Emergency management which is also known as disaster management is a discipline or an art that entails dealing with risks and preventing them from occurring and re occurring. In the private sector, this disaster management is at times referred to as business continuity planning. As a discipline, it portends making contingencies for disasters beforehand, preparing for disaster response activities such as evacuation, quarantine, and mass decontamination.
Disaster response can be said to surpass the defensive since it also includes supporting both morally and materially the victims, and reconstructing the society after catastrophes, either man made or natural, have occurred. The actions taken in disaster management rely on the appraisal of the risks involved and those in it. For emergency management to be effective there should be a serious case of the merging of emergency plans from all the echelons of the government, together with those of the private sector (Drabek, 1991).
Deeply needed in this field are the civil defense, and the emergency services departments.
Emergency management which was in pristine times known as the civil defense has a history of having been started with the primordial focus of shielding off civilians from military attacks during the two world wars and the cold war era. The European Union currently uses the terms Civil Protection and Crisis Management only that in the latter, there are strong connotations with systems and resources that have been approved or set up by the government to elicit the protection of the civilian in the wake of both natural and manmade catastrophes, while the former on the other hand is emphatic on the political and security matters as opposed to the latter which is geared towards satiating the immediate needs of the populace.
It is incumbent that it be understood that the nature and operation of successful emergency management is heavily pivoted upon the socio –economic conditions surrounding the disaster or the emergency and the status of the infrastructure as well. In line with these efforts must be harnessed to promote among other things, public awareness, ameliorations and maintenance of the infrastructure and the dissemination on legal rights and human justice issues.
Having been appointed the emergency management coordinator, my first work in this post will entail the use of technological apparatuses and solutions or the non structural procedure such as legislation (this invites for the working with the legislature through the state senator to abrogate laws to aid in rescue operations and disaster management), planning for proper land use, for example by earmarking some portion of land that is not under utilization to be set aside for settling flood victims, and encouraging the creation and inception of an all inclusive and disaster management friendly insurance policies.
A blow by blow account on my rigmaroles entails first carrying out an inspection to identify risks. This exercise which is also known as risk assessment comprises the act of identifying and giving the risks appraisals. Because each hazard is risk specific and area specific, I will be able to ascertain the urgency of the matter. For instance, a hurricane threatening to sweep through a city is more hazardous compared to the same, passing through a desert.
In The second phase which is also known as the preparedness phase, I draw plans of action in anticipation of a disaster striking. This entails divulging on plans in a simple manner, developing of a multi faceted agency to work with, setting up of up to date training and emergency operatives, and ensuring their maintenance, coming up with spontaneous warning methods together with evacuation centers and emergency plans. Last but not least, my team will come up with a volunteer response team who shall work on the peripheral locations of the disaster since this team will solely comprise the civilians.
The third operation will require me to conduct a search to rescue the affected. In some cases the emergency management team is overwhelmed and therefore receiving support from both national and international bodies such as the Red Cross and the AMREF is expedient. Conversely, we depending on the nature of the disaster encourage a home confinement or an evacuation on the affected. In the latter, the affected families are expected to fend for themselves without going outside their homes, while in the former, the affected are either transported from the perceived area of danger or are told to exit the area with as much essentials such as victuals, beddings and vestments as possible. This stage is known as the response stage.
The final stage, also known as the recovery stage helps the victim recover from the disaster that has already actualized. It happens mostly within the homes or hospitals with our sub coordinators buying them food in bulk together with their storage Equipments in case of shortage. We recommend that the food be a balanced diet in spite its simplicity (Canton, 2007).
To start with the police chief and the fire department chief, as the emergency management coordinator, I will appeal to the government to step in to specify the role of each of the two, stating clearly the jurisdictions under which different matters fall. The government, since the constitution well details such matters clearly will be able to through the legislature litigate on this matter without much ado. Conversely, should there be a case whereby the law is dumb on this matter the government will still through the legislature issue a ruling on this. This will be enough to extirpate the bad blood between the two officers.
In the case of the two hospitals not being able to work together, I will liaise with the religious bodies, especially those that are of the same faith with the religious body that owns the hospital. Having persuaded the religious bodies on the need to come together to actualize the anthropocentricity of religion by practicing philanthropy which is essentially considering the plight of one common human race, the religious body will in turn be able to persuade the religious body that owns the hospital.
To add vigor to both cases, and to add formidability to this cause, I will also draw the attention of interest groups and pressure bodies to push away the barrier that translates into non conformity. Other non governmental organizations that I will tinker with to this end include medical and the humanitarian bodies such as the Red Cross/ Crescent and the AMREF. Because there are no judicial injunctions that hospitals participate in this exercise, it may take long to achieve the desired results. This will demand that I come up with a more permanent approach. Nothing else will be more permanent and effective than creating a committee from the above bodies.
