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After a man-made or natural catastrophe or disaster, the government, government agencies, NGOs, corporate organizations and other victims take certain actions, processes, policies, strategies and activities in their attempt to regain their normalcy1. Enormous destruction and challenges are meted on the involved parties. As such, a collaborative approach is required for maximum attention to be directed at the recovery process.
Among the objectives of a recovery process after a disaster include infrastructure, health and environmental restoration. For any nature or type of a disaster, all parties should be involved in handling the aftermath to enhance a collaborative approach which minimizes the recovery duration. Unfortunately, the attention, materials, time, human and financial resources that are allocated to disaster management, emergency preparedness as well as disaster recovery are insufficient2. This has caused suffering to human beings, the environment and animals.
Therefore, an efficient and all-inclusive roadmap should be suggested and implemented as a way of improving disaster recovery within the country. With proper implementation of such steps, the process of recovering after a disaster will be efficient with great minimization of the effects of catastrophic events.
Buchanan, Sally, Emergency Preparedness. From Paul Banks and Roberta Pilette: Preservation Issues and Planning. (Chicago: American Library Association, 2000) 165.
2 Buchanan, Sally, Emergency Preparedness. From Paul Banks and Roberta Pilette: Preservation Issues and Planning. (Chicago: American Library Association, 2000) 165.
The focus of this paper is on a roadmap that can be used during disaster recovery, how it can be implemented and how suffering can be reduced among the involved parties.
In the United States, allocation of appropriate equipment, material, time, financial as well as human resources can be a strategy that will enhance efficiency in disaster recovery. In addition to requiring government’s paper work and policy, this will also call for commitment and good will to enhance its efficient implementation.
The aim of a disaster recovery roadmap is to improve and to increase communication, collaboration, cooperation and coordination among the distinct parties that are involved in a process of disaster recovery. These objectives are achievable when the involved parties actively participate in the entire approach that addresses the unmet needs and existing gaps in the recovery plan and policy. The targets of most roadmap policies in a country are two major and vital parties that ensure efficient execution of the recovery plan.
First, the involved nonprofit organization can employ the policies of the roadmap to expand their collaboration and activities with government foundations and agencies that actively participate in the recovery process. Secondly, the document of the roadmap policy is vital to philanthropic foundations, donors in the private sector and government agencies that are interested in assisting humanitarian and nonprofit organizations such as the Red Cross as they participate in the recovery procedures in terms of disaster preparedness, awareness, response and recovery3.
3 Judith, Forston. Disaster Planning and Recovery : A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians and Archivists. (New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2002) 85
A vital part of an initiative or roadmap to disaster recovery is hastening the restoration or recovery of the damaged infrastructural, health, environmental and physical systems within the affected places. The process should be efficient, smooth and collaborative and accomplished within the shortest time possible in order to reduce suffering of the affected parties. More emphasis is put on the business continuity in the contemporary world. However, this ought to be reversed because normalization and continuation of life, health and the general welfare is more important.
When a disaster occurs, the government seems biased in the recovery and restoration process because it tends to favor the business community. As such, this approach treats the environment, humans’ welfare as well as private affairs as the secondary targets. The government appears to be interested more in the business community. Additionally, a more cost-effective and holistic approach is recommended for disaster recovery.
With the adoption of such an approach, recovery procedures, activities and processes are done in an efficient and more coordinated methodology. This saves properties and lives within a short time. Some of the suggested components of a policy for disaster recovery which covers vital elements of any policy in a comprehensive way are discussed below.
In any scenario of a disaster, recovery measures should be comprehensive in order to include disaster awareness, recovery and response in appropriate magnitude. As discussed earlier, these measures ought to be neutral and holistic in any disaster.
4 George, Cunha. Disaster Planning and a Guide to Recovery Resources. In : “Library Technology Reports”, 2002, 2(3): 533-624.
5George, Cunha. Disaster Planning and a Guide to Recovery Resources. In : “Library Technology Reports”, 2002, 2(3): 533-624.
