Download this article in Adobe Acrobat Reader
Disaster management, or Emergency Management, can be defined as an organized yet multi-tiered structure of trained personnel tasked with the challenge of preparing for, and dealing with disasters and the short term effects. Disaster management does not start upon the happening of a disaster, but rather much further ahead of a disaster, if it is to be effectively managed.
FEMA, working directly under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for leading Emergency Management at all levels of emergency response. FEMA is also responsible for setting up parameters and guidelines in which those responders will operate, as well as educational processes.
The idea of managing an emergency is to do so at the most basic level. It would simply not be efficient or successful for emergencies to be handled by top tiered organizations within the framework of emergency responses.
Emergency Management first starts with the sole recognition of an emergency. It is then determined at what extent the emergency will have an impact, and what resources will be needed to properly handle the event. In most cases, emergencies can be sufficiently managed within the simple network of local responders, consisting of fire, medical, and law enforcement personnel. However, when an event occurs that stands to surpass the available resources of a local system or region, there are protocols in place to start a chained response to fill the needs of those involved.
The basic structure of a successful Emergency Management effort includes:
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was created and set up to be a template for how an emergency response should be managed. Since it is now mandatory for all professional responders to be trained in how the NIMS system is to work, those responding to an emergency can now have a firm grasp on the hierarchy of a command structure, and how to operate within that structure.