History Of Emergency Management Essay

Emergency management is the organization and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies (preparedness, response, and recovery). The aim is to reduce the harmful effects of all hazards, including disasters. It should not be equated to "disaster management".

The World Health Organization defines an emergency as the state in which normal procedures are interrupted, and immediate measures need to be taken to prevent that state turning into a disaster. Thus, emergency management is crucial to avoid the disruption transforming into a disaster, which is even harder to recover from.[1]

Emergency planning ideals[edit]

If possible, emergency planning should aim to prevent emergencies from occurring, and failing that, should develop a good action plan to mitigate the results and effects of any emergencies. As time goes on, and more data become available, usually through the study of emergencies as they occur, a plan should evolve. The development of emergency plans is a cyclical process, common to many risk management disciplines, such as Business Continuity and Security Risk Management, as set out below:

  • Recognition or identification of risks[2]
  • Ranking or evaluation of risks[3]
  • Responding to significant risks
  • Tolerate
  • Treat
  • Transfer
  • Terminate
  • Resourcing controls and planning
  • Reaction Planning
  • Reporting & monitoring risk performance
  • Reviewing the Risk Management framework

There are a number of guidelines and publications regarding Emergency Planning, published by various professional organizations such as ASIS, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). There are very few Emergency Management specific standards, and emergency management as a discipline tends to fall under business resilience standards.

In order to avoid, or reduce significant losses to a business, emergency managers should work to identify and anticipate potential risks, hopefully to reduce their probability of occurring. In the event that an emergency does occur, managers should have a plan prepared to mitigate the effects of that emergency, as well as to ensure Business Continuity of critical operations post-incident. It is essential for an organization to include procedures for determining whether an emergency situation has occurred and at what point an emergency management plan should be activated. An emergency plan must be regularly maintained, in a structured and methodical manner, to ensure it is up-to-date in the event of an emergency. Emergency managers generally follow a common process to anticipate, assess, prevent, prepare, respond and recover from an incident.[4]

Health and safety of workers[edit]

Cleanup during disaster recovery involves many occupational hazards. Often these hazards are exacerbated by the conditions of the local environment as a result of the natural disaster.[5] While individual workers should be aware of these potential hazards, employers are responsible to minimize exposure to these hazards and protect workers, when possible. This includes identification and thorough assessment of potential hazards, application of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and the distribution of other relevant information in order to enable safe performance of the work.[6] Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for these workers ensures that the effectiveness of the disaster recovery is unaffected.

Physical exposures[edit]

Flood-associated injuries: Flooding disasters often expose workers to trauma from sharp and blunt objects hidden under murky waters causing lacerations, as well as open and closed fractures. These injuries are further exacerbated with exposure to the often contaminated waters, leading to increased risk for infection.[7] When working around water, there is always the risk of drowning. In addition, the risk of hypothermia significantly increases with prolonged exposure to water temperatures less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.[8] Non-infectious skin conditions may also occur including miliaria, immersion foot syndrome (including trench foot), and contact dermatitis.[7]

Earthquake-associated injuries: The predominant exposure are related to building structural components, including falling debris with possible crush injury, trapped under rubble, burns, and electric shock.[9]

Chemical exposures[edit]

Hazardous material release[edit]

Chemicals can pose a risk to human health when exposed to humans at certain quantities. After a natural disaster, certain chemicals can be more prominent in the environment. These hazardous materials can be release can be directly or indirectly. Chemical hazards directly released after a natural disaster often occur concurrent with the event so little to no mitigation actions can take place for mitigation. For example, airborne magnesium, chloride, phosphorus, and ammonia can be generated by droughts. Dioxins can be produced by forest fires, and silica can be emitted by forest fires. Indirect release of hazardous chemicals can be intentionally released or unintentionally released. An example of intentional release is insecticides used after a flood or chlorine treatment of water after a flood. Unintentional release is when a hazardous chemical is not intentionally released. The chemical released is often toxic and serves beneficial purpose when released to the environment. These chemicals can be controlled through engineering to minimize their release when a natural disaster strikes. An example of this is agrochemicals from inundated storehouses or manufacturing facilities poisoning the floodwaters or asbestos fibers released from a building collapse during a hurricane.[10] The flowchart to the right has been adopted from research performed by Stacy Young, et al., and can be found here.[10]

Exposure limits

Below are TLV-TWA, PEL, and IDLH values for common chemicals workers are exposed to after a natural disaster.[11][12]

