Emergency Management

Emergency Management

Table of contents
1. Introduction
2. Mitigation
3. Preparedness
4. Response
5. Recovery
6. Conclusion
7. References

Traditionally, humans were exposed to numerous risks and dangerous which threatened their life and security. These risks and threats could be created by nature, humans’ environment and their own activity. However, whatever the cause of such risks and threats was, their consequences were often ruinous and led to numerous destructions and casualties. In fact, people were traditionally unable to resist to the power of nature and they could hardly prevent a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a volcano eruption, an earthquake, etc., neither they are able to prevent such disasters in the modern era. Nevertheless, gradually people learned to forecasts the upcoming natural disaster and, therefore, come prepared to face these problems with minimal losses. In this respect, it should be said that the first efforts of humans to foresee the upcoming disaster and develop some plans to prevent its ruinous effects, as well as first efforts of human to restore the normal life and social system after a disaster may be viewed as the first samples of emergency management.
However, it is necessary to admit that at the early stages of the development of human society and emergency management in its primitive form there were consistent gap and it is relatively recently emergency management has acquired new features and four phases of emergency management that are the management phases that match the Emergency Life Cycle. At the same time, it is worthy of noting that the development of four phases of emergency management was, to a significant extent, determined not only by the traditional weakness of human beings in face of natural disaster but also by the rapid development of science and technologies which had a dubious effect. On the one hand, the scientific and technological breakthrough has opened new opportunities in forecasting and prevention disasters and emergency cases, but, on the other hand, it also contributed consistently to the spring of new risks and threats resulting from human activities which threatens to the normal life of people on different levels from local to the national or even global ones, such as was the case of Chernobyl which exposed the mankind to the great threat of unparalleled risk in the result of technological disaster.
What is more important, in the course of development of the mankind the new risks and threats steadily appear that means that people should be ready to cope effectively with all the risks and threats they are facing. In this respect, it is extremely important to implement effectively the four phases of emergency management that may be a kind of guarantee of the prevention of huge material losses and numerous casualties as well as effective and rapid recovery from the disaster. This is why it is necessary to analyze carefully each phase of emergency management on different level, including local, state, and federal ones.

The first phase of emergency management is mitigation. Basically, this phase implies the implementation of actions that are taken in order to eliminate a hazard, or to reduce the probability and the effect, should the disaster occur (Wisner et al, 2004, p.315). It is necessary to point out that this phase is really of a paramount importance since it focuses on the preparation to a disaster or hazard and ways of the minimization of its negative effects. In fact, mitigation is supposed to make people more secure in face of potential hazards and, therefore, more protected in face of potential threats they may face.
In this respect, it should be said that the phase of mitigation should be actually realized before a disaster has struck or, at any rate, directly on heels of a disaster. In fact, the former is much more preferable than the latter since the more people are prepared to the realization of the emergency plan the less ruinous a disaster will be.
Basically, the mitigation phase includes such actions as building codes, special identification and routing requirements for the movement of hazardous materials, and land use and zoning requirements (Alexander, 2002, p.147). In general, all the actions that are undertaking during this phase target the elimination and minimization of negative effects of a disaster or hazard. In practice, this means that in the case of a flood, for instance, the mitigation stage should include preventive measures that could lessen, postpone or even totally dissipate negative effects of this natural disaster. In this respect, it is possible to build dikes, special shelters for people affected by flood, develop the plan of their evacuation, and zoning regulation. At the same time, depending on the scale of the disaster different levels of emergency management could be involved.
What is meant here is the fact that the mitigation phase targeting the elimination of negative effects of a flood, for instance, may be realized on the local, state, and even national level depending on the scale of the disaster. On the local level, it is possible to undertake only the most essential and simple, but important measures, such as the creation of the system of warning of the local population, or analysis of the threat of a flood. At the same time, often the assistance of a state is needed since local communities cannot always cope with such a problem as a flood. For instance, people may need to be evacuated from the area in zones which are not affected by a disaster and, in such a situation, the state should provide routes and special shelters for people affected by the disaster. In the most severe cases, the support on the federal level may be needed to the extent that even the national programs may be developed to mitigate the effects of a disaster or hazard. For instance, the evacuation of people to a different state may be needed that implies the necessity of the creation of respective infrastructure in different states that is not always affordable financially for local communities and states. This is why the federal support is needed to eliminate or minimize successfully negative effects of a disaster, such as flood.

