CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL THREATS TOP MAYORS HOMELAND SECURITY CONCERNS
New Survey Finds Strong Need for More Resources Devoted to Threat Detection, Emergency Response Equipment
WASHINGTON, DC - A new homeland security survey of the nation's mayors, including those governing some of the nation's largest cities, finds they are most concerned about the threat of chemical and biological terrorism. According to a summary of the survey released today, mayors are most likely to report funding shortfalls for threat detection and emergency response equipment purchases.
Key survey findings, conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and DuPont through their Cities United for Science Progress partnership, include:
- Concerns about terrorist attacks have not abated among mayors. More than seven out of ten mayors express "very high concern" or "high concern" about chemical (73%) and biological (71%) threats. Two-thirds are similarly concerned about bomb threats. Less than half expressed the same level of concern about traditional crime (48%), cyber threats (46%), and nuclear threats (30%).
- Mayors are extremely dissatisfied with the level of funding their city is receiving from state and federal governments.
- Mayors feel strongly that additional funding and resources should be directed to nearly every aspect of local homeland preparedness, especially threat detection (79%), emergency response equipment (77%), protecting infrastructure (75%), and purchasing protecting apparel (69%).
- Only 26% of mayors are satisfied with the availability of overtime for emergency personnel, a major factor in ensuring preparedness and response capability.
- Mayors want additional funding channeled directly to cities and their first responders. 87% say their city's emergency preparedness funding would be "hampered if the federal government were to provide funding directly to the state as opposed to directly to the city."
- Most mayors are satisfied with their preparedness plan (72% rate as "very satisfied" or "satisfied"), communications plan (55%), and communication within a core of first responding agencies. However, most mayors see a need to improve communications beyond this core - to neighboring jurisdictions, hospitals and the medical community, businesses, and the general public.
- Some cities identify a "best practice," even in areas generally identified as unsatisfactory such as threat detection, regional emergency response planning, and plans that involve the medical community. These best practices could provide a basis for learning and action on the part of other communities. The Conference also released a new publication that highlights best practices for combating terrorism in cities across the country.
"This survey underscores the work cities have done to prepare for emergencies," said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "But it also demonstrates that, when it comes to preparedness, it is a new day with new needs for our cities. Cities urgently need direct federal assistance to ensure they can respond effectively to any emergency."
"DuPont is pleased to partner with USCM on this survey, as one example of the ways in which we are working together to promote safety and protection," said William O. McCabe, DuPont Director-Safety through Science Initiative. "With last week's launch of organizational change in homeland security at a federal level, it becomes extremely timely for the views of local leaders to be examined, understood, and included."
The survey summary is currently available at www.usmayors.org. The full survey will be released and discussed at the Conference's 70th Annual Meeting in Madison on Friday, June 14, following remarks by Transportation Security Chief John Magaw. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge will address the Conference on Monday, June 17.
In October, the nation's mayors released a comprehensive National Action Plan for Safety and Security in America's Cities. The plan recommended federalization of airport security screening and creation of a new Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security.
Founded in 1933, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with a population of 30,000 or more. The primary roles of the Conference of Mayors are to: promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information. Find more information at www.usmayors.org.
Cities United through Science Progress (CUSP) is a partnership of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and DuPont. Its mission is to assist mayors in creating healthier, safer, more innovative and economically vibrant cities through science-based solutions. DuPont is celebrating its 200th year of scientific achievement and innovation. In February, DuPont formed DuPont Safety & Protection, a grouping of businesses with more than 8,400 people in 21 plants and laboratories worldwide that are leveraging and expanding DuPont technology, brands, knowledge and experience to become the global market leader in protecting people, property and operations.
USCM press contact: Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766
DuPont press contact: Nancy Tidona (302) 992-3148