ChemicalTLV-TWA (mg/m3)PEL (mg/m3)IDLH (mg/m3)
Phosphorus0.10.1Not established
Chlorine Dioxide0.280.329
Asbestos10 (fibers/m^3)10 (fibers/m^3)Not established

Direct release





Intentional release


Chlorine dioxide

Unintentional release

Crude oil components…

Benzene, N-hexane, Hydrogen Sulfide, Cumene, Ethylbenzene, Naphthalene, Toluene, Xylenes, PCBs Agrochemicals


Exposure routes

When a toxicant is prominent in an environment after a natural disaster, it is important to determine the route of exposure to worker safety for the disaster management workers. The 3 components are source of exposure, pathway of the chemical, and receptor. Questions to ask when dealing with chemical source is the material itself, how it’s used, how much is used, how often the chemical is used, temperature, vapor pressure, physical processes. The physical state of the chemical is important to identify. If working indoors, room ventilation, and volume of room needs to be noted to help mitigate health defects from the chemical. Lastly, to ensure worker safety, routes of entry for the chemical should be determined as well as relevant personal protective equipment needs to be worn.[13]


According to the CDC “If you need to collect belongings or do basic clean up in your previously flooded home, you do not usually need to use a respirator (a mask worn to prevent breathing in harmful substances).” A respirator should be worn when performing an operation in an enclosed environment such as a house that creates ample amounts of dust. These activities could include sweeping dust, using power saws and equipment, or cleaning up mold. If you encounter dust, the CDC says to “limit your contact with the dust as much as possible. Use wet mops or vacuums with HEPA filters instead of dry sweeping and lastly wear a respirator that protects against dust in the air. A respirator that is approved by the CDC/NIOSH is the N95 respirator and can be a good personal protective equipment to protect from dust and mold in the air from the associated natural disaster.[14]

Biological exposures[edit]

Mold exposures: Exposure to mold is commonly seen after a natural disaster such as flooding, hurricane, tornado or tsunami. Mold growth can occur on both the exterior and interior of residential or commercial buildings. Warm and humid condition encourages mold growth; therefore, standing water and excess moisture after a natural disaster would provide an ideal environment for mold growth especially in tropical regions.[15] While the exact number of mold species is unknown, some examples of commonly found indoor molds are Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Alternaria and Penicillium. Reaction to molds differ between individuals and can range from mild symptoms such as eye irritation, cough to severe life-threatening asthmatic or allergic reactions. People with history of chronic lung disease, asthma, allergy, other breathing problems or those that are immunocompromised could be more sensitive to molds and may develop fungal pneumonia.

The most effective approach to control mold growth after a natural disaster is to control moisture level. Some ways to prevent mold growth after a natural disaster include opening all doors and windows, using fans to dry out the building, positioning fans to blow air out of the windows and cleaning up the building within the first 24–48 hours.[16] All wet items that cannot be properly cleaned and dried within the first 48 hours should be promptly removed and discarded from the building. If mold growth is found in the building, it is important to concurrently remove the molds and fix the underlying moisture problem. When removing molds, N-95 masks or respirators with a higher protection level should be used to prevent inhalation of molds into the respiratory system.[17] Molds can be removed from hard surfaces by soap and water, a diluted bleach solution[18] or commercial products.

Human remains: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "There is no direct risk of contagion or infectious disease from being near human remains for people who are not directly involved in recovery or other efforts that require handling dead bodies.”[19] Most viruses and bacteria perish along with the human body after death.[20] Therefore, no excessive measures are necessary when handling human remains indirectly. However, for workers in direct contact with human remains, universal precautions should be exercised in order to prevent unnecessary exposure to blood-borne viruses and bacteria. Relevant PPE includes eye protection, face mask or shield, and gloves. The predominant health risk are gastrointestinal infections through fecal-oral contamination, so hand hygiene is paramount to prevention. Mental health support should also be available to workers who endure psychological stress during and after recovery.[21]

Flood-associated skin infections: Flood waters are often contaminated with bacteria and waste as well as chemicals on occasion. Prolonged, direct contact with these waters leads to an increased risk for skin infection, especially with open wounds in the skin or history of a previous skin condition, such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. These infections are exacerbated with a compromised immune system or an aging population.[7] The most common bacterial skin infections are usually with Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. One of the most uncommon, but well-known bacterial infections is from Vibrio vulnificus, which causes a rare, but often fatal infection called necrotizing fasciitis.

