Disaster Management in Eurotown
Eurotown is an urban town that is located near one of the main rivers in the country. Since it is a small town, it does not have any connection with other towns within the region. It has only one railway connection in the main city. Moreover one cannot find even motorways or dual carriage ways connecting it to the other towns in the region. All the individuals were living properly in the town till the time when a disaster occurred in Eurotown. The disaster approached the town in the form of a fire. At that instance the main official of the town who was designated as the Chief Executive of Eurotown was in hospital. He was not at all aware of the disaster that approached the town. The following report expresses the recommendations or measures that need to be kept in mind to mitigate the effect and possibilities of similar disaster that may occur in future. The report further provides information regarding the identification of disaster recovery tasks which are required to be undertaken after such hazards. The reader can correlate the report of Eurotown disaster with some similar disaster in non-More Economically Developed Country.
The general meaning of Mitigation that one can find in general is “to reduce” but here we will take mitigation as the prevention policies, practices or plans of action that can be undertaken in the case of disasters in future. Benson and Twigg (2004, in Hochrainer, 2006) have defined mitigation as “any action taken to minimise the extent of a disaster or potential disaster. Mitigation can take place before, during or after a disaster. Mitigation measures are both physical or structural and non-structural”. Thus overall we can say that mitigation measures are undertaken in order to reduce risks, damage and any kind of loss.
- There are various reasons that determine mitigation actions. Sahni (2004) considers these to be as follows:
- The community that adopts Pre-disaster mitigation measures, are considered to be prepared for a disaster which may help to recover all the losses and damages that were brought in the region due to a disaster.
- Measures for reducing the effects of the hazard will create awareness among the community about different hazards that are expected to be faced by the community (including technological hazards).
- The funds that are produced for the mitigation measures are contributed by the community only thus it is important to minimize the cost for such actions.
- The cultural and natural resources should be protected by the mitigation policies.
- The government and the private sector should join their hands and work hard in order to draft an effective mitigation programme.
While planning for a mitigation programme, the organizer needs to keep in mind various goals that are sought to be achieved. Coppola, (2011) has mentioned these to be risk reduction, risk consequence reduction, risk avoidance, risk acceptance and risk transfer, sharing or spreading.
Risk likelihood reduction: As mentioned above, it has been cleared that main reason for planning to create mitigation measures is to reduce the probability of risks. Although the damage cannot be prevented in case of natural disasters like hurricanes and typhoons, risk can be reduced in some cases such as floods (by building dykes, levees and buyouts), in cases of fire (by providing fire extinguishers or using less combustible materials) or in cases of accidents where traditional single rig trailers are preferred over tandem trailers in the transportation of cargo (Coppola, 2011).
Risk Consequence Reduction: as per this reduction the main focus is to ensure the protection of people, structures and systems. This goal lays importance on the need to strengthen structures and shelters and undertaking safety measures for the protection of people (Coppola, 2011).
Risk Avoidance: The first and the foremost step that a community should choose is to migrate people and structures out of the way of the disaster. Especially in case of natural hazards avoiding the risk should be the main criteria. However one could not perform such effects in the case of a large geographical area. Risk avoidance in the case of natural hazards often has legal and socio-cultural implications whereby communities often resist the ‘disruption of cultural and social frameworks’ in being moved to another place. (Coppola, 2011).
Risk acceptance: With the effect of changes in technology and development it is being presumed that there are certain risks that can be recognized as acceptable. These are the risks that are either too expensive to change or just unnecessary. The reasons that can be provided in such regard could be as follows. Firstly, it is likely that some risks might not be treated as of lesser value as compared to other hazards for which risk reduction will have a greater value. Secondly, it might happen that while reducing risks of some hazards, there may produce some other problems which could have undesirable consequences. An example of this could be a reduction in a benefit that came into existence because of a disaster. Thirdly, risk is also accepted in situations where certain cultures and beliefs opt for the option of remaining in a location rather than leave it for a ‘safer option’ (Coppola, 2011).
Risk Transfer, Sharing or Spreading: it is recommended to spread and share the consequences of risks instead of reducing it so that the effect of the risk could be shared by a large group of people. Further risk transfer includes insurance covers and international reinsurance where insurance is sought to reduce the financial impact of any loss on the bearer. Here the cost of a disaster is shared through the payment of a premium by all the customers. Risk sharing and spreading is a common phenomenon in developing countries social groups are seen to accommodate the needs of others members of that group in the case of a risk, examples are food sharing schemes (Coppola, 2011).
Prevention and Mitigation Measures for Fire Disaster
- Flammable Chemical and Proper Handling and Storage Procedures: it is advised to store Flammable chemicals in a laboratory that too safely and should be handled carefully with proper covering.
