Categorization of disasters and their respective management and handling are numerous and unique in a certain ways. The rational and realistic management of different kinds of disasters calls for a pure understanding about various factors. Comprehension of basic causes of various disasters is vital. It follows that the application of various measures on handling and also inhibiting re-occurrence is fully dependent on the knowledge base on the subject matter. Understanding the appropriate technology is also a vital ingredient towards useful emergency management. Of greater importance is the ability of consultation and integration of proper, useful and effective planning approaches available in emergency management. Effective human resource development is important in the handling and management of emergencies. Human resources can be defined as the individual’s capability of undertaking various roles formally or informally. These performances include roles assigned by the government, private sector players, state citizens or even third-sector organizations. However there are two categories of adequacy for estimation of human resources basic necessities. One of this is the fact that they must be able to predict demand wholly for outputs and future estimates of productivity of labor inputs. The other requisite factor is the development of elements and functions of production for known job specialties or a certain integration of needed abilities. These abilities include basic work understanding or knowledge, abilities of functioning and generally skill exhibited by individuals.
Relevant knowledge, skills and abilities can be inferred from various informative sources. These attributes are then clustered under the phases of emergency management. A brief review on human behaviors in disasters literature can provide useful information. This information can be used in bringing out insights about what individuals do with and without developed skills of emergency management. It also brings to light their respective emergency handling modes with or without organization and control. Further this insight is vital in pointing out the usefulness of preparations on emergency situations. An inter-governmental approach of emergency management may prove to be the most helpful. Inter-governmental management is a recent trend with whereby the public administration perspective is reviewed through experience in the human services scope.
Studying and understanding various forms and occurrence of disasters is a vital step that can come in handy in the development of human resources in emergency management. Disasters that lead to numerous emergencies do vary in many ways including the velocity of occurrence and length of possible warning.”In general, the degree of community disorganization is inversely proportional to the length of the period of forewarning” (Siegel 107). For example, it would be difficult for an effective impromptu communication and authority centre to crop out when the period of warning is short. Factors of duration, extent of damaged area and destructive potential of various situations that consequently bring emergencies are important. For instance, when there is great impact, lack of consensus about what action to take tends to be the order in the affected area. This often leads to community stress. Moreover it becomes significantly difficult to maintain a highly integrated level of necessary actions to counter the impact. The organization and distribution of individuals with relevant skills is a crucial ingredient in the reaction and adaptation during disasters. Interdependence of appropriately distributed individuals or organizations is crucial in the coordination of their work. At some instances, organizations may have difficulty in reaching and employing decisions to personnel under unexpected conditions. This may be as a result of unexpected undertakings, poor leadership skills and abilities or even lack of previously worked out programs. In other cases, given organizations may take a different perspective on the whole issue. One such would be whereby a given organization does not take or define the involvement in the situation they have a mandate on.
A common feature in disasters and emergencies is the presence of crowds. This crowd can be classified into either mass assault or mass convergence. Mass assault could be defined as the numerous activities by core groups of people composed of family members, neighbors and even colleagues that aggressively try to rescue their own in emergency situations (Siegel 108). Though mass assault can be used to solve the immediate problem in the disaster area, it is not a proper method of emergency response as it may lead to misconcetration. Mass convergence on the other hand creates possibilities that reduce substantially the help that can be given. Mass convergence can include people, commodities and/or equipment. Presence of many people with differing goals in the crowd, such as sightseers and aid workers tends to bring about commotion (Siegel 108). Mass gatherings are notorious in stubbornly blocking the way of transportation of aid workers or those trying to positively respond to the emergency in question. Generalized statements of appeal to the mass without clear specifications often create mass convergence. Formation of effective teams of volunteers, prior to arrival of the emergency area is useful and vital in the approach of handling the emergency situation. Further this organized group of individuals is strengthened if they are from the same organization with common specific goals and are not themselves victims of the disaster in place.
“According to Brovillette and Quarantelli, bureaucracies react differently to disasters” (Siegel 108). Generally, there are four internal influencers that directly affect organizations adaptations to stress. The nature of demands perceived by organizations is one of them. Secondly, the particular bureaucratic structure is vital, especially the nature of its differentiation. A third internal influencer that affects different adaptations and reactions to stress is the emergency capability of the organization and its relevance to emergency operations. The last one involves perceptions of effectiveness of emergency response and may majorly influence the adaptation style. Additionally these authors found that the ability of the organization to respond to emergencies depended on the nature of the organizational and population relationships. Several assumptions and conclusions can be deduced from this brief literature review. One of them is the fact that planning and organizing in anticipation of disasters is a vital undertaking. This helps acquaint the individuals on various processes they are meant to undertake. The end result of this is a better handling of emergency situations that can clearly be separated from that which has not been engaged by such a group. Another assumption that can be made here is that emergency organization and training is important and should be duly applied in various organizations. This may result in the changing of structures, missions and roles of numerous individuals within the given organizations. However with the effectiveness of handling of the consequential emergency situations, these alterations are deemed worthwhile by both the organizations and the personnel involved. A third generalization is that training for actors in emergency management at different stages is extremely crucial (Siegel 108). Another generalization of the whole review is that a command and control for receiving and sending required messages in allocation of resources and establishment of control is requisite. The last generalization of the review is that it is crucial that important boundary spanning individuals’ activities in the emergency management network be developed prior to disasters.
