Emergency Management and Disaster


Emergency and disaster management is one of the most important aspects that determine the degree of effectiveness of a city development. Nonetheless, the level of the disaster management efficiency is determined by factors such as the structural formation, the allocation of the appropriate budget, and the installation communication system (Coppola, 2011). On the other hand, various factors are also taken into consideration whenever an emergency and disaster management strategy is implemented and improved (Sylves, 2015). First, there has to be a clearly defined structure that represents the degree of essential facilities concerning the management plan such as the operation headquarters (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2013). In fact, this is one of the most important sectors as its efficiency translates to the overall success of the disaster management program. On the other hand, a well-defined backup program is also highly important, especially in demonstrating how the management procedures can gain significant boost whenever the need arises. Apart from that, the use of the latest and the most improved levels of technology is also an important factor that is worth putting into consideration, especially in trying to create a critical emergency and disaster management program. Therefore, this paper will attempt to evaluate how the disaster and emergency management plan is implemented in different cities and localities. In fact, the evaluation will take place in a city called Chesapeake, Virginia. However, to gain the relevant information to make informed deductions, a different emergency manager at Norfolk Naval Station will be considered as the best person that can provide the much-needed guidance, especially concerning various aspects such as emergency and disaster management plan in the city. Therefore, the essay will be based on the intensive evaluation regarding the interviewing findings from the emergency manager. The choice of the emergency control manager was based on the suitability factors such the full exposure to various significant facets and cases of emergency. As a result, the interview findings will be considered sufficient and conclusive in making the overall conclusions and deductions about the management of Chesapeake City.

The Overall Mission of the Emergency Management Plan Concerning Chesapeake City

First, it is important to mention that Eugene Lambert, emergency manager located at the Norfolk Naval Station, provided all important information about Chesapeake’s emergency management. The emergency and disaster management department in Chesapeake is usually involved with creating an active support platform that can be used as the incident command post (ICS) (City of Chesapeake, 2014). Furthermore, the department has an overall responsibility with the aim of gaining as well as maintaining the situational awareness of the various emergencies that occur. The effective situation awareness concerning the Chesapeake City's emergency management plan can be created through validation of the relevant information that comes from multiple principal sources (City of Chesapeake, 2014). Furthermore, the emergency management department also aims at creating an essential commander critical information requirement. Here, the Incident Action Plan (IAP) will be the overall result that the commander will aim at achieving. Nonetheless, this is among the long-term goals and plans for the organization where the contingency plan will also be conducted. Apart from that, the emergency and disaster management department will also aim at documenting all incidences and actions carried out by the management team. The department also aims at establishing as well as maintaining well-structured disaster management system that demonstrates an excellent capability of detecting various forms of hazards that may occur within the organization (Coppola, 2011). It becomes responsible especially in shaping different situations concerning the occurrence of such hazards while, at the same time, shielding the city personnel from falling into calamities and disasters (McEntire, 2007). As a result, the department can focus on the proper sustenance of critical operations.

Briefly, the mission statement is to provide support to the incident command post and to gain and maintain situational awareness information from multiple sources within Chesapeake’s City so that a common operational picture of disaster incidents can be formed for quicker restoration reactions.

Therefore, this means that Chesapeake City has created a well-coordinated as well as planned response strategy that can provide support mechanism. Consequently, such responders can be able to save lives, restore the normality and essential services as well as protect the city properties. Here, it is worth noting that Chesapeake is a big and a busy city prone to various elements of hazard and emergency cases (City of Chesapeake, 2014). They may range from fire outbreaks from the nearby industrial areas to the frequent cases of road accidents that can occur during vehicles collisions or between the collision of vehicles and pedestrians. Therefore, the city has developed an Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) that has an overall aim of creating sufficient and well-structured frameworks that can mitigate the occurrence of the various forms of emergencies and disasters (City of Chesapeake, 2014).