Other salt-water Mycobacterium infections include the slow growing M. marinum and fast growing M. fortuitum, M. chelonae, and M. abscessus. Fresh-water bacterial infections include aeromonas hydrophila, Burkholderia pseudomallei causing melioidosis, leptospira interrogans causing leptospirosis, and chromobacterium violaceum. Fungal infections may lead to chromoblastomycosis, blastomycosis, mucormycosis, and dermatophytosis. Numerous other arthropod, protozoal, and parasitic infections have been described.[7] A worker can reduce the risk of flood-associated skin infections by avoiding the water if an open wound is present, or at minimum, cover the open wound with a waterproof bandage. Should contact with flood water occur, the open wound should be washed thoroughly with soap and clean water.[22]

Psychosocial exposures[edit]

Providing disaster recovery assistance is both rewarding and stressful. According to the CDC, "Sources of stress for emergency responders may include witnessing human suffering, risk of personal harm, intense workloads, life-and-death decisions, and separation from family."[23] These stresses need to be prevented or effectively managed in order to optimize assistance without causing danger to oneself. Preparation as an emergency responder is key, in addition to establishing care for responsibilities at home. During the recovery efforts, it is critical to understand and recognize burnout and sources of stress. After the recovery, it is vital to take time away from the disaster scene and slowly re-integrate back to the normal work environment. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides stress prevention and management resources for disaster recovery responders.[24]

Volunteer responsibilities[edit]

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises those who desire to assist go through organized volunteer organizations and not to self-deploy to affected locations. The National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) serves as the primary point of contact for volunteer organization coordination. All states have their own state VOAD organization. As a volunteer, since an employer does not have oversight, one must be vigilant and protect against possible physical, chemical, biological, and psychosocial exposures. Furthermore, there must be defined roles with relevant training available.[25] Proper tools and PPE may or may not be available, so safety and liability should always be considered.

Employer responsibilities[edit]

Every employer is required to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for its employees. When an emergency situation occurs, employers are expected to protect workers from all harm resulting from any potential hazard, including physical, chemical, and biological exposure. In addition, an employer should provide pre-emergency training and build an emergency action plan.[26]

Emergency action plan (EAP)[edit]

A written document about what actions employers and employees should take when responding to an emergency situation. According to OSHA regulations 1910.38,[27] an employer must have an emergency action plan whenever an OSHA standard in this part requires one. To develop an emergency action plan, an employer should start from workplace evaluation. Typically, most of the occupational emergency management can be divided into worksite evaluation, exposure monitoring, hazard control, work practices, and training.

Worksite evaluation is about identifying the source and location of the potential hazards such as fall, noise, cold, heat, hypoxia, infectious materials, and toxic chemicals that each of the workers may encounter during emergency situations.

Exposure monitoring[edit]

After identifying the source and location of the hazard(s), it is essential to monitor how employees may be exposed to these dangers. Employers should conduct task-specific exposure monitoring when they meet following requirements:

  • When the exposed substance has specific standard required by OSHA
  • When employers anticipate workers will be exposed to more hazards than the action level set by OSHA
  • When there is a worker complaint or concern about the exposure
  • When an employee questions the effectiveness of the existing hazard control methods

To effectively acquire the above information, an employer can ask workers how they perform the task or use direct reading instruments to identify the exposure level and exposure route.

Hazard control[edit]

Employers can conduct hazard control by:


Employers should train their employees annually before an emergency action plan is implemented. [29 CFR 1910.38(e)] The purpose of training is to inform employees of their responsibilities and/or plan of action during emergency situations. The training program should include the types of emergencies that may occur, the appropriate response, evacuation procedure, warning/reporting procedure, and shutdown procedures. Training requirements are different depending on the size of workplace and workforce, processes used, materials handled, available resources and who will be in charge during an emergency.

The training program should address the following information:

  • Workers' roles and responsibilities.
  • Potential hazards and hazard-preventing actions.
  • Notification alarm system, and communications process[28]
  • Communication means between family members in an emergency.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Emergency response procedures.
  • Evacuation procedures.
  • A list of emergency equipment including its location and function.
  • Emergency shutdown procedures.

After the emergency action plan is completed, employer and employees should review the plan carefully and post it in a public area that is accessible to everyone. In addition, another responsibility of the employer is to keep a record of any injury or illness of workers according to OSHA/State Plan Record-keeping regulations.[29]

Implementation ideals[edit]

Pre-incident training and testing[edit]

Emergency management plans and procedures should include the identification of appropriately trained staff members responsible for decision-making when an emergency occurs. Training plans should include internal people, contractors and civil protection partners, and should state the nature and frequency of training and testing.

