Emergency management definition

This is an emergency management role that entails attempting to lessen the impact of disasters. Mitigation tries to reduce the number of people killed and property destroyed. Because natural catastrophes can occur at any time, it is necessary to assess the risk and mitigate it; this decreases the mortality of the effects (Crowe, 2012). Without mitigation, the safety of our community, as well as individual self-reliance and financial stability, is compromised. To properly conduct out mitigation, it is necessary to first identify the risks and then make a decision to prioritize the community's long-term well-being. Disasters requiring federal assistance keep increasing each year, and they can happen at any place anytime. The impact and consequences of these disasters are hard to predict. Mitigation is, therefore, necessary to help reduce the incidence of the natural disasters which range from floods to earthquakes. Mitigation can contribute to breaking the disaster cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage, through proper risk analysis, risk reduction and risk insurance communities can make mitigation decisions before, during, and even after the occurrence of natural disasters. Understanding the impacts of natural disasters entirely help in effectively reducing the effects of the hazard. Through regulations, land use, local ordinances, building practices and mitigation projects the long-term risks and effects of the hazards are reduced significantly or eliminated altogether (Jerolleman & Kiefer, 2013).

While mitigation focuses on actions that minimize the amount of harm which takes place when an event occurs, preparedness refers to the things done so that individual can respond effectively when something happens. For example having well organized trained and equipped fire and law enforcement personnel, having a well-designed disaster response plan and conduct regular training and drills for emergency response.

Preparedness can be done at several different levels, the national level, state, and even at a household level. At a household level, preparedness may involve activities such as having a relocation plan or having a go-kit that has the family valuables. Mitigation and preparedness both help communities and individuals therein have better outcomes in times of disasters and emergencies. Recovering from a catastrophe which was least expected may take months or even years, emergency preparedness is therefore essential for situations (Sharifian, Ghomian, Khodadadizadeh, & Jahangiri, 2016). This is because natural disasters are unpredictable at times. Advance preparedness to disasters such as fires, floods and hurricanes ensures that less damage and deaths will be recorded. Preparedness helps save time through quick actions in times of emergencies. This reduces chaos and panic. Property and assets can be salvaged and more lives are saved. Inbuilt alarms for instance can help notify individuals when disaster strikes in a neighborhood, this helps save lives and property since evacuations can be done before any more damage is encountered. Insuring businesses and assets is also a form of preparedness but only safeguards the monetary value of whatever is insured and therefore more needs to be done in preparation for calamities since there is need to save lives and keep health when disaster strikes.

Mitigations particularly valuable since it helps create safer communities by reducing property loss and damages well as significantly reduce the loss of life. This saves a lot of resources which can be put into other use. Post-disaster disruptions are kept to a minimum and individuals and the society recover more rapidly. For example homeowners with flood insurance are paid out immediately for the loss and therefore regain their normal lives bask faster. Mitigation therefore lessens the financial impact of a disaster on an individual and the society. Research shows that each dollar spent in mitigation activities saves an average of around four dollars, this is a real saving for the economy.

Mitigation plans are paramount in reducing the societal loss from both natural and human caused disasters. Although the occurrence of disasters cannot be prevented, diligent mitigation planning has proved to be a valuable tool in reducing the losses as well as enhancing the local community resilience (Li & Landry, 2012). Mitigation however is faced with several constraints in the implementation. Availability of resources, level of sophistication and political complexities are some of the challenges that constraint mitigation planning. Both the local and federal government should work together to ensure that disaster mitigation strategies are put in place. This involves allocation of sufficient funds to carry out the mitigation planning. The level of sophistication is also constraint when doing mitigation planning; there should be investment in technologically advanced equipment that help in the mitigation of the effects of disasters when they strike (Deflem, 2012). Lack of these will affect the success of the mitigation strategies. The role of the government can at time work to constraint the mitigations success. Complexities and bureaucracies my hinder the implementation of policies which may concern land use, standards of buildings which affect the impact of disasters, the government should therefore be devoted to ensuring that they remove some of the hurdles so as to successfully implement mitigation strategies.

The best practices portfolio should be used to counter the constraints to fully achieve the goal of mitigation. This is a collection of activities ideas projects and potential sources of funds that can help reduce the impact of disasters. Sharing first-hand experience about disaster and damages helps emphasize the importance of life-saving mitigation (Deflem, 2012). Narrations focusing on mitigation projects implemented after disasters encourage individuals and communities in the prevention of future losses from similar disasters

Federal emergency management agency.

