Emergency preparedness is the steps taken to ensure safety before, during and after an emergency or natural disaster. These plans are important for people’s safety in both natural disasters and man-made disasters. Examples of natural disasters are floods, blizzards, tornadoes and earthquakes. Man-made disasters can include explosions, fires, chemical and biological attacks.
Emergency Preparedness helps in dealing with and avoiding both natural and man-made disasters. It involves mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in order to lessen the impact of disasters. Lack of preparedness during disasters can threaten national security and particularly degrade the resilience of a community in terms of treat that contribute to vulnerability. It should also be noted that disasters create emergencies but not all emergencies are disasters. Emergency management requires a partnership among all levels of government (local, State, and Federal) and the private sector (business and industry, voluntary organizations, and the public). Successful preparedness requires detailed planning and cooperation among each sector. Emergency preparedness ranges from the National Emergency Management Agency developing an all inclusive plan to mitigate natural disasters to the individual to the level of ensuring their car has plenty of fuel for a possible evacuation and that the access road to leaving the scene of incident is free.
Emergency is any unplanned event that can cause deaths or significant injuries to students, employees, customers or the public; or that can disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the facility’s financial standing or public image. Preparedness on the other hand is the continuous cycle of planning, managing, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, creating, monitoring, evaluating and improving activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities of concerned organizations to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, create resources and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.
The following principles illustrate the emergency concept; Emergency preparedness at all levels must consider and take into account all hazards, all phases, all stakeholders and all impacts relevant to disasters. Anticipation of future disasters and preventive and preparatory measures build disaster-resistant and disaster-resilient communities. Sound risk management principles (hazard identification, risk analysis, and impact analysis) are used in assigning priorities and resources. Unity of effort among all levels of government and all elements of a community are integrated. Broad and sincere relationships among individuals and organizations are incorporated to encourage trust, advocate a team atmosphere, build consensus, and facilitate communication. Activities of all relevant stakeholders are synchronized to achieve a common purpose. Creative and innovative approaches are used to overcome disaster challenges.
Emergency preparedness uses a science and knowledge-based approach; based on education, training, experience, ethical practice, public stewardship and continuous improvement. Management consists of four phases:
This is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. Mitigation is taking action now before the next disaster to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, insuring against risk). Effective mitigation requires that we all understand local risk, address the hard choices, and invest in long-term community well-being. Sound understanding of risk management is required for mitigation to work. Without mitigation actions, we jeopardize our safety, financial security, and self-reliance.
Mitigation is valuable to society in these ways:
- It creates safer communities by reducing loss of life and property damage.
- It allows individuals to minimize post-flood disaster disruptions and recover more rapidly.
- It lessens the financial impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. (For example, in the United States of America a recent study by the Multi-hazard Mitigation Council shows that each dollar spent on mitigation saves society an average of four dollars.) This can approximately be same in Nigeria.
Preparedness is the state of being ready for action during a disaster or emergency. Preparedness which has been defined above as a continuous cycle of planning, managing, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, creating, monitoring, evaluating and improving activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities of concerned organizations to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, create resources and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. The preparedness phase is achieved and maintained through a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating and taking corrective action (The Preparedness Cycle). Evacuation plans and emergency shelters are examples of preparedness plans. Preparedness takes place before a disaster takes place. Preparedness can be in short, precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters.
Response consists of actions taken to prevent death and further damage during an emergency situation. The response phase is putting the preparedness phase into action. Examples of response include evacuating a disaster area, seeking shelter, etc.
The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first responders. This is driven by the type and kind of emergency and is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police and ambulance crews. They may be supported by a number of secondary emergency services.
Recovery is the ability to return to a state of normal function with minimal suffering and disruption of services following a disaster. Disaster and financial assistance are examples of recovery that aids individuals and communities. Recovery assistance can be provided at local, state, federal, or private sector levels. The recovery phase takes place following a disaster.
The aim of recovery is to restore the affected area to its previous state. It differs from response in its focus; recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment, and the repair of other essential infrastructure. Efforts should be made to “build back better”, with a goal to reduce risks inherent in the community and infrastructure.
BENEFITS OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do;
1. Concentrations of vulnerable residents whether they are lower-income residents without vehicles, senior citizens, disabled people, or other groups present special challenges in emergency response and evacuation.
2.How quickly your community can get back to business after a disaster, either natural or man-made often depends on emergency planning done today.
3. A commitment to planning today will help support the community, the local economy and even the country. It also protects business investment.
4. Minimizing of financial impact
5. Vital record and information assets preservation
6. Reduce the chances of death
WHY YOU NEED TO PREPARE
- Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property.
2.If a disaster occurs in your community, local government, disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.
3.However, putting a plan in motion will improve the likelihood that you will survive and recover.
4.The main issue identified was the struggle emergency managers had communicating with other, utility companies, and the media.
I choose to write about emergency preparedness today cos of the many disasters happening around the world. It is pertinent that every government, business and house-hold takes note of these preparedness plan to reduce sudden death and casualties that might emanate from disasters.
Note: Disasters do not inform you before occurring.
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