Emergency management is an important subject that deals with human life and property. Damages caused by disasters are less harmful if a comprehensive emergency management plan is in place.
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What Is Emergency Management
Disaster management or emergency management is the subject related to the control of natural disasters. The aim of emergency management is to ensure minimization of the damage due to disasters by meticulous planning, thorough preparations, efficient execution, and suitable plan modification as necessary. It includes all the essential preparations that are necessary before the occurrence of a disaster, and the actions to be taken on the happening of a disaster, including evacuation, decontamination, first aid, etc. Emergency management also includes reconstruction and rehabilitation measures for the communities that have been affected by a disaster.
Emergency management is conducted in four stages, namely mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
In this phase efforts are directed towards the minimization of the hazard potential, so that disasters are not created. This phase involves long term measures to decrease or remove the risks. Mitigation would include prevention of construction in high risk zones, such as areas vulnerable to floods and landslides, and the solicitation of expert opinion, if necessary. Other mitigation measures include creation of storm basements, fitting of generators for electricity failure, legislation related to mandatory evacuation, and purchase of insurance.
Preparedness is the planning phase that involves the preparation of proper procedures for emergency management and ensuring the availability of adequate emergency equipment for use in a disaster. This phase requires extensive efforts over an extended duration, including the utilization of the financial resources for the completion of requisite tasks. Several works would be necessary, such as creation of shelters, provision of early warning equipment, etc.
The response phase represents the actual measures adopted after a disaster has occurred, and its success will be significantly influenced by the extent with which the previous phases were accomplished. This phase involves the rescue operations by the essential emergency services in the affected area, with the aim to ensure an expeditious evacuation and minimum damage. The firefighters, police, and ambulances of several agencies will be active during this phase to save human life and property.
The recovery operation commences when the disaster has subsided, and there is no immediate risk to the human life and property. The emergency management efforts during this phase are aimed at restoration of the affected area to its original condition. The recovery efforts include the reconstruction of buildings, repair of communications, and re-employment. Home confinement for a long duration may be essential for the emergencies like epidemics and war. In such emergencies, it would be necessary to ensure arrangements for the storage of food, medicines, and other essential items.
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Integration of Emergency Management Plans
Emergency management is a complex subject since it has to be implemented by a joint effort of several agencies, and no plan can be successful if prepared without coordination with other groups. Emergency management involves the efficient integration of the emergency plans of the general public, communities, and the state organizations to manage hazards. The success of an emergency plan will depend upon the accuracy and depth according to which the risk assessment of the hazard was conducted, and the joint practice carried out by the agencies.