [9/11 Commission, 11/17/2003 ]
FEMA Will Help Local Agencies Respond to the Attacks - In May, Bush put FEMA in charge of responding to terrorist attacks in the United States (see May 8, 2001). [White House, 5/8/2001; Los Angeles Times, 5/9/2001] The agency therefore plays a key role in the government’s response to today’s attacks. The emergency response team at its headquarters is activated today, along with all 10 of its regional operations centers. It also activates its federal response plan, which, it states, “brings together 28 federal agencies and the American Red Cross to assist local and state governments in response to national emergencies and disasters.” It deploys eight urban search and rescue teams to New York to search for victims in the debris from the collapsed World Trade Center buildings, and four urban search and rescue teams to the Pentagon to assist the response there. These teams consist mainly of local emergency services personnel, and are trained and equipped to handle structural collapses. [Federal Emergency Management Agency, 9/11/2001; Federal Emergency Management Agency, 9/11/2001; US National Response Team, 2014, pp. 2 ] In the days and weeks following the attacks, it will work with state and city officials to carry out the task of removing the debris from the WTC site. [Block and Cooper, 2006, pp. 75]
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