Disaster Management History

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Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes are natural hazards that man may be able to predict but unable to stop on the other side bombs, nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks and wars are manmade hazards, that cannot be predicted, but there is the possibility of preventing them. Even with all the different hazards in the world one of the keys to surviving them is effective emergency management preparedness. Through the years, disaster preparedness has seen many changes and many meanings; to be able to enhance future disaster preparedness we need to look at the past and the present, in order to see the future.

The media has talked endlessly about several terms since the events of September 11 (Sebastian, 2007). These terms are Homeland Security, FEMA and emergency management (Sebastian, 2007). To understand where we are today in emergency management preparedness, we need to look at the history of emergency management preparedness. The first governmental emergency management intervention in the United States occurred in 1803 (Sebastian, 2007). This is when a Congressional Act was passed to help a New Hampshire town recover from a destructive fire (Sebastian, 2007).

In the early 1930’s The Flood control Act of 1934 gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers increased authority to design and build flood control projects. In addition, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Bureau of Public Roads were both given authority to make disaster loans available for repair and reconstruction of certain public facilities after disasters.

During the 1950’s, the Cold War era, the principal disaster risk was the potential for nuclear war and the radioactive fallout that would follow. During this time in the United States, there were few natural disasters to be concerned with and prepare for but the increases of manmade hazards were a threat. The Civil Defense programs increased across numerous communities to help protect them against manmade hazards/disasters....
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