Unit 1 DQ
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill, questions of local, state, and federal disaster readiness began to be addressed. In that vein, as emergency operations planners, it is important to explore the importance of emergency planning and to answer the question, “why plan?”
Whether you are building institutional relationships, educating the public on prevention, responding to incidents, or investigating crimes, there is a neverending conveyor belt of needs to be addressed for emergency operations planners. There is so much work to be done that it can be tempting to hunker down and plough through it on your own. However, over time, most professionals have become aware that agencies with different mandates each touch different parts of the emergency response process and must coordinate and work together to be effective.
Topic 1: Rationale for a “Team” Approach in Emergency Operations Planning
State the rationale for a “team” approach in emergency operations planning. What are the benefits and hindrances of working in a team environment? How does a planner bring together the various and disparate partners that form a team?
Respond Kindly to Student #1
Incorporating a group of individuals in a team approach is optimal since it encourages engagement and increases people’s commitment to the process. It will also increase the level of creativity, expertise, and experience used for each step of emergency preparedness allowing for a more holistic view of the challenges. Additionally, it increases the amount of time and energy available to participants. Significantly, it enhances the planning process’s visibility and stature. This results in a collaboratively designed strategy that incorporates diverse perspectives and reflects common aims, improving the plan’s execution. Closer professional and personal ties between team members should improve coordination and collaboration during crises (National Safety Council, 2007).
From past experiences, we have learned that operational planning is best done in groups. Case studies support this idea by demonstrating that effective operations have a similar thread: all involved companies have understood and embraced their duties. When you work together as a team, your response to the emergency will be successful and stand alone on its own. It will also help to make mitigation and recovery easier.
Utilizing a team or group approach enables firms to clarify their perspective of their position throughout an operation. One of the benefits of using a planning team is that it allows developing and expanding relationships that contribute to the creativity and originality of event planning (FEMA, 2011). This strategy assists in establishing a planned routine, ensuring that the procedures performed before and during an event are the same. When developing emergency management and homeland security strategy, an important consideration is team members who can contribute their unique skills, resources, and perspectives to the table. An active and developing program yields operational plans that are well created, well supported and well implemented.
Emergency planning needs to be a team effort because disaster response requires coordination between many community agencies and organizations and different levels of government. Furthermore, different types of emergencies require different kinds of expertise and response capabilities. Thus, the first step in emergency planning is the identification of all of the parties that should be involved. Additionally, various sorts of crises need distinct levels of experience and reaction skills. As a result, the first stage in emergency planning is to identify all stakeholders on the team.
There are some downsides to having a team. First, it will be difficult to persuade people to take an active role in the emergency preparedness team. Second, meetings with so many people may be even more challenging to plan. However, it is vital to include everyone in the planning process from the start to ensure everyone’s involvement and ownership of the plan. Furthermore, their skills and understanding of their organizations’ resources are critical to establishing an appropriate plan that considers the whole community’s requirements and the resources that may be made available in an emergency.
Collaboration is required when working with people from different agencies and organizations. Collaboration is the process by which individuals work as a team to achieve a shared goal. A successful team is willing to engage in shared decision-making and is required for successful cooperation and an openness to sharing information, resources, and duties. Last but not least, team members must have professional regard for each other. Collaboration, on the other hand, does not happen by accident. It takes time and effort to build a team that works well together.
The emergency Response Team will be unique to the business based on its size and composition. The team should be leaders (CEOs), finance people, human resources, property managers, legal representation, and prommers. The planner should keep the team small and agile; this will restrict its size to the department’s decision-maker.
FEMA. (2011). Emergency planning. https://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is235b/is235b.pdf
National Safety Council. (2007). Get started – establishing a team. https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/2018-12/fy07_46e0-ht10-07_emerg_pg_module_1.pdf
Respond Kindly to Student #2
Approach in Emergency Operations Planning
Emergency operation planning is a team effort that requires vital coordination between multiple agencies and organizations from all levels of government. In addition, not all types of emergencies are the same, so it is critical to have different kinds of expertise and response capabilities to create the most efficient EOP. Therefore, it is imperative to identify all parties involved as one of the first steps in emergency planning (FEMA, 2010).