There is need to train the general population and other individuals on emergency management. The main objective of the training is to enhance positive activity in emergency related environments. The importance of proper practices in the handling of cases of emergencies should be the focus of the trainings. Further the importance of fast actions and role delegation should be vitally imputed to trainees.
Nature of Intergovernmental and Intersectional Emergency Management
Legal responsibility and authority for natural disaster awareness and the consequential preparedness, planning, response and recovery are allocated to multiple public personnel. Under United States federalism, the core responsibility for dealing with problems of hazard exposure is allocated to the states and, through their choices, to component local government units. Therefore resting mainly upon the police power, each state is legally able to regulate a wide spectrum of activities such as development, construction and sale of land. Thus engineers in the United States Corps are the sole contractors of the major floods control works (Siegel 109). Research and findings is mainly carried out by the federal government. Further the national state is also responsible for financing of these undertakings. Numerous disasters in the past have been seen to overwhelm the capacity of the local single state. The state is challenged not only economically but also in some instances technologically. Due to this, a large number of national policies are responsive to some aspects of the management of emergencies. Therefore this has led to the development and subsequent inclusion of a mutual relationship existing between the states and the federal government.
Interdependency also exists between private and public sectors. On other levels, a third party player is involved. Natural hazards such as fires are key situations for some organizations. Ratings by insurers force up city fire protection and the cost involved through premiums charges.
Associations of private and public officials have developed model standards and codes for guiding governmental policy makers. A recent trend has it that private organizations be called upon in mass emergencies. Their imputations include supply and/of equipment and goods.
Various third sector organizations are ideally used in disasters. These organizations include the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and even other church groups that may feel the need of indulging if capable.
The idea of super disaster agency at the local level is not endorsed and is seen as impractical. In place of this, a system of cooperation and coordination rooted on proper and efficient planning and involving intergovernmental and inter-organizational consensus and requiring active coordination and communication is presented. Robert Agranoff and Valerie Lindsay have described intergovernmental management as applied to human services problem solving at the local level. Their research was a based on an examination of six (IGB) in different areas.
Most of the generated problems called for the participation by various governments and private and third sector organizations (Siegel 109).
The main purpose of IGBs was to solve specific problems rather than a tool of coordination. These problems had various dimensions which included political and technical aspects. Therefore decisions had to be made at various levels involving individuals from numerous organizations. This ensures a negotiated agreement before an IGB governing board was asked to make a conclusion on a decisive solution.
Special administrative tools were deployed to deal with the type of IGBs and jurisdiction related management problems. For example, conflicting demands on service agencies. To discard these contradictory requisites, a unified audit agreement among organizations involved was created (Siegel 109). This pattern of intergovernmental management comprised unified management actions by separate organizations.
Usually financial resources also remained in separate organizations and geographical settings, except for small amounts of money contributed to staff to operate the IGBs.
It is essential that numerous individuals are trained in the crucial advancement of their skills and abilities in emergency management. The gravity and scope of emergencies and disasters occurring in the world today are full proof of the fact that this strategy is vital. In obtaining and developing personnel for roles in future emergency management, the common but effective ways of procuring individuals can be applied.
This process includes recruitment of select persons from various organizations based on their skills, attributes and past achievements. These groups of individuals can also be selected from within the organization itself. Another procurement of Personnel Avenue would be the effective development of potential individuals through various training activities and programs. These programs may also include assignments based on newly created or adjusted ranks in the organization. The integrated emergency management system is a mode of emergency response in which interrelated entities respond simultaneously and in combined efforts when disasters strike. This vital undertaking has been positively perceived and adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Further this idea has been embodied in various programs and activities that FEMA offers and funds. Further FEMA’s Emergency Training Centre in Emmitsburg,
Maryland, offers a variety of activities, both educative and training. The vital training in the center includes fields such as suppression, fire prevention, comprehensive and effective emergency management for the state and local officials. Moreover training on policy conferences for top leadership in government level is effected (Siegel 111). There is development and training on an annual issue agenda in cooperation with the general public representing numerous organizations. These organizations are mostly solely concerned with the component of managing emergencies in proper and effective ways. The emergency training centre offers close to eighty courses in it’s catalog. This is a very vital role by the player.
In the beginning, some important literature has been broken down. The literature reviewed was on the behaviour of communities and individuals in emergency requiring situations such as disasters. The findings allowed limited assumptions about the disaster episodes. These include, The importance of training on disaster and emergency handling skills for virtually everyone, the importance of planning and organization in anticipation of emergency occurrences, the need of establishing organizations to respond to emergencies, the requirement of setting up and running an operations and/or command control centre for information and resources releases and lastly, the need to set up important boundary spanning roles. The management analogy inside the government from experience with individual service initiatives was viewed as a useful tactic of attracting the planning and management problems dominant in collective actions among different groups. All said and done, the fact remains that the training and development of human resources in emergency management is a crucial step in seeing a better and effective mode of conduction of disaster situation. It is a core obligation, especially for government to ensure adequate human resource is well trained and acquainted with this vital activity.
Siegel, Gilbert. “Human Resource Development for Emergency Management.” Public
Administration Review, 45. Special Issue: Emergency Management: A Challenge for
Public Administration (1985): 101-117. Print