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Book Review: First Responders Handbook

First Responders Handbook: An Introduction, Second Edition. By Michael L. Madigan. CRC Press;; 312 pages; $139.95.

Author Michael L. Madigan writes that this handbook's objective is to provide information to enhance and support the capabilities of first responders in the public and private sectors. It turns out to be an excellent reference guide for first responders and those who are new to this rapidly growing field.

Most emergency responders are trained to follow set standards and procedures before, during, and after an emergency. Madigan's first chapter delves directly into the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS). He explains how a structured system allows emergency responders to plan for and manage a crisis.

The importance of education, training, planning, and technology reverberates throughout the book. Woven into the text are explanations of common terminology used by first responders, how chain or unity of command is implemented, and the importance of communication.

Mitigation strategies are made up of three main components: mitigation goals, mitigation actions, and an action plan for implementation. Madigan incorporates these strategies throughout the book to provide the framework required to reduce and mitigate hazards for first responders.

"Evaluations of security concerns become obsolete as technology progresses and new threats and vulnerabilities arise," Madigan writes. "Continuous security evaluation of organizational products, services, methods, and technology is essential to maintain overall security measures within one's organization."

A master trainer for the U.S. Army, Madigan uses his deep knowledge of the material to provide useful information. He discusses specific emergency scenes, natural disasters, transportation emergency incidents, industrial and household incidents, terrorist incidents, and hazardous materials incidents. Ef­fective graphs and charts are in­corporated into the text, and each of the 14 chapters ends with a summary conclusion.

The importance of community partnership is emphasized, along with the need for emergency preparedness, training, and certification. Madigan shows the value of technology and solution development, while involving first responders at the local, state, and federal levels.

First responders, those interested in that career, and students will benefit from this book. It is not a technical work, and Madigan's writing is easy to follow and comprehend.

Reviewer: Kevin Cassidy lectures at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is a member of ASIS.