Disaster Management

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Personal mitigation is a key to national preparedness. Individuals and families train to avoid unnecessary risks. This includes an assessment of possible risks to personal/family health and to personal property. For instance, in a flood plain, home owners might not be aware of a property being exposed to a hazard until trouble strikes. Specialists can be hired to conduct risk identification and assessment surveys. Professionals in risk management typically recommend that residents hold insurance to protect them against consequences of hazards.

In earthquake prone areas, people might also make 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 to enhance household seismic safety. 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 an generator would be an example of an optimal structural mitigation measure. The construction of storm cellars and fallout shelters are further examples of personal mitigative actions.

Mitigation involves Structural and Non-structural measures taken to limit the impact of disasters. Structural mitigation are actions that change the characteristics of a building or its surrounding, examples include shelters, window shutters, clearing forest around the house. Non-structural mitigation on personal level mainly takes the form of insurance or simply moving house to a safer area. Preparedness

Airport emergency preparedness exercise.

Personal preparedness focuses on preparing equipment and procedures for use when a disaster occurs, i.e., planning. Preparedness measures can take many forms including the construction of shelters, implementation of an emergency communication system, installation of warning devices, creation of back-up life-line services (e.g., power, water, sewage), and rehearsing evacuation plans.

Two simple measures can help prepare the individual for sitting out the event or evacuating, as necessary. For evacuation, a disaster supplies kit may be prepared and for sheltering purposes a stockpile of supplies may be created. The preparation of a survival kit such as a "72-hour kit", is often advocated by authorities. These kits may include food, medicine, flashlights, candles and money. Also, putting valuable items in safe area is also recommended. 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 humanitarian needs 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.

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 being the minimum.

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...
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