- Potential ignition sources and their control procedures: Ignition sources like open flames, electrical equipment, heat producing devices and chemicals needs to be turned off when not in use and needs to be handled safely. Further smoking should be prohibited near the areas that are surrounds flammable chemicals.
- Fire protection and control equipment: Fire extinguishers and sprinklers should be installed in all buildings. Moreover it would be better if Fire alarms and smoke detectors are provided where needed. Also maintain the standard of quality of those equipments is necessary.
- Housekeeping: It is the duty of housekeeping and facilities management to see to it that all hazardous waste is properly disposed.
- Training: All employees should be trained so that they can manage and can take required actions at various work places.
- Maintenance: All employees should be responsible towards the maintenance of all electrical equipment such as coffee pots, microwaves and hot plates.
- In a public gathering: All decorations that are used in the gathering should be resistive to fire so that the chances of fire could be reduced. Electric lights should be approved for use and should be checked for bare wires, cracked sockets, loose connections and damaged insulation. Obstructions in corridors should be avoided.
Mitigation Measures for Eurotown
Some mitigation measures are recommended for Eurotown which are as follows:
- Firstly investigation should be performed so that the main cause of Fire can be located. Once the loopholes are identified, precautionary measures should be performed to minimize the future chances of hazards.
- The health and safety procedures of Eurotown should be reviewed. Health and safety training should be given to all personnel and civilians alike and emergency drills should also be implemented.
- More dual carriageways and motorways needs to be constructed so that there will not be any traffic congestion from the town centre and will help in facilitative evacuation.
- More rail links to the main cities needs to be developed surrounding Eurotown.
- Eurotown has only two bridges across the river. More bridges need to be built so as to evacuate people easily in case of another disaster.
- Since there is only one river all the individuals of the city get the water supply from there only, Eurotown should have better water filtering device. This is important as water is easily contaminated by oil spills and chemicals in case of another disaster.
- Town infrastructure in the form of old structures and buildings should be well maintained as fire spreads very quick in old buildings. Fire extinguishers and sprinklers should be provided where needed.
- Electric power supply and generators should be provided in case of an emergency blackout.
Measures for Disaster Preparedness
Preparedness is how we change behavior to limit the impact of disaster events on people. Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, managing, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, creating, evaluating, monitoring and improving activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities of concerned organizations to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, create resources and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. This is done by organizing relief, rescue and rehabilitation. It also involves forecasting and warning systems, educating and training individuals in the community and managing the disaster situations (Krishna, 2006).
“Preparedness includes such activities as formulating, testing, and exercising disaster plans; providing training for disaster responders and the general public; and communicating with the public and others about disaster vulnerability and what to do to reduce it”(Simonovic, 2011).
While working on disaster preparedness it would be beneficial if the entire community actively participate in the process. If the public is properly educated about the hazards that could affect society and how they need to identify and respond to them the loss will be definitely less. Each of the individual and family should know that how to evacuate from the place of disaster.. Citizens should also be aware of how to cooperate in the community and the manner in which to access the emergency numbers (Simonovic, 2011).
Also it is likely that the medical facilities may not be available for all the individuals of community at the time of hazard thus there has to be a preparedness plan at the medical level too. Proper amenities should be available in the hospitals and an Emergency Management Plan is also a necessity. All the medical staff should be well trained in order to help himself as well others while dealing with hazardous situations and in emergency situations. All the emergency items should be there in stock of hospital and should be protected with anti-flame coating so that in case of fire there would not be any loss. The emergency room and hospital entrances should be free of obstacles at all times. The hospitals should be well equipped with enough telephone and internet connections. There should be facilities like ambulances to transfer the patients to another hospital or from one place to another should be readily available.(Ray, 2006).
Core competencies in disaster preparedness can be defined as the collective knowledge of the society on how the various actions, events activities and mechanisms in society can be linked together to prepare the society against any kind of disaster (O’Leary, 2004).
In disaster preparedness the core competencies are:
- Hazard analysis
The following figure by O’Leary (2004) provides a definition of the five core competencies of disaster preparedness.
The Process of quantifying the probability of extreme events harming human settlements in a given geographical area during a specific period.
The process of collecting, collating, and interpreting data to produce useful information.
The process of detecting imminent disaster and distributing that information to people at risk.
The process of simulating disaster for the purpose of measuring, assessing, and improving a social unit’s future performance in a real disaster.
The totality of resource-mobilization processes planned in anticipating imminent disaster”
Disaster Preparedness in Eurotown
- As per the cases found in Eurotown, it is very important to have a Disaster preparedness plan for the community and all citizens should be well educated and well informed on how to identify and respond to hazards and how to tackle the situation.
