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Hospitals, Hotels, Malls - Soft Targets

We've been reading about the terrorist attacks in India and the relationship to soft targets. I talked about the need to identify and plan for attacks on soft targets in all communities on Mitigation Journal podcast this week. MSNBC has a nice article on the topic as well (

A hard target is one that has some level of security protection that reduces the chances of an intentional fire service terms; fire alarm systems "harden" a location against fire. Soft targets are locations that lack the deterrent from such events. Can you imagine if terrorist were to attack hospitals or hotels in the United States in the same fashion as in India?

It's important to understand that open structures with multiple access/egress points, isolated utility and services corridors and large crowds are potential target hazards for multi-patient, mass casualty events. Remember, we're not just talking terrorism here...gang activity can cause collateral damage as well as structural collapse, fires, panic situations, and of course, intentional events.

If you have MCI plans; do they reflect differences between an MCI occurring as a result of a bus crash on the highway and a multiple shooting at a movie theater? Everyone should take the time to review response plans and understand the needs of the location will necessitate alteration in your response plan.

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