Cross-Cultural Implications of Management of Mass Terrorism Preparedness Research Proposal

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Multiculture Emergency

Special Problems and Recommendations in Emergency Preparedness Management in Multicultural Communities

The past decade has shown the world that emergency preparedness is not something that can ever be taken lightly, nor something that is easy to predict a need for. This might seem somewhat obvious; the very nature of an emergency, by definition, makes it impossible to predict or truly plan for ahead of time. This makes the necessity of having a firm plan and system of emergency preparedness in place beforehand even stronger. The management of an emergency situation essentially comes down to two broad areas of concern: the coordination of resources and the effective processing and relaying of information, both wit officials at various levels, departments, and agencies, and with the public at large.

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Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina outline the need for proper and effective disaster and emergency preparedness and management, and especially the need for effective communication and coordination with the community before, during, and after an emergency event -- in short, at all times. Had such communication networks been in place in New Orleans (laying aside the other hugely important issues of basic infrastructure and response at the state and federal levels), the mortality rate and other adverse effects of the levee breakage and subsequent flooding could have been mitigated. In addition, rescue and relief efforts would have been far more effective had the level of disaster been adequately prepared for. The need to plan for a worst-case-scenario is an unfortunate reality, and the absence of such a plan was obvious in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Research Proposal on Cross-Cultural Implications of Management of Mass Terrorism Preparedness Assignment

Natural disasters have been a cause for worry since human first descended from the trees (and likely even before that). The twenty-first century, however, has also brought a new threat to the developed world. Though acts of terrorism had not been uncommon in certain regions in the world throughout the twentieth century, the attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, marked the first major instance of international terrorism in a major metropolis in the developed world. Though the immediate and long-term practical effects of this attack were not as pervasive or extensive as those of Hurricane Katrina, the lack of preparedness was still evident. These attacks also served to highlight the nation's true vulnerability to such attacks, and if similar or larger-scale attacks were carried out on essential elements of infrastructure, the results could be even more disastrous both in practical terms and in terms of the nation's psyche.

Complicating matters still further is the extensive and growing cultural and linguistic diversity of the United States as a whole and most of the communities within its borders, especially major metropolitan. Communication and coordination becomes far more difficult, both in maintaining an adequate sense of preparedness and in dealing with an emergency when it actually occurs. Effective emergency management requires first and foremost that preparedness efforts have been appropriately diversified and distributed to the communities that most need this information -- those that are likely to be the hardest hit in an emergency, and those that are the least likely to already be prepared. Providing information and aid during an emergency is also highly dependent on cultural issues, leading to certain specific and unique problems.

Literature Review

An examination of the existing research and recommendations regarding these issues results in a better background understanding of the problems, and allows for the extrapolation of other possible solutions and effective management strategies. First-hand data and experience is not always available or fully available, as real-world emergency situations are always viewed at least somewhat retrospectively, as there is not time during such events for careful scientific observation and adjustment. There is certainly sufficient information about community preparedness and action (or inaction) during emergency events, however, to lead to certain broad issues and recommendations for their mitigation.

One issue that must be addressed is that of community preparedness and planning for an emergency event, and especially the dissemination of such information to those parts of the community that most need it. This task is made more difficult, ironically, by some of the features that make these portions of the community the most vulnerable. According to study conducted in Los Angeles in 2004, certain minority populations and non-citizens are more likely to be worried about a terrorist attack, and are more likely to avoid large gatherings and other perceived target areas because of this.

This means they will be less likely to receive important public information for preparedness and response measures.

Language barriers can present huge problems to adequate community preparedness even in communities that are somewhat more cohesive than Los Angeles. Pandemic preparedness efforts in Minnesota have been hampered by language proficiency issues in certain communities, prompting officials in these areas to reexamine information production and dissemination procedures.

In addition to printed literature in the form of fliers and posters, public television was utilized to produce statements in the many languages spoken in various parts of the state to help warn of possible viruses during the flu season, which showed effective results in providing better information regarding preventative care.

The same techniques would likely be effective both in increasing preparedness for other widespread emergency situations and community-wide dangers and risks, and in contacting the public during and after an emergency in a way that would likely be understood and received by a larger proportion of community members.

Another report, funded jointly by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, shows how desperate the need for this type of diverse outreach is, as many Asian and Latin American immigrant groups and established communities have been identified as being at a much greater risk of non-incorporation in disaster relief plans and emergency response education.

A separate report locates the cause of this non-inclusion in the cultural isolation that many of these populations live in, as well as the limited English proficiency that exists in these groups and thus renders much official and public information useless in these communities.

A mistrust of government officials among the individuals in these communities exacerbates the issue, and makes even efforts that are more culturally and linguistically appropriate limited in their effectiveness.

An extensive survey conducted by the American Red Cross also shows some interesting findings regarding the preparedness and levels of concern among various demographics in the United States. strangely, though minority groups and low-income families are shown to be generally less well-prepared for an emergency situation, they are also the most likely to rank the importance of such preparedness as "very high."

This dichotomy becomes somewhat less strange given the finding from the same survey that the largest barrier to the lack of preparedness is a simple lack of knowledge concerning where to go and/or what to do in the event of various emergencies.

Luckily, the desire to be prepared and an acknowledgement of ignorance go hand in helping educators and community organizers make inroads into addressing this problem, as long as effective techniques are used.

Unfortunately, such techniques appear to be few and far between throughout the nation. An academic research study conducted in Maryland found that Latino and African-American communities in the state are also being under-served by information on emergency response plans and disaster preparedness education due to a lack of culturally appropriate or meaningful material.

This is in keeping with other findings from the West Coast studies and nationwide surveys, and shows that the problem of Anglo-centric information and preparedness is a major problem throughout the country. This could also be at least a partial reason that minorities both feel a greater need for preparedness and are generally less prepared at the same time; there is information that planning and responses are important, but the practical information that would lead to preparedness is not making it to these communities effectively.

Creating Greater Multicultural Preparedness

Cultural and linguistic barriers present problems before, during, and in the aftermath of emergency and disaster situations, and there are steps that can be taken to address each of these issues. Of these, the first and most necessary step is combating the current issue of a lack of emergency and disaster preparedness in culturally diverse communities. An abundance of research has shown that there is a general lack of knowledge both about what to expect in the event of a natural disaster or a terrorist attack and how to prepare as an individual, family, and community for such an event. Both of these issues need to be addressed before there can be any hope of resolving issues that arise during a crisis.

Emergency management, then, must begin long before an emergency actually occurs, especially with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. The first step in creating and implementing effective strategies and methods for educating communities about emergency response and disaster preparedness would be to coordinate with community leaders from the various areas being served. The need for culturally unique materials for each community… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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