Testing of a plan's effectiveness should occur regularly. In instances where several business or organisations occupy the same space, joint emergency plans, formally agreed to by all parties, should be put into place.

Drills and exercises in preparation for foreseeable hazards are often held, with the participation of the services that will be involved in handling the emergency, and people who will be affected. Drills are held to prepare for the hazards of fires, tornadoes, lockdown for protection, earthquakes, etc.

Communicating and incident assessment[edit]

Communication is one of the key issues during any emergency, pre-planning of communications is critical. Miscommunication can easily result in emergency events escalating unnecessarily.

Once an emergency has been identified a comprehensive assessment evaluating the level of impact and its financial implications should be undertaken. Following assessment, the appropriate plan or response to be activated will depend on a specific pre-set criteria within the emergency plan. The steps necessary should be prioritized to ensure critical functions are operational as soon as possible. The critical functions are those that makes the plan untenable if not operationalized.

The Communication policy must be well known and rehearsed and all targeted audiences or publics and individuals must be alert. All Communication infrastructure must be as prepared as possible with all information on groupings clearly identified.

Phases and personal activities[edit]

Emergency management consists of five phases: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. http://www.fema.gov/mission-areas


It focuses on preventing the human hazard, primarily from potential natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Preventive measures are taken on both the domestic and international levels, designed to provide permanent protection from disasters. also by doing this the risk of loss of life and injury can be mitigated with good evacuation plans, environmental planning and design standards. In January 2005, 167 Governments adopted a 10-year global plan for natural disaster risk reduction called the Hyogo Framework.[citation needed]

Preventing or reducing the impacts of disasters on our communities is a key focus for emergency management efforts today. Prevention and mitigation also help reduce the financial costs of disaster response and recovery. Public Safety Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments and stakeholders to promote disaster prevention and mitigation using a risk-based and all-hazards approach. In 2009, Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers endorsed a National Disaster Mitigation Strategy.

Mitigation strategy[edit]

Disaster mitigation measures are those that eliminate or reduce the impacts and risks of hazards through proactive measures taken before an emergency or disaster occurs.

Preventive or mitigation measures take different forms for different types of disasters. In earthquake prone areas, these preventive measures might include structural changes such as the installation of an earthquake valve to instantly shut off the natural gas supply, seismic retrofits of property, and the securing of items inside a building. The latter may include the mounting of furniture, refrigerators, water heaters and breakables to the walls, and the addition of cabinet latches. In flood prone areas, houses can be built on poles/stilts. In areas prone to prolonged electricity black-outs installation of a generator ensures continuation of electrical service. The construction of storm cellars and fallout shelters are further examples of personal mitigative actions.

On a national level, governments might implement large scale mitigation measures. After the monsoon floods of 2010, the Punjab government subsequently constructed 22 'disaster-resilient' model villages, comprising 1885 single-storey homes, together with schools and health centres.[30]

One of the best known examples of investment in disaster mitigation is the Red River Floodway. The building of the Floodway was a joint provincial/federal undertaking to protect the City of Winnipeg and reduce the impact of flooding in the Red River Basin. It cost $62.7 million to build in the 1960s. Since then, the floodway has been used over 20 times. Its use during the 1997 Red River Flood alone saved an estimated $4.5 billion in costs from potential damage to the city.[31] The Floodway was expanded in 2006 as a joint provincial/federal initiative.


Preparedness focuses on preparing equipment and procedures for use when a disaster occurs. This equipment and these procedures can be used to reduce vulnerability to disaster, to mitigate the impacts of a disaster or to respond more efficiently in an emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has set out a basic four-stage vision of preparedness flowing from mitigation to preparedness to response to recovery and back to mitigation in a circular planning process.[32] This circular, overlapping model has been modified by other agencies, taught in emergency class and discussed in academic papers.[33]

FEMA also operates a Building Science Branch that develops and produces multi-hazard mitigation guidance that focuses on creating disaster-resilient communities to reduce loss of life and property.[34] FEMA advises citizens to prepare their homes with some emergency essentials in the case that the food distribution lines are interrupted. FEMA has subsequently prepared for this contingency by purchasing hundreds of thousands of freeze dried food emergency meals ready to eat (MRE's) to dispense to the communities where emergency shelter and evacuations are implemented.

