Running head: Hazard Mitigation Plan
Adequate planning is key to managing and responding to disasters and emergencies (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). Every state is expected to develop ways of mitigating risks. Governments should introduce reforms that would help its people to respond to disasters when they occur. Many disasters require adequate preparations. They include earthquakes, hurricanes, sinkholes, landslides, and thunderstorms, among others (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). South Carolina (SC) State is characterized by many disasters that impact it negatively. The state authorities have developed various ways of mitigating the hazards (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). The authorities have introduced reforms, and strategic plans to minimize the negative effects from many cases of disasters. For example, the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, Emergency Assistance Act, and the 2013 Strategic Plan, which are aimed at reducing death rates and property destruction, and providing a source of pre-disaster hazard mitigation funding, which would be vital in implementing effective hazard mitigation measures (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). Some hazards occur regularly, but cause less destruction, while others do not occur frequently, but lead to much damage. This paper focuses on reviewing the SC Hazard Mitigation Plan, and identifying its strengths and weaknesses.
Review of SC Mitigation Plan with its strengths
It would be important to point out that a well-developed strategic plan is crucial in mitigating risks that are associated with hazards. Hazard mitigation refers to the utilization of particular measures to reduce the effects of disasters on people and the environment (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). Therefore, it is significant to review South Carolina’s Mitigation Plan to investigate whether it is effective, or it is not with regard to assisting the state to achieve its intended goals. The South Carolina Hazard Mitigation Plan resulted from a procedural investigation of the nature and the degree of vulnerability of the impacts of hazards that are evident in the state (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). First, the state has prioritized mitigation goals that are updated and amended to guide the methods that would be used in mitigating hazards (Smith, 2013). The goals also help stakeholders to acquire resources that would be important in minimizing and/or eliminating the effects of hazards. In addition, they would promote training, education, and outreach efforts that are essential in disaster management and preparedness.
Second, the state’s mitigation plan is typified by many agencies that coordinate to achieve various objectives (Smith, 2013). The plan is composed of South Carolina Management Division, Department of Insurance (DI), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). They discuss the state’s status with regard to hazard mitigation, with each playing specific roles (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). For example, the SC DI has a national outlook and implements the Insurance Reforms Act of 2000. The SC DNR applies, awards, and gives grants that are crucial in the running of the state’s strategic plan. Finally, the SC DHEC prepares for hazard mitigations by ensuring that agencies meet the required standards (Smith, 2013).
Third, the plan employs scientific analysis that is based on knowledge in the areas of crisis management, natural vulnerability, code enforcement, and improvement of infrastructure, which enhance the movement of people during emergency times (Smith, 2013). The scientific approach promotes responses with regard to disasters, leading to the achievement of the plan’s objectives. Moreover, the plan is comprehensive (Smith, 2013). This implies that it covers many aspects of hazards, typified by provision of a long-term vision that assists the state in addressing crises over long periods. The strategy enables the state to identify many natural and other forms of hazards, and aim at reducing their risks (Smith, 2013).
Furthermore, the mitigation plan integrated the concepts and principles of national and regional plans during its development (Gaither et al., 2011). This is evident in its support to the goals of Safe Home Program and SC Department of Insurance. This has strengthened homes against destructions that are caused by hurricanes and strong winds. Another advantage is in the context of jurisdiction, where there are multi-complex jurisdictions in the state. It is evident that 46 counties have been included in the mitigation plan, giving it a broader outlook (Gaither et al., 2011). These counties are provided with funds that would are significant in facilitating writing of their mitigation plans. This makes the state mitigation plan obtain data that are up-to-date, resulting in pre-preparation in order to reduce the hazards. It is crucial to note that South Carolina provides industrial assistance and directions to some communities before updates in the plan are done and presented to the Federal Emergency Mitigation Agency (FEMA) (Gaither et al., 2011). The plan concentrates more on areas that have great impacts on mitigation of hazards. For example, risk assessment re-arranging of goals, and revision of the state agencies’ mitigating actions. These are crucial aspects vis-a-vis mitigation of hazards (Gaither et al., 2011). For example, risks assessment would help to detect a disaster in time and deal with it before it impacts people. Revision of the agencies’ actions helps them to improve in terms of their performances because they would be monitored and questioned (Gaither et al., 2011). Thus, updating the plan’s existing mitigation information and planning is advantageous.
