You have been assigned by the City Manager to develop an Emergency Management Plan for the city. Although you have experience in emergency response this is the first time that you are involved in the planning process. You read that effective emergency planning begins with the following:
- Defining an emergency in terms relevant to the organization doing the planning.
- Establishing an organization with specific tasks to function immediately before, during, and after an emergency.
- Establishing a method for utilizing resources and for obtaining additional resources during the emergency.
- Providing a recognizable means of moving from normal operations into and out of the emergency mode of operation.
Although the above steps to develop an effective emergency plan appear to be reasonable and necessary, you have doubts about which item is most important in the initial planning stages. You agree that defining an emergency in terms relevant to the city is important; however, you believe that the city already has an organization with specific tasks to perform immediately before, during, and after an emergency. That organization is the city’s fire department.
Question 1: Do you concur with the opinion that the city’s fire department should be the lead organization for disaster management in a typical city in the United States? State your position and justify it in terms of authority, responsibility, and the organizational position the fire department must assume in order to be effective.
Question 2: Which of the above stated steps to develop an effective emergency plan do you believe would be well outside of the scope of duties assigned to the fire department? Justify your response.
Regardless of the type of crisis, there are a series of common requirements that must be taken into account for an organization to be successful when a critical incident occurs. These include:
- Deciding policy
- Assessing threat
- Identifying resources
- Selecting crisis team personnel
- Locating the crisis management center
- Equipping the crisis center
- Training crisis team personnel
- Testing contingency plans and emergency procedures
The city’s fire chief recently appeared before city council and presented a strong recommendation that a specific organization with a well-defined line of authority for planning, mitigating, and responding to emergencies and disasters be established. The fire chief justified this position with the above stated common requirements that must be considered for an organization to be successful when an emergency occurs.
Question 3: Which of the above stated requirements should involve participation and approval well beyond the authority usually granted to a department head such as the fire chief? Justify your response.
Question 4: Which of the above stated requirements do you consider to be critical to the effective development and implementation of a disaster/emergency planning and coordination program/unit in the city? Which of the above stated requirements do you consider to be rather unimportant or insignificant, if any, to the success and effectiveness of the city’s Emergency Management Plan? Justify your response to both questions.