Saturday, September 10, 2005

Disaster Response - The Basics

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As various chattering make-up jobs on television and radio express their opinion of the job done to help the victims of Katrina, it is sadly obvious that meny don't understand how things are meant to work. Many TV anchors do not understand even the basic points, so I will mention it briefly here.

Disasters, in terms of relief, have five stages:

[] Preparation and planning

[] Pre-positioning

[] First responders and evacuation

[] Survival aid

[] Restoration and rebuilding


The first stage is critical. Every group which means to help must plan for what they will do, in advance. The people staffed, their assignment and authority, the tools and supplies provided, all need to planned ahead of time. In the case of Katrina, the basic levels of planning were at the LOCAL, STATE, and FEDERAL level. All three levels had to work to be effective.

As for pre-positioning, in the case of Hurricane Katrina, the authorities understood that the weather would reduce mobility as soon as the storm hit, so supplies and personnel had to put in place ahead of the storm, during the critical window between alert of the storm and its initial impact.

The first responders have two main duties; get people away from danger, and perform life-saving tasks. This falls again on three levels - the LOCAl authorities, who have the most people on-scene at the start and who know the terrain and conditions best; the STATE authorities, who have better equipment and supplies; and the FEDERAL authorities, who have specialized equipment for critical situations, but who must be told by local and state authorities what is needed, and where.

Survival aid is set up at aid stations, and the critical issue here is coordination between the on-scene authorities and the groups bringing aid.

And finally, federal aid in disasters after the initial rescues is generally focused on financial and administrative aid, which is much different from the short-term material needs, which are generally addressed by the on-scene local and state authorities.

People will have different views of how each group did its job, but these simple categories help illustrate what went right, what went wrong, and why.

2 comments:

alena said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!

Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',

Neil