The relationship between EOP planning team members benefits the community by reinforcing the overall response to natural or man-made disasters. For instance, it would eliminate duplication of services, resulting in a more efficient response, expand resources availability, and enhance problem-solving through cross-pollination of ideas. Some of the hindrances of working in a team environment are depending on others to do their part. Additionally, different levels of experience and expertise can get in the way and be detrimental to overall team cohesion (FEMA, 2010).
To bring together the various and disparate partners that form a team that works well together the following stages will help build the team. FEMA (2011) explained that building a team takes time and effort and typically evolve through the next stages:
Forming: Individuals come together as a team. During this stage, the team members may be unfamiliar with each other and uncertain of their roles on the team.
Storming: Team members become impatient, disillusioned, and may disagree.
Norming: Team members accept their roles and focus on the process.
Performing: Team members work well together and make progress toward the goal.
Adjourning: Their task accomplished, team members may feel pride in their achievement and some sadness that the experience is ending. (FEMA, 2011, pg. 2.12).
FEMA. (2010. November). Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans. Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101. Version 2.0. https://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/divisions/npd/CPG_101_V2.pdf
FEMA. (2011, December). Emergency Planning. Independent Study 235.b. https://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is235b/is235b.pdf
Discussion topics support this unit’s objective and should be completed after reading all materials. Your responses ought to include original evaluation, synthesis, or analysis of the topic, and contribute to the weekly discussion in a meaningful way. You must complete all discussion topics and reply to your peers’ posts. Refer to the Discussion Board Rubric under Course Resources for additional requirements.
Topic 2: Natural Disaster vs. Man-made Incident
After an event has occurred and the site is secure, what are the differences in responding to a natural disaster compared to a man-made incident?
Respond Kindly to Student #1
Natural Disaster vs. Man-made Incident
Man-made and natural disasters affect thousands of people across the nation every year. Significant events such as these have the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and physical destruction. Unfortunately, these events are often unexpected and can have long-lasting effects on entire communities. Natural disasters are geological or meteorological events that have the potential to cause loss of life or property. On the contrary, man-made disasters include accidents, shootings, acts of terrorism, and incidents of mass violence that most of the time are unpredictable (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2020).
Natural disaster response is less complex than man-made incidents response. Decades of suffering the effects of natural disasters across the nation have forced emergency managers to develop mitigations plans to overcome this type of incident quickly. The main difference in responding to a natural disaster compared to a man-made catastrophe is predictability. First responders and decision-makers have a better idea of the necessary resources needed to provide communities with immediate relief and life-saving measures. On the contrary, man-made incidents tend to have an obscure origin, and no prior measures can be taken (Yadav & Bhandari, 2021). Thus, responding to man-made incidents tends to be more chaotic, especially if they are connected to terrorism.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2020, December 22). Types of disasters. SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/disaster-types
Yadav, P., & Bhandari, S. (2021, March 3). Difference between natural disaster and man-made disaster. Ask Any Difference – Know the Differences and Comparisons. https://askanydifference.com/difference-between-natural-disaster-and-man-made-disaster/
Respond Kindly to Student #2
Natural disasters and man-made incidents would require difference responses because disasters play out differently. For instance, when responding to the aftermath of a major earthquake you would have to take into consideration that there still could be aftershocks and this could present a dangerous environment for the responders. Likewise if there were a nuclear incident then radiation could be a concern. An example of this would be the Fukushima reactor that was damage back in 2011 during an earthquake and tsunami. According to an article in the the journal, Nature, “In the subsequent decade, 1.25 million tonnes of seawater have been pumped through the damaged units to stop the molten fuel debris from overheating, and pumping continues” (Nogrady, 2021). However, the issue now becomes what to do with all the contaminated sea water. Japanese authorities want to dump it back into the ocean; however their neighbors, South Korea and China are against this proposal. However, this is an interesting case because a natural disaster (earthquake and tsunami) led to the man-made incident (Fukushima reactor). This similar scenario also took place during Hurricane Katrina when a natural disaster (hurricane) led to the man-made incident (levees failing).
The reason I bring this up is while we are comparing the difference responses between natural disasters and man-made incidents, we have to remember that sometimes a natural disaster can lead to a man-made incident and the Fukushima reactor is a prime example of this. This means that responses generally take a hybrid approach because you need to be prepared for whatever can happen no matter how unlikely it might seem.
Nogrady, B. (2021, May 7). Scientists ok plan to release one million tonnes of waste water from Fukushima. Retrieved from Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01225-2