Emergency Management and Emergency Planning

The four phases of emergency planning

Mitigation

This phase happens before and after emergencies occur. It involves all the activities and efforts to reduce the likelihood of occurrence of emergencies or disasters or efforts to minimize the impacts of such disasters. It includes activities such as buying flood of fire insurance to protect belongings, formulating, adopting, and implementing building codes and standards, and endorsing proper land use planning based on potential hazards among others.

Preparedness

During emergency occurrences, the best protection disaster managers and planners can offer knowledge of what to do. This is achieved through preparedness and involves formulating plans and procedures for saving lives and minimizing impacts when a disaster occurs. Activities such as planning, training of rescuers, and disaster drills are basic forms of preparedness.

Response

This refers to actions taken to save lives and avert further harm from disasters. This is where preparedness plans are put into action. The well-being of the people affected depends on the preparedness to respond to emergencies.

Recovery

These are actions taken to restore normalcy in the community after a disaster when imminent danger is over. The disaster managers and personnel should help the community to cope with the aftermath in the changed life and environment.

Practically, emergency managers spend most of their time contemplating on the recovery after a disaster has already happened as they try to help victims go back to their normal lives. They should spend the most time in the mitigation phase of emergency planning by trying to avert disasters and making people aware of what to do in order to reduce occurrences of emergencies.

The 9-11 has changed the emphasis on recovery from disasters to mitigating disasters in the future by the many measures put in place to avoid emergencies by the federal government and helping local governments to do the same (National Research Council, 1997).

The process of risk analysis

The process of risk analysis has fours steps according to National Academy Council, (1996) as discussed below.

Hazard identification

In this stage disaster managers and planners determine whether a certain chemical or substance is causally linked to particular health effects or not. If the substance or chemical are linked with the identified health effects then it is taken to the next stage.

Dose-response assessment

This involves the determination of the relationship between extent of exposure and the probability of occurrence of the identified health effects.

Exposure assessment

This is where the extent of human exposure and the magnitude before and after the application of regulatory controls are determined.

Risk characterization

At this stage, the nature and magnitude of the human exposure risk are described. This should also include attendant uncertainty. (National Academy Council, 1996)

Risk is an undesirable outcome of an unfortunate event, either human or natural, which results in negative consequences. This means it will comprise an event, uncertainty and a consequence.

Risks can be weighed by quantitatively expressing potential costs and logically articulating the frequency of the occurrence. This is done by assigning monetary value to the cost of adverse events in a logical way and showing their frequency of occurrence on a yearly basis.

As a city manager in a small town with limited resources, an actual risk assessment is important rather than guessing the outcomes of events. Efforts and the limited resources available to the town should be committed to the actual risk assessment of the potential adverse events. This way as a manager I will be able to weigh the risks and calculate the uncertainty presented in the likelihood of occurrence or probability.

Importance of an emergency plan to a community or an agency

An emergency plan charts out the arrangements in place for enabling the community or agency to respond calmly and professionally to incidents to lessen their effects. An emergency plan helps the responders in the community to respond faster to an incident which helps to control and bring back to normal the situation. It also collates information on the design of a building and modifications made to it in one form that is readily available to first responders to an incident. This allows them to locate and access an emergency and safely evacuate those affected so as to save lives and property.

Components of an emergency plan

An emergency plan contains four basic components according to National Safety Council (National Research Council, 1997): Executive summary; emergency management elements; and emergency response procedures; and support documents. The components that I would make sure we’re in the plan are response procedures and the support documents. This is because the procedures outline exactly what people were to do in the occurrence of emergencies or incidences and the documents attached consist of emergency call lists, which families or members of the public were to use immediately an incidence happens or something amiss is noted. It also contains building and site maps showing the location of safe routes and emergency exits, which are also important in saving lives after a disaster.

What I would do to ensure knowledge of the provisions

Creating awareness and education on the provisions of an emergency plan would be the top priority. This could be through organizing safety days in the community where various activities are carried out to educate the public. Organizing safety drills for the community will be another strategy for ensuring knowledge of the provisions. Putting the provisions in media accessible to the people such as websites, newsletters, notice boards, information centers, etc. is another way. Training community groups across the age groups on safety procedures.

The role of emergency managers in ensuring medical care for mass casualty incident

It is the role of the manager to ensure plans are formulated and put in place for mass casualty incidences and the various stakeholders in the medical care sector are mobilized for such an occurrence. He also should coordinate the necessary resources for the evacuation and provision of medical care to the casualties of the incident. He should be able to carry out effective recovery operations of the casualties, identify the resources deficiencies, and advise the appropriate stakeholders on the measures to take for a future emergency plan for such incidences.

Ways in which public safety agencies and infrastructure agencies play a role in effectively responding to mass casualties?

They can help in consolidating resources for adequate evacuation, transportation, and treatment of the casualties. They can also assist with the necessary information on the best way to handle emergencies and mitigation measures.

What makes for a good emergency manager?

A disaster manager who has the knowledge of disaster and management policy in that area, one who can be able to mobilize the community effectively, superb skills in planning and organizing, one who can communicate effectively and keeps pace with technological advances, advancement, and ability to set priorities, coordinate and monitor emergency procedures. Such a person should have attributes such as confidence, initiative, and being charismatic.

Resources and support for a disaster management function in an agency or community

First, there must be a legal framework for disaster management in every state to provide a legislative basis for the same. There also needs to be a management system structure in place based on the partnership arrangements of various stakeholders. This also outlines the functions and responsibilities at various levels of disaster management. A disaster management plan and disaster information flow should also be available and support manpower (World Health Organization, 2007).

Reference List

National Research Council. Washington D.C. Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the progress. National Academy press, 1996.

National Research Council. Successful response starts with a map: Improving Geospatial Support for Disaster Management. National Academy of Sciences, 1997.

World Health Organisation. Mass Casulty Management Systems: Strategies and guidelines for building health sector capacity, 2007. Web.