Some guidelines for household preparedness have been put online by the State of Colorado, on the topics of water, food, tools, and so on.[35]

Emergency preparedness can be difficult to measure.[36] CDC focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of its public health efforts through a variety of measurement and assessment programs.[37]

Local Emergency Planning Committees[edit]

Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) are required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act to develop an emergency response plan, review the plan at least annually, and provide information about chemicals in the community to local citizens.[38] This emergency preparedness effort focuses on hazards presented by use and storage of extremely hazardous and toxic chemicals.[39] Particular requirements of LEPCs include

  • Identification of facilities and transportation routes of extremely hazardous substances
  • Description of emergency response procedures, on and off site
  • Designation of a community coordinator and facility emergency coordinator(s) to implement the plan
  • Outline of emergency notification procedures
  • Description of how to determine the probable affected area and population by releases
  • Description of local emergency equipment and facilities and the persons responsible for them
  • Outline of evacuation plans
  • A training program for emergency responders (including schedules)
  • Methods and schedules for exercising emergency response plans

According to the EPA, "Many LEPCs have expanded their activities beyond the requirements of EPCRA, encouraging accident prevention and risk reduction, and addressing homeland security in their communities" and the Agency offers advice on how to evaluate the effectiveness of these committees.[40]

Preparedness measures[edit]

Preparedness measures can take many forms ranging from focusing on individual people, locations or incidents to broader, government-based "all hazard" planning.[41] There are a number of preparedness stages between "all hazard' and individual planning, generally involving some combination of both mitigation and response planning. Business continuity planning encourages businesses to have a Disaster Recovery Plan. Community- and faith-based organizations mitigation efforts promote field response teams and inter-agency planning.[42]

School-based response teams cover everything from live shooters to gas leaks and nearby bank robberies.[43] Educational institutions plan for cyberattacks and windstorms.[44] Industry specific guidance exists for horse farms,[45] boat owners[46] and more.

Family preparedness for disaster is fairly unusual. A 2013 survey found that only 19% of American families felt that they were "very prepared" for a disaster.[47] Still, there are many resources available for family disaster planning. The Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov page includes a Family Emergency Plan Checklist,[48] has a whole webpage devoted to readiness for kids, complete with cartoon-style superheroes,[49] and ran a Thunderclap Campaign in 2014.[50] The Center for Disease Control has a Zombie Apocalypse website.[51]

Disasters take a variety of forms to include earthquakes, tsunamis or regular structure fires. That a disaster or emergency is not large scale in terms of population or acreage impacted or duration does not make it any less of a disaster for the people or area impacted and much can be learned about preparedness from so-called small disasters.[52] The Red Cross states that it responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year, the most common of which is a single family fire.[53]

Preparedness starts with an individual's everyday life and involves items and training that would be useful in an emergency. What is useful in an emergency is often also useful in everyday life.[54] From personal preparedness, preparedness continues on a continuum through family preparedness, community preparedness and then business, non-profit and governmental preparedness. Some organizations blend these various levels. For example, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has a webpage on disaster training[55] as well as offering training on basic preparedness such as Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and First Aid. Other non-profits such as Team Rubicon bring specific groups of people into disaster preparedness and response operations.[56] FEMA breaks down preparedness into a pyramid, with citizens on the foundational bottom, on top of which rests local government, state government and federal government in that order.[57]

The basic theme behind preparedness is to be ready for an emergency and there are a number of different variations of being ready based on an assessment of what sort of threats exist. Nonetheless, there is basic guidance for preparedness that is common despite an area's specific dangers. FEMA recommends that everyone have a three-day survival kit for their household.[58] Because individual household sizes and specific needs might vary, FEMA's recommendations are not item specific, but the list includes:

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (e.g. toilet paper, menstrual hygiene products).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eyeglasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Other items to meet unique family needs.

Along similar lines, but not exactly the same, CDC has its own list for a proper disaster supply kit.[59]

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day
  • Food—nonperishable, easy-to-prepare items
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply), other medical supplies, and medical paperwork (e.g., medication list and pertinent medical information)
  • Multipurpose tool (e.g., Swiss army knife)
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (e.g., proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Children are a special population when considering Emergency preparedness and many resources are directly focused on supporting them. SAMHSA has list of tips for talking to children during infectious disease outbreaks, to include being a good listener, encouraging children to ask questions and modeling self-care by setting routines, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and taking deep breaths to handle stress.[60] FEMA has similar advice, noting that "Disasters can leave children feeling frightened, confused, and insecure" whether a child has experienced it first hand, had it happen to a friend or simply saw it on television.[61] In the same publication, FEMA further notes, "Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen, and provides an opportunity to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs after disaster. Preparation helps; when people feel prepared, they cope better and so do children."

