EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT QUESTION
- Describe the historical evolution of emergency management in the U.S., citing important federal legislative milestones and guiding principles. Discuss how emergency management as a profession has developed. Identify and describe ethical standards for the professional emergency manager.
The History of Evaluation of Emergency Management in the USA
Emergency management is a concept dealing with risk and avoidance of the same. Risks involve a range of things and players as well. Emergency management is crucial to the security and safety of members of society. The American constitution has empowered the government to execute the responsibility of protecting people’s health and safety. Mitigating risks through emergency management measures is one way of ensuring public safety (Bullock, Haddow & Coppola, 2017). The emergency management in America has evolved significantly since the department was introduced. Thus, it is crucial to understand the historical evaluation, federal legislation, and ethical standards of practice for professional emergency managers to know the level of preparedness and concern for safety of American people by the government.
After Hampshire town was devastated by fire, a Congressional Act was passed in 1803 to provide funding to the town to manage incidental fires. It was the first time the government was getting involved in a local disaster (Trainor & Subbio, 2014). In 1930, the government gave mandate to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation together with the Bureau of Public Roads to avail disaster loans for repair and maintenance of public structures destroyed during disaster incidences (Bullock, Haddow & Coppola, 2017). In fact, it is during this time that the Tennessee Valley Authority was created to control floods and provide hydroelectric power to the region.
During the 1950-1960 period, more developments in disaster management occurred. The American government understood the potential for nuclear war that could precede the cold War Era. Thus, there was the creation of the Civil Defense Program, which proliferated across the American communities (Haddow, George, Jane, Bullock & Damon, Coppola, 2017). All American communities were required to maintain a Civil Defense Director. There were officials who represented Civil Defense in the government hierarchy.
Following the occurrences of significant disasters in 1960, John Kennedy created emergency preparedness inside the White House to deal with the increasing risks of natural disasters in the country (Haddow, George, Jane, Bullock & Damon, Coppola, 2017). The occurrences of other disasters in the decade, such as the Ash Wednesday storm, Hurricane Betsy, and Hurricane Camilla, the congress created had hoc legislation for disaster relief fund. Besides, National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 was used to create the National Insurance Program.
In 1970, the government created various emergency management functions such as the federal department agency (Haddow, George, Jane, Bullock & Damon, Coppola, 2017). The agency included defense civil preparedness agency, and the US army cops engineers responsible for flood control among others. Primarily, it was registered that more than one hundred federal agencies were involved in the risk and disaster management in the decade. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was formed as a central unit to bring order
Air Pollution Act was enacted in 1990 following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The law was essential since it created a comprehensive response and liability policies for vessels and facilities that had potential of causing oil pollution on US waters (Bullock, Haddow & Coppola, 2017). In 1992, a federal response plan was availed to provide systematic process of coordinating federal disaster response structure. It was made to mitigate the effects of any major disaster or emergencies. In 2001, FEMA activated the Federal Response Plan to be a response to serious terrorist attacks. The homeland security act was formed in 2002 following the events of the September 11, 2001 attack. The move was to protect the United States from further terrorist attacks and mitigate the effects of such actions (Phillips, 2015). In 2004, the National Response Plan was developed due to the need to implement common incident management. The feedback from stakeholders and lessons from past disasters’ management, national response framework was created in 2008. The framework was established to supplement the principles of National Response Plan. More developments in disaster management are still under discussion based on the new challenges presented by terrorism and climate change.
There have been several legislative milestones and guiding principles in risk and disaster management. For instance, The Post Katrina Emergency Reforms Act brought new insight to FEMA and replaced some agencies that had been removed previously. The Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act was established in 1990 (McEntire, David, 2015). The legislation required all higher institution of learning in the country to share information on crime status in the institutions and its surrounding. Furthermore, the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 was established to provide legal basis for FEMA operations for the state, local, and Indian tribal governments to facilitate mitigation grant assistance. The homeland security act enacted in 2002 established the department of homeland security to enhance the preventing and mitigation of the effects of serious terrorist attacks (McEntire, David, 2015). The Post Evacuation and Transportation Standards was introduced in 2006. The act ensured that state and emergency preparedness plans address the people’s immediate needs concerning safety of household pets in the case of major disasters. The Sandy Recovery Improvement act of 2013 made changes in the operations of FEMA. FEMA is currently engaged in development of implementation procedures for all new authorities.
Disaster management results to unique problems that put people in unfamiliar situations. Thus, ethical issues arise during the management of diverse and changing circumstances (Jerolleman, Alessandra, 2019). Primarily, disaster occurrence is sudden and requires timely actions. Therefore, the public officials mandated with the disaster response responsibility must rush to the scene of the disaster as fast as they can. The other issue is the distribution of limited medical resources. The priority should be accorded to beneficence and justice principles (Jerolleman, Alessandra, 2019). Informed consent is used most times in medical practice, and it poses an ethical challenge for disaster management officials. For instance, a patient may be unconscious and needs medical attention. However, informed consent has to be obtained before further medical service is conducted.
The division of labor in organization also presents ethical challenge to disaster management officials. Effort should be in place to assign labor based on expertise of every organization involved in risk and disaster management (McEntire, David, 2015). The relief institutions have special ethical obligations that influence the effectiveness of disaster management officials. That is, they have to offer adequate preparation and training forehand to adequate the officials with relevant skills to enhance effectiveness.
Risk and disaster management has been a concern for the American government following the increased disaster occurrences that destroys properties and affects human population. The government has established various steps and mitigation strategies through regulations to enhance the response and mitigation strategies (McEntire, David, 2015). Lesions and mistakes in previous disasters have influenced the legal establishment and historical evolution of on mitigation strategies. More developments on mitigation of the effects of disasters are still underway following the increased terrorist activities and the influence of climate change
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Haddow, George D., Jane A. Bullock & Damon P. Coppola. (2017). Introduction to Emergency Management, 6th Ed. Butterworth-Heinemann
Jerolleman, Alessandra., (2019). Disaster Recovery Through the Lens of Justice
McEntire, David (2015). Disaster Response and Recovery: Strategies and Tactics for Resiliency (2015). ISBN-10: 1118673026 ISBN-13: 978-1118673027
Phillips, B.D. (2015). Disaster Recovery, 2nd Ed.: Publisher: CRC Press Taylor &
Francis Group: New York. ISBN: 978-1-4665-8384-9
Trainor, J.E & Subbio, T. (eds.) (2014). Critical Issues in Disaster Science and Management: A Dialogue between Researchers and Practitioners. Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA Higher Education Program.