Unprepared, the novel, is a cautionary tale from Jim Rush, an expert in health readiness; and co-author D.A. Ramsey. The novel presents a plausible scenario for a terrorist nuclear attack inside the United States that overwhelms local, regional, and state healthcare systems while also shaking the foundations of government.
Disaster Response Training and Readiness
As many EMS professionals know most mass casualty scenarios and disaster drills are contrived situations that are run for just a short duration and are usually winnable. The indifference of many participants is often combined with the attitude of “we will just call for help from the state or feds.” Unprepared presents a scenario where the impacts of the incident are both immediate, long-lasting, and overwhelming. I believe it is the premise of the author that while we have the capabilities and resources to plan and prepare for a doomsday scenario it has not been a priority of policy makers, agency leaders, and field personnel.
Knowledge of All Sides of the Incident
Unprepared tells the story of a horrific incident from several perspectives – the terrorist perpetrators, the investigator trying to piece together the clues, and the policy makers and politicians responding to the incident. During his appearance on the Medical Author Chat (listen to podcast) Mr. Rush discussed his decades of experience in the field of health readiness and emergency response. He obviously drew on those experiences as he wrote this book.
We Always Need to Ask “What If?”
Emergency responders from the highest levels of national, state, and local leadership all the way to the individual field personnel always need to be asking “What if?” Not only is this a useful mental exercise for any situation it will help us identify and prioritize readiness issues.
Your turn: Have you read Unprepared? What did you think? Is the scenario plausible? Are we ready as a country for an incapacitating large-scale terrorist attack? Share your thoughts and responses in the comments area.