To help people assess what threats might be in order to augment their emergency supplies or improve their disaster response skills, FEMA has published a booklet called the "Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Guide."[62] (THIRA) This guide, which outlines the THIRA process, emphasizes "whole community involvement," not just governmental agencies, in preparedness efforts. In this guide, FEMA breaks down hazards into three categories: Natural, technological and human caused and notes that each hazard should be assessed for both its likelihood and its significance. According to FEMA, "Communities should consider only those threats and hazards that could plausibly occur" and "Communities should consider only those threats and hazards that would have a significant effect on them." To develop threat and hazard context descriptions, communities should take into account the time, place, and conditions in which threats or hazards might occur.

Not all preparedness efforts and discussions involve the government or established NGOs like the Red Cross. Emergency preparation discussions are active on the internet, with many blogs and websites dedicated to discussing various aspects of preparedness. On-line sales of items such as survival food, medical supplies and heirloom seeds allow people to stock basements with cases of food and drinks with 25 year shelf lives, sophisticated medical kits and seeds that are guaranteed to sprout even after years of storage.[63]

One group of people who put a lot of effort in disaster preparations is called Doomsday Preppers. This subset of preparedness-minded people often share a belief that the FEMA or Red Cross emergency preparation suggestions and training are not extensive enough. Sometimes called survivalists, Doomsday Preppers are often preparing for The End Of The World As We Know It, abbreviated as TEOTWAWKI. With a motto some have that "The Future Belongs to those who Prepare," this Preparedness subset has its own set of Murphy's Rules,[64] including "Rule Number 1: Food, you still don't have enough" and "Rule Number 26: People who thought the Government would save them, found out that it didn't."

Not all emergency preparation efforts revolve around food, guns and shelters, though these items help address the needs in the bottom two sections of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The American Preppers Network[65] has an extensive list of items that might be useful in less apparent ways than a first aid kid or help add 'fun' to challenging times. These items include:

  • Books and magazines
  • Arts and crafts painting
  • Children's entertainment
  • Crayons and coloring books
  • Notebooks and writing supplies
  • Nuts, bolts, screws, nails, etc.
  • Religious material
  • Sporting equipment, card games and board games
  • Posters and banners creating awareness

Emergency preparedness goes beyond immediate family members. For many people, pets are an integral part of their families and emergency preparation advice includes them as well. It is not unknown for pet owners to die while trying to rescue their pets from a fire or from drowning.[66] CDC's Disaster Supply Checklist for Pets includes:[59]

  • Food and water for at least 3 days for each pet; bowls, and a manual can opener.
  • Depending on the pet you may need a litter box, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and/or household bleach.
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container.
  • First aid kit with a pet first aid book.
  • Sturdy leash, harness, and carrier to transport pet safely. A carrier should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for several hours.
  • Pet toys and the pet's bed, if you can easily take it, to reduce stress.
  • Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated, and to prove that they are yours.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and telephone number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.

Emergency preparedness also includes more than physical items and skill-specific training. Psychological preparedness is also a type of emergency preparedness and specific mental health preparedness resources are offered for mental health professionals by organizations such as the Red Cross.[53] These mental health preparedness resources are designed to support both community members affected by a disaster and the disaster workers serving them. CDC has a website devoted to coping with a disaster or traumatic event.[67] After such an event, the CDC, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), suggests that people seek psychological help when they exhibit symptoms such as excessive worry, crying frequently, an increase in irritability, anger, and frequent arguing, wanting to be alone most of the time, feeling anxious or fearful, overwhelmed by sadness, confused, having trouble thinking clearly and concentrating, and difficulty making decisions, increased alcohol and/or substance use, increased physical (aches, pains) complaints such as headaches and trouble with "nerves."

