Emergency Management

Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery are the four interrelated concepts necessary to an effective emergency management program.

Mitigation involves the reduction of potential exposure from a hazard or event. Just like fire prevention, mitigation programs can stop the spread of the disaster. For example, in a flood prone area, a mitigation plan needs to examine the local zoning and building codes, and flood plan surveys. Having a good mitigation strategy will assist in the reduction of a tremendous loss.

The second factor is Preparedness. The unfortunate truth is that no matter how good a mitigation plan is, not all risks can be eliminated. Mother Nature does not take a vacation. Storms, rain, snow, tornadoes and the like will cause damage in a community in spite of excellent preparation. However, just as mitigation can contain the damage, preparedness can assist in limiting the extent of the damages. This phase of the four necessitates a great deal of deliberation in order to realize all the different steps needed to maintain order. Additionally, a crucial element of the plan is the section on establishing authority and responsibility. While the fire service uses the Incident Command System, in emergency management, preparedness is our ICS. It establishes the laws that govern the authority of the elected officials and our responsibilities in the public safety sector.

The third element is Response. In Emergency Management, the response phase is where the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) is put to use. When the EOC is activated, Emergency Management assists the fire, police, and EMS with resources. For example, at a multiple alarm at a nursing home, emergency management can assist with the sheltering of the victims of the facility or notify additional resources that are needed. For example, if Urban Search and Rescue teams and equipment are needed to assist at an incident, these notifications can be made from the EOC.

And finally the fourth phase is Recovery. This function could take the longest to perform. This is where Emergency Management helps to put the community, city or state back to the level, or as near as possible, to its condition before the incident or disaster. Emergency Management conducts the damage assessments to begin the paper work necessary for financial assistance. Even if a community has had a ‘minor’ disaster, such as a haz-mat incident, Emergency Management can assist in the recovery of materials.

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