The emergency management team has ended up developing different operational concepts, procedures, and principles that can mitigate the damage of properties and loss of lives. Furthermore, the concepts have also become imperative, especially in creating essential restoration programs that can be used to rebuild an institution in case of a disaster or an emergency (Haddow et al., 2013). The officials of the Chesapeake emergency management team are very much aware that an emergency can occur within the city center as well as around its environs. At this juncture, the disaster is expected to take place at various sizes, have different duration and intensity as well as to occur in various forms. Furthermore, it can happen without giving any prior warning (Sylves, 2015). The management team is very much concerned about the frequency of occurrence of these disasters as they can culminate more dangerous activities, which has the capability of affecting the normal living condition, safety as well as health of the individuals involved (Sylves, 2015). Moreover, the disaster occurrence can also cause long-term damage towards the welfare entitled to the entire city population. However, it is important noting that such adverse circumstances can only take place when the city property is severely destructed and damaged. Therefore, the city's emergency management team is aware of the feasible damages that can be inflicted by the occurrence of various forms of disasters and emergencies (Hamner, Stovall, Taha, & Brahimi, 2015). As a result, emergency management team aims at generating the most appropriate remedies that can help to minimize the adverse effects of such disasters. In the recent past, there has been an occurrence of frequent cases of accidents related to natural calamities as well as man-made factors in different cities (Coppola, 2011). Therefore, Chesapeake City emergency management team does not want to take any chances. As a result, it has strived to ensure that it is well and adequately prepared to deal with emergencies such as the collapse of the buildings caused by earthquakes, frequent fire outbreaks, and manifestation of destructive flooding.

The Development of the Emergency and Disaster Operation Structures

Chesapeake City, Virginia uses a widely known management system called NIMS (National Incident Management System). Under this system, the management team makes sure that specific training, operation concepts, and formats concerning the control of the disaster occurrence are achieved. Furthermore, the Incident Command System (ICS) structure is also used as another platform in responding to various emergency operations. Here, the Emergency Operation Centers have different functional positions of C-flop in the form of ICS structures. In such instances, the Emergency Support Functions (ESF) are deemed as the perfect platform that can be used to assign positions to different top professionals in case of a disaster occurrence. Here, this is considered a part of the larger response that the emergency management team can induce.

First, Chesapeake City has an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) that acts as the central point in disseminating all plans and procedures concerning the mitigation of emergencies and disasters. The main purpose of the EOP is to provide a platform to the city's emergency management team to evaluate the encountered challenges. Apart from that, the team is also assigned the overall responsibility for generating appropriate remedies regarding various fields and mission areas. However, the necessary skills and the decisions, goals, objectives as well as final actions are some of the most important facets that determine the general effectiveness of the emergency management plan (Crowe, 2012). Furthermore, the EOP will be reviewed on an annual basis primarily at the end of March. Some of the major events that will be considered when evaluating EOOP include the identification of the major accident that has occurred and operational resources changes. Here, EOP is based on the fact that Chesapeake is a big city that is often regarded as a beehive of activities (City of Chesapeake, 2014). One of the busiest sectors is the transportation segment. Therefore, a year rarely ends without fatal accidents, especially involving a vehicle and another or a vehicle and a pedestrian. On the other hand, one should mention that such services and aspects as the organizations, policies, equipment used, and personnel keep on changing. Therefore, the emergency management team is forced to keep on reviewing its earlier plan to ensure that the services provided conform to the current status. For instance, the disaster management agency now uses the Incident Command Radio Interface (ICRI) instead of the 800 MHz. Therefore, this is a paramount observation that must be captured during the annual reviewing process to make sure that the procedures and the equipment used are sound and relevant according to the time and period they are being used. Apart from that, the disaster management team also keeps on updating the planning standards and guidance concerning the emergency plan. Therefore, these amendments are based on the enactment of laws after they have been completely altered or changed.

NIMS or the National Incident Management System is another important management tool that has been adopted by the Chesapeake City's emergency management team. NIMS is concerned with creation of specific formats and training as well as concepts that the city tries to achieve as a way of improving the overall emergency planning process. At this point, the city has been able to make significant strides, especially concerning the process of realigning the emergency management equipment to make sure they conform to the latest technology (Hunter, 2009). In fact, NIMS is considered a crucial component that determines the level of interoperability that exists between the Commonwealth partners and Chesapeake City. Furthermore, the city has been able to develop an exercise and training program that runs for three years. It is believed that the program will be able to provide a good and more elaborative platform that can improve the level of service delivery with the City of Chesapeake.

