In Americans at Risk, Dr. Irwin Redlener draws on his broad experience as a pediatrician working with mobile emergency units both for children and adults, his time making recommendations to legislators about the vulnerabilities of children to biological and chemical agents and his regular meetings with Tom Ridge of the office of Homeland Security over a period of four years to write this urging a plan for a coordinated plan between government and the private sector. Redlener feels that Americans have made a mistake after 9/11 of putting all responsibility into the hands of government and official agencies to plan and prevent whatever catastrophe could happen in the future. Hurricane Katrina would seem to point to the fact that America has made little progress in its ability to respond to disasters - the four years since 9/11 have been only an anxious period of heightened awareness about uncertain threats - as in red and orange alerts - and a degradation of what used to be expected medical services - such as supplying the right amount of the flu vaccine. Redlener, in this book, will outline a plan of how the public can be informed and prepared which he feels would go a long way to averting a large-scale disaster. The book is divided into four sections. Redlener begins by looking at the American state of mind pre-9/11 and what went wrong with Rita and Katrina before presenting eight terrifying and vivid disaster scenarios from avian flu to agro terrorism, suicide bombings to earthquakes and a prolonged global blackout. In section three he lays out a plan of how citizens and the government can work together and section four is a guide to citizen preparedness. This is a book that addresses our changed world, both of global warming and terrorism and it presents plans we cannot ignore.
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