This is an agency located in the department of homeland security tasked with coordinating the response of the federal government to disasters which occur naturally or through human activities. The agency is responsible for providing both long-term and immediate assistance to individuals, local and state governments. Its mission is to assist in times of crisis.

FEMA was founded in 1979 by President Carter’s executive order merging several disasters related responsibilities. The two decades ending had seen the nation rocked by natural disasters that devastated many. These disasters which occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s required federal government’s assistance. In 1962hurricane Carla struck, hurricane Betsy in 1965 Camille in 1969and Hurricane Agnes in 1972 (Morris, 2007). In 1964 the Alaskan earthquake hit and southern California was rocked by the San Fernando earthquake in 1971. These events concentrated focus on natural disasters legislation. In 1968 new flood protection was offered to home owners by the national flood insurance act and the process of presidential disaster declarations was firmly established through the disaster relief act of 1974. The then president, Richard Nixon shifted the federal disaster relief authority from the white house to the department of housing and urban development, a move which was criticized by the nation’s governors. Nixon further abolished the office of civil defense and created the defense civil preparedness agency within the department of defense.

A report by the displeased governors who were unhappy about the decentralized approach used in disaster management recommended a more comprehensive approach to managing disasters which would include preparedness and response, mitigation of hazards before disasters and preparations for long-term recovery (Sharma, 2013). In 1979 President Carter formed FEMA by merging all the separate agencies that dealt with disasters management. Some of the merged organs include the federal insurance administration, the general services administration, the national fire prevention and control administration, the federal disaster assistance administration and the national weather service community preparedness program.

Initially, federal government involvement in disaster had been limited to the activities of the army which provided relief in times of major catastrophes. Disasters were the responsibility of local and state governments affected. Even now not unless a disaster is truly beyond a state’s capabilities state and local governments should handle them. Federal involvement is limited to situations where it has unique capabilities to offer. The increased number of disaster, therefore, necessitated the formation of FEMA since the handling of such was beyond the capabilities of the state. There was a need to have a body specifically tasked with disaster management. This would see the economy suffer less due to increased preparedness and mitigation of hazards as well as recovery plans. There would be less loss of life and destruction of property with FEMA.

Previously, when disaster such as a hurricane of floods struck, there were over 100 federal agencies who were collectively and actively involved in the relief efforts. Having so many independent agencies act in time of crisis led to a lot of confusion due to lack of coordination amongst them. The results were only more losses and wastage of resources. There was a growing recognition need for a centralized body which would manage all the emergencies. This was a reason behind the formation of FEMA. With a single agency tasked to handle disasters, there is no room for confusion since the personnel under the right leadership know exactly what is expected of them. Such an agency would help coordinate the federal government’s involvement in disaster management activities such as preparation, prevention, mitigation of hazards and the recovery from the disaster (Sharma, 2013).

The state governors who called for the creation of FEMA had seen the challenges the state officials faced while trying to respond to disasters. They did not have the capacity and the proper organization to face the string of disastrous hurricanes and earthquakes that rocked different parts of the nation. Insubordination and the uncoordinated efforts of the many agencies did not give the best results. There was need therefore to restructure a centralized unit which would specifically deal with disaster management. This would ensure enough preparedness towards any catastrophe that could face the nation and subsequently carry out hazard mitigation strategies both before and after the occurrence of disasters. This would reduce loses both of property and lives. The need for the federal government to assist the state and local governments in disaster management also necessitated the formation of FEMA.

FEMA was formed to make federal disaster response more effective (Sharma, 2013). This was to supplement the state and local governments in disaster handling. However, this agency continues to be hampered by management communication and authority issues which have seen it perform below par in its response to some disasters that has struck different states


Crowe, A. (2012). Disasters 2.0 (1st ed.). Hoboken: CRC Press.

Deflem, M. (2012). Disasters, Hazards, and Law (1st ed.). Bradford: Emerald Group Pub.

Jerolleman, A. & Kiefer, J. (2013). Natural hazard mitigation (1st ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Li, J. & Landry, C. (2012). Community flood hazard mitigation and the community rating system of national flood insurance program (1st ed.). [Greenville, N.C.]: East Carolina University.

Morris, N. (2007). Inside hurricanes and tornadoes (1st ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens.

Sharifian, S., Ghomian, Z., Khodadadizadeh, A., & Jahangiri, K. (2016). Assessment of Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness. Trauma Monthly, inpress(inpress). http://dx.doi.org/10.5812/traumamon.41082

Sharma, V. (2013). Disaster management (1st ed.). New Delhi: Scientific International Pvt. Ltd.

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