Activities of Disaster Management

How to Create a Strategic Action Plan

Getting Ahead of The Curve: The Power of Disaster Management Preparedness

 

When it comes to the activities of disaster management what’s the first rule for dealing with a disaster response? If you said, “be prepared, not scared,” you would be correct. In the face of disaster, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge and a plan. These plans can deploy before a disaster strikes, during the emergency itself, or as part of the response and recovery process following a disaster event. The goal is to keep people and property as safe as possible in any of these given situations. Including everything from personal preparedness plans to large-scale relief efforts.

While it’s impossible to predict what will happen during a catastrophic event, preparing ahead of time can help you and your community weather the storm. It starts with understanding the risks that most directly affect your area. Depending on where you live, this may range from forest fires to earthquakes to hurricanes. There will most likely already be records of past weather events, disaster-prone conditions, and natural hazard risks, which will be able to guide you in your efforts to create a comprehensive and detailed plan of action. 

A well-designed preparedness plan will involve community leaders and local organizations who know the needs and layout of the area. Disaster preparedness experts can also help you develop a plan of action and arrange relevant training and exercises for leadership and the public. This training focuses on recreating the steps the community members and leadership will take when facing a catastrophic event. Often these situations cause a great deal of distress and even panic, so acting out the steps ahead of time can help reduce stress and increase the likelihood that plans can be executed with success when needed.

disaster-preparedness

Managing the Impact

The Importance of Proper Disaster Response

Immediately following a natural disaster, time is often of the essence. Whether local or federal, the disaster response teams move quickly to save as many lives as possible, reduce suffering, and mitigate damage to property and infrastructure. Often disaster response plan and recovery overlap in practice. What separates response efforts is the element of urgency that accompanies the immediate aftermath of a catastrophe.

At this point, the scope and severity of damage are often still unknown. The focus, then, is on assessing the situation and identifying areas that have been most heavily affected. And to maintain the health, safety, and comfort of community members. Many will need shelter, food, and medical attention. That is where local and federal organizations can step in for assistance, offering food, clothing, temporary shelter, and medical supplies to those in need.

A disaster response plan should include the actions that both leadership and the public will take in the event of an emergency. Such as plans for area evacuations, establishing protocols around communicating with the public, panic situations, and even materials such as medical equipment and non-perishable food items. Ideally, these plans should be in place well before an event occurs.

Disasters are often chaotic, uncontrolled, and dangerous. The stress of the situation can cloud judgment and delay response time. Training for these situations ahead of time can relieve some of the stress by offering preset courses of action to be executed quickly.

Over time, the focus of response may shift from preservation to evaluation. At this point, specialized teams call to assess the damages caused by the disaster and help develop a plan for rebuilding critical infrastructures like roads and bridges. As time continues, these efforts may slowly transition into the recovery stage, where the focus will be on rebuilding and working towards restoring normalcy to the lives of those impacted.

Disaster response is a complex and multi-faceted operation. Different agencies and organizations will, depending on their areas of expertise. The key to an effective response plan is coordination. Everyone needs to be on the same page, working together towards the same goal.

The Long Road Ahead:

The Journey to Disaster Recovery

The recovery process can be grueling, tough, and painful. Entire homes can be lost or damaged beyond repair. People can lose their jobs, possessions, and even their loved ones to natural disasters. With the physical and psychological damages that can last for years afterward.

Many describe natural disasters as crucial points in their lives that changed them entirely. Some may choose to relocate, while others may struggle to rebuild their homes. On a community level, recovery efforts can often be slow and tedious. Rebuilding public spaces, including essential services like hospitals, schools, and parks, takes time and resources.

Some communities struggle to recover, while others abandon. For example, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, some homes and businesses stayed abandoned even years after the storm had passed. The truth is that towns and cities can take years, even decades, to recover from a natural disaster.

Recovery plans are built based on a case-by-case basis. No two situations are exactly the same, and there are very few ways to predict how or when such events will occur ahead of time.

As disaster recovery experts, we at Enigma Advisory have helped numerous communities find their way following a disaster. If you are a community leader who needs assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team. We are here to help assist with activities of disaster management and are ready to help in any way we can.

emergency-management-professional-flood-response

 Learning and Growing:

The Secrets of Disaster Mitigation

We’ve discussed preparedness, response, and recovery, but what about mitigation? Where does it fit into the equation? At its core, disaster mitigation is about reducing or managing risks in a disaster. It can be conducted either before a disaster or in response to one. In the latter case, it is often deployed to prevent or predict a potential secondary event. It involves creating new systems, policies, and specific structures designed in mind with the most pressing disasters.

Every element’s process helps to improve its resilience and response capabilities in the face of danger. Should something go wrong, these systems will provide a way for people and governments to respond. Ideally, these will also reduce the time it takes for organizations to provide aid to those in urgent need, and as a result, limit the potential destruction that these disasters can cause.

For example, an area that has experienced severe flooding due to hurricanes or tsunamis may build tsunami shelters, construct tsunami watch systems, and change the city’s water system to prepare for potential flooding. To make the area more resilient to flooding and reduce the effects of flooding during future events.

That is what mitigation does at its best – it changes the narrative of a disaster situation, builds more resilient communities, and arms local authorities and citizens with the tools and resources necessary to respond to a crisis.

So what does this look like in practice? Well, disaster mitigation can take a couple of different forms. Generally, however, they fall into the areas involving changes to physical infrastructure, mapping and system development, training, and education. Specifics of what it looks like and which type of mitigation to focus on will depend entirely on the area, the community, and the types of disasters that are most prevalent and immediate.

Physical Infrastructure

The most obvious way to create a new mitigation plan is by building a physical structure. An example would be an emergency shelter designed to house a community. One that is equipped with all the supplies and food they may need to ride out a storm, tsunami, or hurricane. Another example are large structures designed to prevent or reduce flooding disasters, such as dams, aquifers, and levies, which can defer large amounts of water and keep developed areas safe from harm.

The common element of these structures is that they are large, often funded by local, state, or even federal governments, and take a great deal of construction and planning to implement. That can often make them an impractical solution for areas where funding may not be available.

On the other hand, these structures can often stand for years or even decades if properly maintained. These are just some of the pros and cons, and this kind of construction project takes a great deal of time to get approved by local governments. These structures are for mid and long-term mitigation planning with a more initial investment. That takes a long time to implement physically, reducing their effectiveness in the short term.

Mapping and System Development

Often a companion to physical construction projects, mapping and system developments focus on the organizational changes that can improve the overall response and recovery systems. Which usually starts with identifying current systems, including existing plans and maps. Mitigation experts like Enigma Advisory can help you identify areas for improvement in existing systems and formulate new ones that will cover any blind spots.

Training and Education

Finally, some options focus on increasing public awareness around hazard and disaster mitigation and response. That can be in the form of training for relevant public servants such as police and firefighters, school training drills for students and faculty, and public awareness campaigns. The training gives those in charge of response the proper training and makes the public aware of resources and systems that can help them during a crisis. The overarching goal, as always, is to reduce panic and improve response time in disaster situations.

Need a Team of Disaster Management Specialists?

Connect with Enigma Advisory Today!

We hope you don’t find yourself in a disaster situation. However, if you do find a need for our services, whether they are for the activities of disaster management, emergency management, prevention, or recovery, please don’t hesitate to connect with a member of our team today.

disaster-preparedness-risk-profile-analysis