They should not be selective of the recovery and response efforts. Mechanisms of reducing and eliminating disaster risks and threats ought to be established before the effects of the catastrophic elements occur. In every recovery process, a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) serves as the right strategy for detailing different components that ought to be considered, the involved personnel and manual procedures for coordinating the recovery process5.
It is important to note that before the adoption of the control measures, the existing programs for disaster awareness should be considered. This helps in preventing disaster occurrence while reducing the effects of a disaster significantly. Some of the elements of control measures include preventative controls or measures that prevent the occurrence of disasters, detective measures that identify and discover disasters before their occurrence, as well as corrective measures that correct the destruction while restoring the system6.
In a disaster recovery procedure, the essence of strategies can never be overemphasized when it comes to considering damages and losses that have resulted from the worst disasters that have occurred within the country. The suggested and applied strategies for disaster recovery ought to include the ability to respond to services and life interruptions efficiently and effectively as their core objective. The disaster’s nature should guide the strategies so that there can be minimal property destruction and life’s losses. This will also minimize the ecosystems’ destruction.
6Ian, Jenkin. Disaster Planning and Preparedness : An Outline Disaster Control Plan. (Boston Spa : British Library, 2007) 112
7 Karanasios, S. New and Emergent ICTs and Climate Change in Developing Countries. (Manchester: Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester, 2011).
First, all preparations and plans should be developed and put in place to minimize losses and to ensure restoration of normalcy while enhancing continuity. This should be the initial phase in a strategy for disaster recovery.
In a DR process, the initial action should have impact on the analysis that considers the possible effects that a disaster has. The scope and boundaries of a continuity plan should guide the DR plan. The limitation procedures and plan’s boundaries ought to have a clear demarcation for guiding the procedures for recovery. Lastly, strategies for disaster recovery ought to incorporate a proper audit of the assets of all stakeholders more so for purposes of compensation.
Essentially, a DR plan ought to consider and propose the best way of dealing with various categories of disasters including terrorist acts where mass destruction weapons are used, natural disasters that include flood, storms, fire, power failures and outages as well as earthquakes7. Additionally Business Impact Analysis (BIA) should be included in a DR plan to assess the effects of a disaster on a business, organization and the environment.
The analysis ought to include different categories of losses such financial losses and less tangible losses that include human resources and vital shareholder liaison. Importantly, the effect of every event as well as the magnitude of its interruptions ought to be ascertained to help in determining the possible scenario to be expected if they occur in the future and the appropriate recovery procedure8.
Planning and implementing different types of services ought to be done immediately in the event of a disaster. This entails short-term measures especially measures that focus on saving properties and lives. The intention of short term measures is to reduce the effects of the disaster which is not the case of a holistic plan for disaster recovery which can take longer. In most cases, a holistic plan may be ineffective because of the logistical complications of a recovery process.
These actions and services include determining the available options, business audit, developing the DR plan, testing the DR plan, analyzing costs and benefits, impact analysis, implementing the DR plan and risk assessment. For operations to run effectively, these elements should be coordinated harmoniously. However, these procedures are done properly when the discussed DR policy considers the essential components9.
The country has several plans for cultural, socioeconomic and political empowerment and growth. Similarly, it ought to have a recovery and continuity plan whose aim should be to address different risks as well as recovery needs. Therefore, the continuity or DR plan of a country should be established to reduce the risk of exposure to any unexpected disaster and to enhance response to the disruptions of important functions, services and operations. This calls for thorough analysis as well as involvement of the active stakeholders during the formulation process and the implementation of the plan. As such, a discovery plan should include different factors that are integral to the continuity and recovery process.
They include systems’ capacity and performance management, vulnerabilities, system backups, redundancy, threats, failover, internal systems’ disruptions that include environmental and telecommunication systems10.
8Karanasios, S. New and Emergent ICTs and Climate Change in Developing Countries. (Manchester: Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester, 2011).
