A town is faced with a sudden flooding disaster that necessitates saving a factory where almost everyone works or a nursing home. There is insufficient time to save both. How do you decide which takes priority?
Emergency managers can approach an emergency or disaster from several angles, or “strategies.” The aim of each of these strategies is to save lives, reduce suffering, and prevent or reduce damage to property to the extent possible. Canton distinguishes between three types of strategies: (1) mitigation, (2) preparedness, and (3) response. These three strategies culminate in the end state of preparedness.
Mitigation strategies are measures that are long term in nature. They use risk assessments to explore opportunities to eliminate or significantly reduce the impact of a potential hazard. Mitigation strategies are proactive and preventive measures that may be difficult to implement. This is because mitigation is often expensive and many communities have limited budgets. Many governing bodies must make tough choices between projects such as rebuilding a school or building a dam. It can be tempting to put off the work until the budget improves. In some cases, there are hidden costs associated with the mitigation measure. For example, strict building codes can drive up the cost of construction, making it seem cost prohibitive. In other cases, some decision makers may even question the validity of the risk and whether the mitigation is truly needed.
The hope is that mitigation efforts will reduce impacts of incidents or even prevent them from occurring. If an incident does occur, however, a response strategy is implemented. A response strategy consists of the immediate actions to respond to an event, maintain continuity, and initiate short-term recovery.
To prepare for this Discussion, review the media Preparedness: Developing Strategies in the Learning Resources and select one of the following scenarios, which present you with a challenge or difficult choice. Think not only about why you would make your choice or decision but also about any implications for the community.
Scenario 1: A town is faced with a sudden flooding disaster that necessitates saving a factory where almost everyone works or a nursing home. There is insufficient time to save both. How do you decide which takes priority?
With these thoughts in mind:
Post a brief description of the scenario you selected. Then explain the emergency management decisions you would make and the rationale for your decisions. Finally, explain two potential implications of your decisions for the community.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and the current literature.
Canton, L. G. (2007). Emergency management: Concepts and strategies for effective programs. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Chapter 6, “Developing Strategy”
FEMA. (2008, August). Producing emergency plans
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