- The disaster preparedness plan should be well designed and should be tested time to time by each community to check out the effectiveness of the plan.
- All local businesses should develop written disaster preparedness plans that should be up to date and well tested. Employees within these businesses should be well trained on exercising disaster plans that can be implemented when the need arises.
- In case of disaster, first of all the evacuation process should include all the Schools and Care Homes. There should be proper availability of first aid kits in schools. Schools should also provide their students with training on the use of first aid kits and the dos and don’ts in case of a disaster. The supply of emergency equipment, first aid kits, extinguishers and sprinklers should be ample in Homes for the elder. All modes of communication should be properly functioning. The staff should be trained in respect of evacuation and should help others in evacuation as well.
- Staff in the Police, ambulance and the fire services should be well trained and well equipped to handle disasters as they are the first people to be contacted in case of an emergency.
- Modes of communication should be easily accessible and there should be an easy access to the emergency numbers.
- Local organisations should have an ample number of trained and volunteer staff in the medical and fire department who are well trained to handle disaster situations.
- Plans should be prepared for arrangement of transportation, list of suppliers of emergency equipment, list of in-house suppliers and supplier of accommodation, food and drink.
- Arrangements should be made for funding emergency needs.
- Mock drill should be conducted on a regular basis to assess the performance of the community.
Disaster Recovery Plan
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented process or set of procedures to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Such plan, ordinarily documented in written form, specifies procedures an organization is to follow in the event of a disaster. It is "a comprehensive statement of consistent actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster."(Wallace and Webber, 2010). The main aim of disaster recovery plans is to “assist individuals, households, critical infrastructure, and businesses in meeting basic needs and returning to self sufficiency” (Czerwinski, 2009).
The recovery may be categorized in either short term recovery or long term recovery. In short term recovery one can easily restore all the basic services and functions are restored it is also referred as quick recovery. The basic services and functions include restoring essential health services, transportation routes, and providing a quick access to food and shelter to those affected by the disaster. Moreover the short term recovery lasts for only some time may be a few weeks. On the other hand the long term recovery takes a few months to restore. It includes all the services that have been mentioned in the short term. Long term recovery on the other hand may take a few months to restore. Although it does include all the actions mentioned in the short term recovery, it continues for months and years depending on the severity of the damage. (Czerwinski, 2009).
The Recovery Process
The recovery process can be implemented on the natural system, physical reconstruction, and reshaping community. However it is important that to keep in mind that while protecting and restoring the natural system the recovery process should be done in a manner that would not disrupt the natural ecosystem and cause further damage. It is important to remove all the existing structures and limits are placed on future growths in hazard areas while restoring the natural system. while constructing a physical environment it is important to repair and rebuilding of the old structures in homes, businesses and the community. Redevelopment principles and restoring structures back to their pre-disaster conditions needs to be implemented (Rodriguez, 2007).
In the process of recovering the community the main focus is to bring back things in the way they were previously before the disaster. Job losses, reconstruction failure and a reduction in affordable housing stock could be the outcome of failed recovery goals. However it is likely that it is bit difficult for a community to bring back a situation of pre-disaster condition. However in some communities, exposure to disasters helps the community change their way of life, enhance local economies and improve the conditions of the environment (Rodriguez, 2007).
Successful Recovery Plans
According to Rodriguez (2007), successful recovery plans should include,
Community Involvement: The planning authority should make full use of the available resources. The public is the biggest support in any recovery plan thus the planners should make full use of the public and should obtain a buy in from stakeholders before a disaster occurs.
Information: A thorough analysis needs to be made while drafting a recovery plan. The analysis should include sufficient information on hazard characteristics, size of the population, population distribution, economic factors, resources available to the community, information on local governments and the infrastructure should be provided or readily available.
Organisation: Full assistance should be taken by the government, private and non-profit organizations as they are capable of providing assistance in disaster recovery.
Procedures: The recovery plans should be ready for action. They “should incorporate hazard mitigation into the repair of damaged facilities and the hosen location of future development relative to identified hazard areas” (Rodriguez, 2007).
Setting up a budget: A budget should be setup while planning for an effective recovery plan.
Recovery Plans for Eurotown
A proper relationship needs to be built between the various members and groups in the society so that they can work for each other instead of themselves. This will help form a strong bond in the society.
The environmental conditions needs to be improved so that the life of the individuals living in Eurotown can be enhanced.
Monetary and medical assistance should be provided to the victims to help them cope with treatment and rebuilding their lives
Monetary and medical assistance should be provided to the victims to help them cope with treatment and rebuilding their lives