In 2011, almost 300,000 people died in more than 300 disasters, and millions of people suffered and were affected because of it. The estimated cost of disasters during the last two decades exceeded 2 billion dollars. Earthquakes and disasters made 2011 the most expensive year in history in terms of recovery cost.
However, many countries are still not investing enough to avoid such disasters and are not taking certain actions for protecting their land. Many development representatives are still not providing proper aid to poor countries.
Disaster risk reduction should be considered to build a more sustainable and maintainable future. This requires an investment in prevention of climate-related catastrophes.
There are 5 priorities that have been identified for such actions:
- Ensure that danger reduction becomes a local and national priority
- Identify, estimate and monitor disaster risks and upgrade Red-Alert systems
- Use awareness, innovation, knowledge and education to develop a culture of security at all levels
- Reduce the basic risk factors
- Strengthen the preparation for an operative quick response and recovery, from local levels to the national levels.
Disaster management organizations aren’t the only ones responsible for such harsh climate-related events, but citizens and political leaders are also responsible for these disasters. All of them can reduce the risk just by getting empowered to make decisions.
What is Emergency Planning? What is Disaster Preparedness and how does Risk Reduction Management work?
Emergency planning can be explained as the process of preparing methodically for future eventualities, including major disasters and incidents. The preservation of public security, limitation of injury and proficiency of life-saving assets are some of the important aims of reducing risks. Emergency planning is more like a procedure than a result — especially as the planning method itself needs to be modernized time-to-time as situations change.
The goal of disaster preparedness is to reduce the effects of a disaster on population and to plot a synchronized strategy that decreases the waste of time, resources and efforts. Disaster preparedness has the potential of saving the maximum number of lives and properties during a disaster — it aims to bring back the harmed population back to normal routine as quickly as possible. On the one hand, in order to sustain development activities, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) program must reduce disaster risk. Unreliable development policies will increase losses and risks of disasters. Therefore, DRR includes every part of society, government, professional and private sector.
Disaster managers and volunteers cooperate with emergency managers, local governments and other charitable organizations to provide aid and save lives. The chaotic and deadly result of Hurricane Katrina reminds people about the importance of collaboration and coordination.
Disaster Risk Reduction is a wide term that includes everything we do to minimize or prevent the damage caused by natural climate-related hazards, such as floods, earthquakes, droughts and storms. Raising funds for disaster risk reduction save lives, not just after the disaster happens, but even during a calamity. Homeland security degree supports a wide range of disaster risk reduction activities, such as:
- Early Alert/Warning systems alert people before a volcano breaks out or tsunami hits, giving them time to escape the red-zone
- Analysis of hazards can help the communities to plan where to build and how to build
- Formation and construction of buildings in a way to survive damage
- Skilled responders can instantly rescue injured and trapped people
The United States Presidential Policy Directive outlines emergency preparedness and organization efforts using 5 dependent mission zones, i.e. Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery.
Prevention means the abilities required to evade, daunt or stop an impending crime or endangered catastrophic incident. Prevention is an act that prevents an expected or an actual incident from occurring.
Protection is the capability to protect something from getting harmed by an artificial or natural disaster. It focuses on current activities that protect lives and properties. Few example are:
- Storm shelters
- Security valuations/safety checks
- Physical security
- Security recruitment
Mitigation is considered as a necessary ability to remove or minimize the loss of property and life injury by decreasing the impact of an incident or emergency. We can define mitigation as reducing the probability of threats and hazards that can happen. Few examples are:
- Emergency tactics
- Site plotting
Response is also required to calm an incident once it has already occurred or is about to happen inevitably. It establishes a harmless and secure environment; saves lives, resources and property; and enable the conversion to recovery. Example Response Strategies:
- Campus/Site safety teams
- Responsive team
Recovery means the important abilities to contribute in restoring the usual operations after an emergency or incident. A few examples of recovery strategies are:
- Mental health strategies
- Family reunion plans
- Continuation of Business
Emergency management or planning is the process that summaries the actions that are important to achieve the 5 inter-dependent missions of preparedness. Emergency strategies demonstrate an organization’s commitment to preparedness and safety. Emergencies can’t always be avoided, and all-natural disasters emergency plans offer the finest opportunities to prevent damage, protect property and people, reduce the number of injuries, respond effectively and recover from an incident.
Emergency management or risk reduction management is a key to reduce loss of lives, injuries and damage from natural disasters. People must be aware and prepared of what hazards they can face in their own societies. They must know in advance what exact preparations to make before an incident, what to do during a storm, flood, earthquake, fire or other disasters, and what actions to take after its consequences. We must learn and share the safety precautions to avoid losses from such disasters.