Essay: Briefing for Emergency Management

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Ing for Emergency Management

Emergency management is a relatively novel concept, with modern applications, theories, models and threats. The practices of emergency management have nevertheless existed since biblical times, and examples include the gathering of animals on Noah's Arc and the repopulation of the world in the aftermath of the great flooding, the means in which Moses handled the exodus and guided the Hebrews and so on. The Bible even encourages people to pay attention to dangers and address them. It says: "the prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." (Prov. 27:12, quoted by Andy Stanley, 2009).

Since the biblical times, the practices of emergency management have evolved significantly, as have the threats and the causes of the emergency situations. The company strives to continually assess the society and understand the changes and the challenges, and to integrate them within our programs. At this stage, we are committed to improving our operations from two distinct angles: (1) the integration of the latest technological developments which help identify, prevent and resolve emergency situations in a more effective and efficient manner and (2) the identification of the modern day threats which can impact the management of emergency situations and the integration of responses to these threats within the institutional operations.

Slide 3: The emergency management operations today

The emergency management program has undergone a series of changes throughout the past years. These changes have referred both to modifications within the internal structures of the entity, but also to actual changes within the programs. At the level of the programs, these are traditionally focused on search and rescue missions, which occur when the emergency situations materialize. These search and rescue missions were developed in time in order to shorten the duration of the operations and as such increase the survival chances of the people affected by the disaster. Additionally, the staff at the organization has been trained in order to increase the efficiency of their actions. Efficiency is in fact the first and foremost important element of our missions.

Efforts have also been made in the sense of improving the search and rescue missions with the introduction of newer and better technologies. The institution collaborates with it firms and they contact the emergency management institution when new developments have been made. The main challenge with technological integration is constituted by the lack of sufficient financial resources. The company collects its funds from state budgets, but also from donations. The following slide lists the main operations handled by our organization.

Slide 4: Current operations of the institution

Staff training -- both for emergency management operations as well as training at a psychological level in order to support the employees in creating an ability to deal with pressure and trauma

Organizing drills and field training sessions to test the ability of the staffs as well as to ensure that they remain alert even when emergency situations do not occur

Assisting local agencies and other groups when emergency situations arise by offering both actual help with emergency management, as well as knowledge support and transfer. The company even organizes emergency management training sessions for employees and groups in various institutions, such as private economic agents, schools, medical institutions and so on.

Running an emergency operations center 24/7. This center is run on daily basis and it receives data on emergencies, administers the management of the disaster and offers updates.

Budgeting of emergency management operations and the allocation of funds towards the management of emergency situations. Efforts are also made in the direction of collecting more funds.

Communications with the public in order to increase awareness of emergency situations and also to offer minimum and basic information as to how the public should recognize a disaster, alert the authorities and take the minimum, immediate and necessary action until the emergency management team arrives on location.

Slide 5: Current emergency management operations

Continuously open communications with the public and other agencies in order to identify emergency situations

Offering quick response to emergency situations by quickly reaching the location in well equipped machineries and with highly developed equipments. Immediate services include urgency medical services, firefighting and order services.

Researching and gathering vital information on site in order to identify the priorities, the circumstances and other information necessary to efficiently approach the situation

Search missions by water and air; land searches are also offered but they are less efficient and as such less applied

Rescue missions on water and land

The transport and offering of basic supplies to the people in isolated locations which cannot be rescued on the spot

Maintaining communications with the victims which still need rescue as well as collaborating with the agencies, groups and individuals who need help or who can provide help

Researching the emergency situation, identifying its causes and manifestation, supporting the recovery of the community and drawing lessons from the experience in order to enhance the management of future similar emergency situations.

The underlying philosophy is that of combining technical skills, theories and doctrines with imagination, creativity and adaptability in order to respond to the particularities of any given situation (Harrald, 2006).

Slide 6: The need for change

The modern day society is extremely dynamic and it raises a series of new challenges. This virtually means that the nature of the emergency situation also changes. Emergency management operations and practices need as such to develop alongside with the new challenges in order to remain able to assist the populations in need of emergency assistance. And these changes are not only observable at the agency level, but also at the national level. The government has for instance changed several emergency management policies in the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane, when problems found were associated with "questionable leadership decisions and capabilities, organizational failures, overwhelmed preparation and communication systems and inadequate statutory authorities. From these conclusions, the 109th Congress revised federal emergency management policies vested in the President; reorganized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); and enhanced and clarified the mission, functions and authorities of the agency, as well as those of its parent, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)" (Bea, 2006).

At the level of the theoreticians in the field, the emphasis has been placed on changes in the direction of preventing the emergency, rather than addressing it. Focus is as such placed on the vulnerability of a community in the face of a disaster, rather than the hazard itself. It is as such argued that disasters will always occur, but that "steps can be taken to reduce factors that increase risk from exposure, increase the ability to withstand disaster and increase the effectiveness of response and recovery" (McEntire, 2005).

Slide 7: Change at our agency

Processes of change had gradually been developed and introduced at our organization, but these have generically been characterized by slow implementation and barely visible results. These processes have had the benefit of not creating stress and pressures at an internal level. From the standpoint of the employees, it is expected that the new processes of change -- which would be more dynamic and more involving -- generate resistance. Despite this however, change is necessary and would be implemented onto two distinct channels.

The first necessity for change is given by the advent of technology. Technologic evolution forces the groups and individuals to develop alongside, but it also offers them enhanced abilities to better respond to the challenges of life. At the level of emergency management, technological advent is materialized in the new hardware equipments and software solutions which improve the act of administrating an emergency situation.

The second necessity for change is given by a mixture of threats which arise from within the society. The examples in this sense are various and would be detailed throughout the following pages. At this stage however, it would be useful to name a two of the most important of these, particularly the environmental changes or the incremental threat of terrorist attacks.

Slide 8: Technology and emergency management

As it has been previously mentioned, the technologic field develops at a rapid pace and raises both opportunities as well as threats. At the level of the opportunities, these materialize primarily in the creation of newer and better applications and equipments which allow individuals and organizations to better attain their objectives. These developments can also be integrated within the management of emergency situations.

The technological evolutions have commenced to impact the field of emergency management ever since the 1970s decade, at which point efforts commenced in the direction of creating a system of emergency management. At a national level, this system has yet to be created, but we believe that technological evolution can help achieve this desiderate. As defined by the editors at the National Research Council (NRC), an emergency management system represents an "integrated collection of components, with defined and agreed upon obligations and responsibilities, that interact in concert to achieve a given goal" (National Research Council, 1982). Our agency is committed to using technology to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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