Sometimes emergency supplies are kept in what is called a Bug-out bag. While FEMA does not actually use the term "Bug out bag," calling it instead some variation of a "Go Kit," the idea of having emergency items in a quickly accessible place is common to both FEMA and CDC, though on-line discussions of what items a "bug out bag" should include sometimes cover items such as firearms and great knives that are not specifically suggested by FEMA or CDC.[68] The theory behind a "bug out bag" is that emergency preparations should include the possibility of Emergency evacuation. Whether fleeing a burning building or hastily packing a car to escape an impending hurricane, flood or dangerous chemical release, rapid departure from a home or workplace environment is always a possibility and FEMA suggests having a Family Emergency Plan for such occasions.[69] Because family members may not be together when disaster strikes, this plan should include reliable contact information for friends or relatives who live outside of what would be the disaster area for household members to notify they are safe or otherwise communicate with each other. Along with the contact information, FEMA suggests having well-understood local gathering points if a house must be evacuated quickly to avoid the dangers of re-reentering a burning home.[70] Family and emergency contact information should be printed on cards and put in each family member's backpack or wallet. If family members spend a significant amount of time in a specific location, such as at work or school, FEMA suggests learning the emergency preparation plans for those places.[69] FEMA has a specific form, in English and in Spanish, to help people put together these emergency plans, though it lacks lines for email contact information.[69]

Like children, people with disabilities and other special needs have special emergency preparation needs. While "disability" has a specific meaning for specific organizations such as collecting Social Security benefits,[71] for the purposes of emergency preparedness, the Red Cross uses the term in a broader sense to include people with physical, medical, sensor or cognitive disabilities or the elderly and other special needs populations.[72] Depending on the particular disability, specific emergency preparations might be required. FEMA's suggestions for people with disabilities includes having copies of prescriptions, charging devices for medical devices such as motorized wheel chairs and a week's supply of medication readily available LINK or in a "go stay kit."[73] In some instances, lack of competency in English may lead to special preparation requirements and communication efforts for both individuals and responders.[74]

FEMA notes that long term power outages can cause damage beyond the original disaster that can be mitigated with emergency generators or other power sources to provide an Emergency power system.[75] The United States Department of Energy states that 'homeowners, business owners, and local leaders may have to take an active role in dealing with energy disruptions on their own."[76] This active role may include installing or other procuring generators that are either portable or permanently mounted and run on fuels such as propane or natural gas[77] or gasoline.[78] Concerns about carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution, flooding, fuel storage and fire lead even small property owners to consider professional installation and maintenance.[75] Major institutions like hospitals, military bases and educational institutions often have or are considering extensive backup power systems.[79] Instead of, or in addition to, fuel-based power systems, solar, wind and other alternative power sources may be used.[80] Standalone batteries, large or small, are also used to provide backup charging for electrical systems and devices ranging from emergency lights to computers to cell phones.[81]

Emergency preparedness does not stop at home or at school.[82] The United States Department of Health and Human Services addresses specific emergency preparedness issues hospitals may have to respond to, including maintaining a safe temperature, providing adequate electricity for life support systems and even carrying out evacuations under extreme circumstances.[83] FEMA encourages all businesses to have businesses to have an emergency response plan[84] and the Small Business Administration specifically advises small business owners to also focus emergency preparedness and provides a variety of different worksheets and resources.[85]

FEMA cautions that emergencies happen while people are travelling as well[86] and provides guidance around emergency preparedness for a range travelers to include commuters,[87]Commuter Emergency Plan and holiday travelers.[88] In particular, Ready.gov has a number of emergency preparations specifically designed for people with cars.[89] These preparations include having a full gas tank, maintaining adequate windshield wiper fluid and other basic car maintenance tips. Items specific to an emergency include:

  • Jumper cables: might want to include flares or reflective triangle
  • Flashlights, to include extra batteries (batteries have less power in colder weather)
  • First Aid Kit, to include any necessary medications, baby formula and diapers if caring for small children
  • Non-perishable food such as canned food (be alert to liquids freezing in colder weather), and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars
  • Manual can opener
  • At least 1 gallon of water per person a day for at least 3 days (be alert to hazards of frozen water and resultant container rupture)
  • Basic toolkit: pliers, wrench, screwdriver
  • Pet supplies: food and water
  • Radio: battery or hand cranked
  • For snowy areas: cat litter or sand for better tire traction; shovel; ice scraper; warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Charged Cell Phone: and car charger

In addition to emergency supplies and training for various situations, FEMA offers advice on how to mitigate disasters. The Agency gives instructions on how to retrofit a home to minimize hazards from a Flood, to include installing a Backflow prevention device, anchoring fuel tanks and relocating electrical panels.[90]

Given the explosive danger posed by natural gas leaks, Ready.gov states unequivocally that "It is vital that all household members know how to shut off natural gas" and that property owners must ensure they have any special tools needed for their particular gas hookups. Ready.gov also notes that "It is wise to teach all responsible household members where and how to shut off the electricity," cautioning that individual circuits should be shut off before the main circuit. Ready.gov further states that "It is vital that all household members learn how to shut off the water at the main house valve" and cautions that the possibility that rusty valves might require replacement.[91]