It is worthy of mention that the mitigation phase may be viewed in the context of preparedness phase since both stages target the prevention of a potential disaster or hazard and minimization of its negative effects. In the case of the preparedness phase, actions that are supposed to be undertaken are basically focused on the facilitation of the following stages of emergency management, namely response and recovery. Unlike the mitigation phase, the preparedness stage implies the practical preparation of people to face and cope with a disaster or hazard. To put it more precisely, this phase includes special programs for training citizens, local government and agencies involved in the prevention and realization of plans of emergency management in order to make them get prepared to face a disaster or hazard and get ready to act according to the training programs that will naturally minimize negative effects of a disaster because people will know potential threats and risks and, what is probably even more important, they will know what they should do in order to secure themselves and, therefore, avoid negative impact of a disaster. In terms of this phase, it is also possible to provide the equipment of the local government with the essential materials, products, machines, etc. In other words, it is necessary to prepare not only people by means of their training but it is also necessary to create the material basis which they will be able to use effectively in case of a disaster.
It is important to underline that this phase also involves different levels of emergency management from the local to the federal levels. To put it more precisely, on the local level it is necessary to provide the training of the local population, government, and agencies, stock the essential equipment but often the cooperation on the state level or even between states may be needed so that rescuers from other states should be used, for instance. In such a situation, the federal government should be involved in order to train the interaction between states. For instance, in case of flood, on the local level people should be trained and have essential equipment, such as boats, helicopters, etc. The state should be ready to assist the area affected by the flood and get ready to evacuate people to other parts of a state. If the state cannot cope with the disaster than the assistance of other states is needed and, therefore, the federal government should provide the effective cooperation between states as well as federal support.

The two previous phases, to a significant extent, determine the effectiveness of the third, probably the most important phase, the phase of response. Basically, this phase implies the implementation of actions that are undertaken in order to save lives and property during the emergency (Haddow and Bullock, 2004, p.259). In fact, the actions that are undertaken during this phase directly depend on the nature of the emergency. It is obvious that the actions will vary in case of a flood and a volcano eruption, for instance. In practice, this means that the emergency services, the government and citizens should realize the plan of emergency on the basis of the existing infrastructure created during the phase of mitigation and using the equipment stocked during the preparedness phase. In this respect, the training could of a paramount importance because people should be ready to act depending on the situation and, during the response phase they often have little time to think about their actions so they need to take them almost automatically responding to the challenges they face.
At the same time, the response phase also implies a close cooperation on local, state and federal level because a disaster, such as flood, can disable the local government and population to resist the disaster because the essential infrastructure will be damaged while the need in equipment may exceed expectations, especially if the preparedness phase on the local level has failed. In such a situation, the assistance of a state and federal government is vitally important because the sooner they help the affected area the less significant the negative effects of a disaster will be. Also, it should be said that often disasters, such as flood, affect entire states or regions of the country to the extent that it is necessary to use the national army to adequately respond to the disaster. Naturally, without the federal assistance an effective response in such a situation will be practically impossible.

However, the adequate response to a disaster is just a phase of emergency management. In order to make emergency management really effective, it is necessary to implement the final stage, the recovery, which will help to overcome the negative effects of a disaster and restore the normal life of the area affected and local population. Naturally, the most severe disasters can make the return to the normal, pre-disaster life impossible but, still, the returning to normal or near normal life is the major goal of the recovery phase that will accomplish emergency management phases.
In fact, this stage may include a variety of actions, including the reconstruction of roads and public facilities, securing financial aid for disaster victims and others (Cuny, 1983, p.126). Also it is worthy of mention that the recovery phase may include the review and critique of response activities. This particularly important in order to assess the effectiveness of the response phase and implement more effective measures if necessary to overcome negative consequences of a disaster.
Similarly to other phases, the recovery phase should be applied on local, state, and federal level. Obviously, the local community can cope with a disaster, such as flood, if it does not really affect the functioning of the entire community. For instance, the local community can restore a bridge across the river, or reconstruct some roads, but it can hardly afford the reconstruction of the infrastructure of the state or federal significance. In such a case, the assistance of the federal and state powers is needed, including the large scale recovery of the entire area affected by a disaster.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that emergency management includes four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. All the four phases are of a paramount importance and all the activities should be effectively implemented in order to not only prevent or minimize negative effects of a disaster but also fully recover the area affected from these effects. As a result, it is obvious that the four phases, even though they have particular actions assigned to each of them, cannot be viewed as independent phased. In contrast, the actions during all the phases should be dynamic and interconnected to increase the effectiveness of emergency management.

Alexander, D. (2002). Principles of Emergency planning and Management. Harpenden: Terra Publishing.
Cuny, F. C. (1983). Disasters and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Haddow, G. D. and J. A. Bullock. (2004). Introduction to Emergency Management. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Wisner, B. et al. (2004). At Risk - Natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters. Wiltshire: Routledge.