9Miriam, Kahn. Disaster Response and Prevention for Computers and Data. (Columbus : MBK Consulting, 2004) 34
The proposed plan for disaster recovery comprises of core components that include a policy for disaster recovery, sound continuity, impact analysis, operations classification, criticality analysis, a plan for stringent continuity, procedures for disaster recover, awareness, training, testing as well as continued monitoring.
With proper implementation and coordination of such measures, the impacts of a disaster are reduced significantly. Similarly, with proper documentation of the flow of the recovery measures, coordination and implementation of the plan becomes easier in the event of a disaster. For instance, such measures may have helped in the reduction of the effects of various disasters in the US including the Katrina hurricanes and the September 11 bombings.
Risk assessment whose aim is to ascertain the damage’s extent before response and recovery plans start should be the first step in developing a plan for emergency response. Risk assessment facilitates the identification of emergencies or risks while empowering the concerned parties to comprehend a possible disaster. This is a vital process because it helps in saving properties and lives that can be damaged when there are no such plans in place.
As such, resources that include equipment, humanitarian aid, materials and human labor are determined and made available immediately or before the disaster occurs12. This organization and planning has been used in different efforts that are aimed at responding to disasters especially during the event of the September 11th which awakened the humanitarian organizations and government agencies in regards to the way they handle disaster response and recovery procedures. Performance objectives ought to be clarified.
A consistent plan should also be prepared. The plan should be established before the occurrence of a disaster with past experiences of disaster scenarios guiding the experts. The parties concerned should revisit the past disasters to evaluate recovery and response procedures employed to come up with a holistic and adequate recovery plan. It is advisable for every institution and facility to establish and implement a good emergency response strategy as way of protecting employees, visitors and clients in their properties.
The government ought to ensure that all stakeholders adhere to these guidelines. Among the strategic facilities that homes and individuals ought to be conversant with include drills or evacuation, tornadoes and hurricanes shelters and lockdown. Preventative measures ought to be emphasized. The government ought to ensure that all private and public entities follow these measures always without exemptions.
A good emergency plan ought to emphasize human life’s preservation, safety, incident’s stabilization and life’s continuity regardless of the nature of the facility or disaster. All preventive, response as well as recovery policies should have these vital elements.
The entire process of preparing, formulating and implementing a DR plan should involve the participation of all stakeholders. This enhances responsibility among the stakeholders when a disaster occurs. Human, financial, material, equipment, humanitarian and financial resources ought to be made available in adequate amounts13.
12 Federal Emergency Management Agency “Emergency Response Plan.” Retrieved on October, 18, 2013 from http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/emergency
This ensures proper coordination of the disaster preparedness as well as response without the disruptions that result from the lack of sufficient resources during the process of disaster recovery. It is important to note that preparedness is a must-have for mitigation purposes in a good emergency plan.
It should also be noted that it is not solely the responsibility of the government to ensure mitigation measures. Instead, it is a collective and holistic duty of everybody. As such, all parties should be involved in the preparation of recovery and control measures irrespective of the nature of their duties. There are no specific regions or areas that are preferred by disasters. Therefore, response, prevention and recovery ought to be the responsibilities of the entire community.
13 Federal Emergency Management Agency “Emergency Response Plan.” Retrieved on October, 18, 2013 from http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/emergency
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Buchanan, Sally, Emergency Preparedness. From Paul Banks and Roberta Pilette: Preservation Issues and Planning. (Chicago: American Library Association, 2000) 165.
Cunha, George. Disaster Planning and a Guide to Recovery Resources. In : “Library Technology Reports”, 2002, 2(3): 533-624.
Federal Emergency Management Agency “Emergency Response Plan.” Retrieved on October, 18, 2013 from http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/emergency
Forston, Judith. Disaster Planning and Recovery : A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians and Archivists. (New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2002) 85
Jenkin, Ian. Disaster Planning and Preparedness : An Outline Disaster Control Plan. (Boston Spa : British Library, 2007) 112
Kahn, Miriam. Disaster Response and Prevention for Computers and Data. (Columbus : MBK Consulting, 2004) 34
Karanasios, S. New and Emergent ICTs and Climate Change in Developing Countries. (Manchester: Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester, 2011).
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