Main article: Disaster response

The response phase of an emergency may commence with Search and Rescue but in all cases the focus will quickly turn to fulfilling the basic humanitarianneeds of the affected population. This assistance may be provided by national or international agencies and organizations. Effective coordination of disaster assistance is often crucial, particularly when many organizations respond and local emergency management agency (LEMA) capacity has been exceeded by the demand or diminished by the disaster itself. The National Response Framework is a United States government publication that explains responsibilities and expectations of government officials at the local, state, federal, and tribal levels. It provides guidance on Emergency Support Functions that may be integrated in whole or parts to aid in the response and recovery process.

On a personal level the response can take the shape either of a shelter in place or an evacuation.

In a shelter-in-place scenario, a family would be prepared to fend for themselves in their home for many days without any form of outside support. In an evacuation, a family leaves the area by automobile or other mode of transportation, taking with them the maximum amount of supplies they can carry, possibly including a tent for shelter. If mechanical transportation is not available, evacuation on foot would ideally include carrying at least three days of supplies and rain-tight bedding, a tarpaulin and a bedroll of blankets.

Donations are often sought during this period, especially for large disasters that overwhelm local capacity. Due to efficiencies of scale, money is often the most cost-effective donation if fraud is avoided. Money is also the most flexible, and if goods are sourced locally then transportation is minimized and the local economy is boosted. Some donors prefer to send gifts in kind, however these items can end up creating issues, rather than helping. One innovation by Occupy Sandy volunteers is to use a donation registry, where families and businesses impacted by the disaster can make specific requests, which remote donors can purchase directly via a web site.

Medical considerations will vary greatly based on the type of disaster and secondary effects. Survivors may sustain a multitude of injuries to include lacerations, burns, near drowning, or crush syndrome.


The recovery phase starts after the immediate threat to human life has subsided. The immediate goal of the recovery phase is to bring the affected area back to normalcy as quickly as possible. During reconstruction it is recommended to consider the location or construction material of the property.

The most extreme home confinement scenarios include war, famine and severe epidemics and may last a year or more. Then recovery will take place inside the home. Planners for these events usually buy bulk foods and appropriate storage and preparation equipment, and eat the food as part of normal life. A simple balanced diet can be constructed from vitamin pills, whole-meal wheat, beans, dried milk, corn, and cooking oil.[92] Vegetables, fruits, spices and meats, both prepared and fresh-gardened, are included when possible.

As a profession[edit]

Classification of hazardous material releases associated with natural disasters.
Surgical debridement of left leg necrotizing fasciitis.
A team of emergency responders performs a training scenario involving anthrax.
An airport emergency preparedness exercise
Kitchen fire extinguisher
Items on shelves in basement
Non-perishable food in cabinet

Disaster and Emergency Management Essay

1906 Words8 Pages

In a new form of protection and communication, social media is the main thing that everything is using in today’s times. Marketing employees have positions as titled as social media directors. Companies have people watching and monitoring everything that happens with their social media reputation all hours of the day everyday. Young people are seeing the power of social media everyday with teachers demonstrating how fast a picture can be shared across the world. Social media is relatively new and could possibly open many gates for communication. This depends heavily on who is publishing information and news on social media. If news spreads fast on social media, then the use of it can be used for emergencies. If many people are…show more content…

In a new form of protection and communication, social media is the main thing that everything is using in today’s times. Marketing employees have positions as titled as social media directors. Companies have people watching and monitoring everything that happens with their social media reputation all hours of the day everyday. Young people are seeing the power of social media everyday with teachers demonstrating how fast a picture can be shared across the world. Social media is relatively new and could possibly open many gates for communication. This depends heavily on who is publishing information and news on social media. If news spreads fast on social media, then the use of it can be used for emergencies. If many people are checking their computers and phones constantly, a widespread evacuation or threat can be communicated with a few clicks. These people can then contact their family and friends who don’t have Internet access. However, personal use of the Internet has proven that everything isn’t always true that in online. Many people can falsely claim things, which can cause unnecessary panic. Reputable sources can be harder and harder to come by. So social media can be both a positive and negative thing. When it comes to a County Emergency Management program, social media can have many different positive and negative aspects. Computer programs are subjective to hackers and “trolls” whom in an emergency situation can cause someone to call “wolf” like in

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