As the emergency management coordinator, I will also set up a well organized and cooperative emergency management committees being chaired by my assistant who will then have accrued vast experience in the field. These persons will present emergency management team’s petition.
The US Department of Homeland Security which had its existence signed into law by President George Bush in November 2002 to counter acts of terrorism has shown a good record of being able to advance with the technological developments. It is on this backdrop that under its aegis, the Customs and Border Protection announced a new program the Global Entry, a pilot program which allows re-recommended, low-risk travelers a quick clearance upon entry into the US. Global Entry is also being made to the US citizens and frequent international travelers with a clean record of conduct with the custom or immigration department (Burke, 2006).
On the other side of the coin the Homeland Security Department faces financial challenges In April 2008, the Secretary Chertoff divulged on its budget in the presence of the House Subcommittee on its 2007 financial appropriation. This the secretary was doing in proposition to the FY 2009 50.5 billion dollar budgetary allocation.
Chertoff divulged that the department accrued lapses on job as a result of insufficient funds. To remedy the situation, it is the duty of the US government to remunerate the US Department of Homeland Security upwards. Otherwise the services of the US Department of Homeland Security are up to the standards. Another problem that hampers the effectiveness of the homeland security is that although it was formed to counter terrorist activities, yet it still concerns itself with broad based security details. This has elicited the replication of duties between the federal security bodies. This raised a furor in the congress and is yet to be resolved.
Threats of terrorism both small scale and large scale should be given priority over others because first of all, given the scope of its nature, unlike other risks or disasters, terrorism does not warrant any warnings. It strikes impromptu making many very vulnerable. This also heightens the number of its victims compared to other forms of disasters.
Terrorism also takes many shapes ranging from threats, destruction of property, kidnappings to bombings. When all these are taken into consideration, it becomes clear that terrorism is almost omnipresent. The rate at which terrorist activities strike is alarming. Everyday, people are bombarded by cases of terrorist onslaughts.
The growth of technological advancement also climaxes the sophistication of terrorism. This means that anyone is not safe. Terrorism has for example taken the form of cyber crimes. Anthrax attacks can now be instigated through mail as was witnessed in the United States, 2001 October where these divers such cases were reported (Waugh, 1999).
The world’s current affairs and globalization are also underpinnings with which terrorism must be examined. Globalization is always seen as the decoupling of space and time which leads to the atrophying of the emphasis on the importance of the territorial boundaries among states hinged on technological advancements, world politics and international trade as its undercurrents.
Globalization makes the world one village meaning that the decisions being made in the political arena especially by the superpowers are always ushering in global effects. The dissidents with different ideologies may resort to terrorism as a way of coercing and intimidating states into capitulation. On the other hand, the knitting of the world into one global village has also advanced the technicality of terrorism since it eases the exchange of information across states.
The effects of terrorism are far reaching and the most devastating since it encompasses trauma, fear, entrenchment of poverty, loss of lives and increased spates of lawlessness. It is on this backdrop that I recommend that terrorism and the issue of weapons of mass destruction be given priority in emergency management and disaster planning (Burns, Peterson, 2005).
It does matter which type of a city the emergency management operates from. This is because commercial centers, rich cities, densely populated cities and cities with international airport within their proximity are very prone to disasters especially, terrorist attacks. Cities within this rubric also demand a lot of resources for successful emergency management.
Some of the issues confounding the Homeland Security Department in relation to the federal government became apparent when the Unions and the Democrats having seen the likelihood of there being the replication of duties between workers in the Homeland Security and the federal government in a senate sitting, began to suggest that the budgetary allocation be checked further, proposing that workers with peripheral sensitivity may forfeit their collective bargaining rights and the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act granted merit service protection.
It is possible to have Effective Management and Delivery of Homeland Security although this will require re-adjustment in the entire security department of the US. The first proposal that came up is that there be the clear cutting of checks and balances between the officers in the Homeland Security and the federal service body. In line with this, the rights and privileges should be crafted together with a clear definition of what the duties in each portfolio entail.
Other congressional and executive bodies also posit that Guy Peter’s recommendation of reforms being actualized to see all the 22 security agencies being merged into the one federal service. Conversely, there has been a group of the congress who have been seeing an overhaul on the entire civil service system and the entire federal service recruitment system as being long overdue since it is outdated. This follows Volcker’s Commission which proposed this after a research conducted under him found that the system could no longer and did not serve the work force adequately.
Burke, R. (2006). Counter- terrorism and emergency responders. US: CRC. Press. Burns, V., Peterson, D. K. (2005) .Terrorism: a documentary and reference guide.
US: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Canton, G.L. (2007). Emergency management: concepts and strategies for effective
management. US: Wiley- Interscience.
Drabek, E. T., Hoetmer, J. G. (1991). Emergency management: local government’s principles and management. US: International City Association.
Waugh, L. W. (1999). Living with disasters and disaster management: an introduction to emergency management. US: M.E. Sharpe.