Disaster Management: Emergency Planning
An emergency plan serves primarily to provide guidance to on-site personnel on how to act during an emergency so as to prevent injuries or fatalities, mitigate damage, and speed up the return to normalcy. It specifies, among other things, who the lead personnel will be, how decisions will be made, and what the chain of command is.
For ease of decision-making, it is important to have an emergency coordinator who takes up the lead role, and has the power to make independent on-site decisions in case crucial decisions have to be made at short notice. It is also reasonable to have a back-up coordinator on-site to take up the lead role in case the lead coordinator is in no position to conduct his duties. The lead and back-up coordinators ought to be selected based on the nature of the emergency. In the case of floods or tornadoes, which will often provide warning prior to occurrence, and where most of the work on-site is likely to involve a lot of movement - movement of large numbers of victims, relocation of specially-skilled personnel such as divers and counselors, and movement of water, light, or power equipment - the lead role ought...
All the same, transparency ought to be a key factor in the making of such decisions; in fact, independent decisions only ought to be made if the situation calls for extreme urgency, otherwise all decisions ought to be made in consultation with supervisors and other agencies assisting with the rescue operation (HHS, 2015). This is to mean that in as much as the lead coordinator has substantial authority over the rest of the personnel, he is required to maintain democracy -- the personnel working under him have the right to know what decisions were made, and more so, why they were made. This opens doors for discussion, criticism, and feedback, and prevents a situation where a lead coordinator, out of stress, makes misinformed judgments that jeopardize the lives of victims and personnel even further, resulting in severe losses.
Communication is likely to be a challenge in rescue operations involving floods and tornadoes. As such, there ought to be proper arrangements to ensure that alternate…
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