Home Emergency Management News The All Hazards Approach and the New Wave of Terrorism

The All Hazards Approach and the New Wave of Terrorism


By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States government moved to the "all hazards approach." It was a paradigm shift in handling large-scale emergencies at the local, state and federal levels of government.

The all hazards approach involves one basic framework for keeping every person abreast on how to handle general emergencies. It permits emergency managers to muster the versatility required to cope with emergency situations.

Emergencies, by their very nature, are never the same; nor should they be handled in a cookie-cutter fashion. The all hazards approach has worked very well, given the surge in terrorist attacks the American people have witnessed in the past few years. Ultimately, it’s the versatility of that approach that has led to the successful management of terrorist-related incidents, even as the face of terrorist attacks has changed.

Active Shooters and the New Wave of Terrorism

Active shooter scenarios are their own form of terrorism because they are unpredictable and evolve quickly. The all hazards approach, however, provides emergency management and first responder personnel with a reactive framework. That framework enables them to act accordingly to the threat and manage the situation.

While active shooter scenarios are worrisome, a new kind of terrorist attack has sprung up: using a large truck to attack a group of people. Just last week, a truck attack killed four people and injured 17 others in Jerusalem.

Similar incidents occurred in Europe last year, most notably in Nice, France. At least 60 persons were killed during Bastille Day celebrations in July, when the driver intentionally drove his truck into the crowd.

Emergency managers ultimately require versatility to handle any incident from a minor 911 call to a large-scale disaster involving multiple states, towns and cities. In the face of this new wave of terrorism, the all hazards approach gives emergency personnel the versatility they need to manage emergencies quickly and effectively.


Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.