The SC Mitigation Plan is in line with the Federal Emergency Mitigation Agency. It has utilized the latest methodology to curb many risks that are in the state (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). In addition, stakeholders hold regular meetings and workshops to receive updates and give comments about the progress of the plan. Finally, the document has strength in the area of prioritization. This plan concentrated on enhancing the efficiency and the usefulness of the hazard mitigation program and projects (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). It demonstrates commitment to both the state and local mitigation planning approaches. It focuses on speeding the recovery and utilizing information from past disaster occurrences, which would be instrumental in making it more effective. Notably, it has prioritized life protection and property safety by minimizing the probability of future damages and economic losses that result from disasters (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013).
Review of SC Mitigation Plan with its weaknesses
Despite the fact that the development of the SC Mitigation Plan has concentrated on improving the state with regard to reducing the risks that are associated with natural and non-natural disasters, it is typified by some weaknesses. First, it does not involve all people. Preparedness should start at grassroots, and everyone should be included. Only the agency members attend workshops, while citizens are only involved in giving information and writing of local mitigation plans (Cutter& Finch, 2008). Reviewing of agencies’ performance outcomes is done when only agency members are present, leaving out local people who are mostly affected by regional hazards. Participation of citizens would play a vital role for the reason that they would give their views, which would be considered in the final document. Thus, the failure to involve citizens or representatives of citizens creates a gap in the mitigation plan. Second, the SC population increases every year as evident in the 2013 mitigation plan (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). For example, in the 2010 census, there were 2.1 million housing units (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). This means that meetings should be held regularly to review the settlement of the new persons. However, this has not been the case with the SC Mitigation Plan. Representatives of the agencies meet every three months, making it possible for people to settle in areas that are open to disasters, risking their lives (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). Therefore, it would be important for the stakeholders to increase the number of their meetings to incorporate new information from new populations. It is imperative to state that the new populations could be the ones that have migrated from within the state, or come from outside the state. Since a majority population that lives in mobile homes typifies SC, relocating would be common.
Notably, there are differences in the effects of hazards on communities (Cutter& Finch, 2008). They are brought about by the level of planning in relation to response and management approaches. Thus, equal training should be offered to all citizens to prepare them adequately to respond to natural disasters. This has not been the case in the SC Mitigation Plan. Training is not evenly distributed, making it a challenge for some communities to respond appropriately to emergencies that result from hazards. As evidenced in the 2013 mitigation plan, most of its population is composed of the elderly. It is projected that there would be an increase of 123% by 2030 of the elderly population (South Carolina Emergency Division, 2013). This has not been considered in the SC Mitigation Plan. The aging population have difficulties in responding to hazards, yet it is more vulnerable to disasters. Therefore, it is critical for the plan to be reviewed to integrate training programs for the population.
South Carolina State depends on different sectors of the economy (Cutter& Finch, 2008). However, the tourism industry generates the highest revenue. In the planning and development of the mitigation plan, tourist attraction areas should have been given more attention for the reason that tourism is an important sector of the state economy (Cutter& Finch, 2008). Hazards are common in some areas, such as beaches, where tourists come for recreational purposes. It would have been of great importance if the plan considered those areas and included the department of tourism in planning and the development process.
In conclusion, disaster management is crucial for the state’s economy. SC is a state that is characterized by various natural and non-natural hazards. The SC Mitigation Plan has played key roles in protecting lives and preventing the destruction of property. It has promoted safety measures that are aimed at reducing the effects of hazards on people and the environment. Prior preparations help to respond quickly in case there of disasters. The mitigation plan outlines a strategic approach that utilizes empirical methods to curb the rising cases of hazards. The involvement of many agencies has helped to get information about hazards, using different perspectives. As a result, the development of the plan became easier. Training and education for every stakeholder, including citizens, would be vital in managing hazards. Therefore, it would be important for the document to include all stakeholders, and equip them with the necessary tools for managing hazards in SC State.
Cutter, S. L., & Finch, C. (2008). Temporal and spatial changes in social vulnerability to natural hazards. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(7), 2301-2306.
Gaither, C. J., Poudyal, N. C., Goodrick, S., Bowker, J. M., Malone, S., & Gan, J. (2011). Wildland fire risk and social vulnerability in the Southeastern United States: An exploratory spatial data analysis approach. Forest policy and economics, 13(1), 24-36.
Smith, K. (2013). Environmental hazards: assessing risk and reducing disaster. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.
South Carolina Emergency Division. (2013). South Carolina Hazard Mitigation Plan. Web.