Therefore, the city has decided to stick by the ICS and the NIMS in a case of an emergency occurrence. This means that the disaster management team becomes more prepared in case of a disaster occurrence. For instance, in case of the destruction of properties mainly by natural calamities such as hurricanes and heavy tornados, the disaster management team can act swiftly not only to safeguard the lives but also these properties from further destruction (Crowe, 2012). Such natural calamities may occur expectedly or non-expectedly and whenever they take place, multifaceted damages are to be expected within the locale and the surrounding (Hunter, 2009). Therefore, the city's emergency management team knows that such natural calamities may cause enormous damage of properties as well as loss of lives in case nothing is done at all. However, it is evident that such calamities are out of human control and the only remedy the team can offer is a mitigation method. In this case, they ease the adverse effects through the application of the State Emergency Response Plans (City of Chesapeake, 2014). Here, there is use of regulated facilities and power plants in preparation for countering any form of the hazard that may develop along the way. Indeed, the council of Chesapeake City has made significant strides in the enactment and bolstering the emergency management system in the entire Virginia State. Therefore, this has made is to be highly recognized as a city that values the lives and properties of its residents even as the local authorities strive for generating revenue from the residents.

The Communication System and Its Practices Endowed by the Emergency Management

The Chesapeake City emergency management team uses the Enterprise Land Mobile Radio (ELMR) to carry out most of its communications, especially during the cases of an emergency. However, the most impressive special attribute is that they are digitally encrypted to strengthen the level of communication. Thus, this means that the contemporary level and mode of communication are enhanced, as they require constant improvement. In fact, the agency contemplates on using online modes of communication, especially about the Navy Emergency Response Management System (NERMS). This may include aspects such as the CAD that can act as the dispatchers as well as the E-911. However, one of the most conspicuous phenomena with the Chesapeake City's emergency management team does not use the 800 MHz radios (City of Chesapeake, 2014). In fact, the team does not make use of the radio at all as it considered it to be out of touch with the target audience, having a minimal impact on the increase of the efficiency of the service delivery. As a result, the management team relies on the Incident Command Radio Interface (ICRI) in fulfilling most of its communication procedures. It is all about using a box that has an option for initiating communication through a plugging procedure. The box acts as a radio and, as such, it can be used a radio to bolster the process of inter-organizational communication within the city for faster services delivery in case of an emergency.

The ICRI becomes centrifugal, especially in the process of hastening the communication process in case of an emergency. For instance, it can be used to create efficient jurisdiction response whenever and accident seems as an emergency and requires adequate and thorough attention. As such, the emergency management team will require an instant team whenever the emergency an urgent disaster has struck the city. A good example whether such service is deemed crucial is observed during the case of a fire outbreak. In most cases, the emergency team will require coordinating all players involved as mitigation of such a tragedy requires the collective responsibility of all. Furthermore, in the case of an accident occurrence, the emergency team will also be compelled to act swiftly, which will prevent the loss of more lives Here, the ICRI is used as the perfect and the most convenient mode of communication between various inter-state parties such as the public health officers and nurses.

In fact, to indicate the importance and the popularity of the ICRI, it is estimated that more than 100 individuals in Chesapeake City have enrolled for the ICS courses. The city's workers composed highest percentage as each class has 300-400 students. Apart from that, the City has also been very active improving the National Incident Command System (NIMS) standards. Indeed, this is considered one of the most important components that define the interoperability that exists between the Commonwealth, various Federal partners, and the city itself. As a result, the NIMS will strength the process of communication between these important partners, especially in the case of urgency of an emergency occurrence. Therefore, in case of a disaster such as flooding, each member will be able to play an active part, a process that that only is enhanced through an installation of the proper communication procedure. Contrarily, the city is about to launch a training program that will run for the next three years. The sole purpose of such a training is to bolster the whole process of coordination and communication throughout the process of managing a disaster.

Budgetary Allocation of the Disaster Management Program

The city's budgetary allocations and the funding process are controlled by the regional manager in charge of the disaster management. One should note that any supply can either be approved or disapproved, depending in the evaluation of the ground situation. The approval process becomes more complicated during the establishment of new equipment (City of Chesapeake, 2014). There must be an approval process to ensure all the specifications are met. As such, it would be feasible to place such items under the sustainable repair contract. Furthermore, the emergency team also aims at adhering to some financial rules such as the compensation and reimbursement procedures. For instance, the council is ready to provide compensation to anyone injured or who dies while in the line of duty to the state. Contrarily, a party is supposed to be reimbursed for any cost it incurs when providing aid to the affected parties. Therefore, it is clear that certain rules govern the budgetary allocation and use of funds.