Disaster Planning and Preparation – Poisoning, Toxicology&Environmental Health Example

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"Disaster Planning and Preparation" is a useful example of a paper on poisoning, toxicology, and environmental health. Disaster is a phenomenon that can strike people without prior warning and usually leaves many in a state of devastation as they count the loss of property and the lives of loved ones. One does not have to wait to become a victim. Rather, he or she should get prepared by acquiring disaster management skills and incorporating appropriate institutions to prevent or reduce the chances of risk occurrence. This paper looks at various aspects of the disaster.

In essence, disaster can be handled before it occurs through proper planning and preparedness. The paper has cited the means of doing so and in particular, proves to manage the situation. In the case of an occurrence, the paper has introduced a disaster response and recovery mechanism. Herein, a national agency referred to as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is introduced citing its core mission and role in disaster situations. When a disaster occurs, the first responders have the mandate to help the casualties and reduce, if possible the spread of the damage; therefore through this paper, they have been offered a manner in which they should handle themselves so as to enhance safety.

Therefore disaster can be planned for, prepared for, and well managed. Keywords: disaster, management, preparation A disaster is an activity that can strike people in any place at any time without prior notice. It is usually sudden and devastating. Successful emergency response systems for incidents either resulting from natural calamities, or as a result of human activities require unrelenting and reliable cooperation from governmental organizations, emergency response services, and communal support systems.

Appropriate planning and awareness are therefore highly essential so as to minimize risks and outcomes. Through well-organized preparation measures, individuals’ are well selected and trained in a manner that their reaction and decision making when a disaster strikes are appropriate and timely. Conduct during and after a disaster should be properly outlined to prevent further damage. Emergency Response There are risks of varying forms and degrees. Some occur in our day to day working places and are of a small magnitude. However, there are some that are very much disastrous, especially if not identified and addressed in advance.

As the saying goes, “ prevention is better than cure” . Therefore, where possible and visible, protection mechanisms are put in place to shift the percentage of damage that could be otherwise caused by the disaster. The steps involved in disaster management and preparedness are to identify the potential risks, evaluate their capability, assess the probability of occurrence, and appraise the probable damage. As Collins says, “ potential risks will vary from operation to operation, facility to facility, and location to location” (2000, p.

2). It is therefore not possible to have one common emergency and disaster plan that applies to all facilities. Things to be used in the identification process include location, process, surroundings, and other related factors. There are various facilities designed to access and determine the probability and magnitude of each disaster. Therefore, the determinants have to list all potential risks and upon completion of the listing, the collected information can be assessed by the use of available data and other available assessment methodology. The assessment identifies the risks from the greatest, and the potential risks that would occur as a result, and in this case, evaluated in terms of financial loss, accidents, and other possible losses. Disaster Planning and Preparation Disaster preparedness is defined by FEMA as “ a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response” (Homeland Security, n.d. ).

The cycle addresses the methodology of prevention, response, and recovery to disasters. Through disaster planning, the entire process of the life cycle of potential risks is managed.   The system of planning and recovery entails the roles of different stakeholders; these participants are awarded their roles accordingly.

Planning improves the ability to manage priorities, establish expected levels of performance and capability of requirements, and to provide a standardized method of assessing capabilities. Every nation has a national response framework responsible for the provision of outlined principles that enable all response partners to make appropriate arrangements regarding response to national disasters. Such a unified framework speeds the process through a well-organized response. According to Homeland Security, “ the framework establishes a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach domestic incident response” (Homeland Security, n.d. ). In order that the agencies remain alert in case of any catastrophe, the framework develops policies to ensure that there are adequate and up to- date plans put in place.

The strategized policies should be able to address possible capabilities to handle threats, means of acquiring resources, and technical assistance. The preparedness technique builds a unification factor cutting across all territories, localities, and tribes. By this, disaster response is synchronized and is uniform throughout the nation. The structure of the emergency response team should involve emergency managers, all kinds of responders depending on the emergency, as well as other officials.

National agency has the mandate to provide adequate training to disaster expertise; this can be achieved through the National Emergency Training Center and other disaster management training centers. Federal Emergency Management Agency The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is part of the US Department of Homeland Security, whose primary motive is to help reduce the loss of life and belongings, and furthermore protect the nation from the effects of vulnerabilities such as natural disasters.

The main duties undertaken by this statutory body are to lead and support the nation in risk-based regions. It again provides a comprehensive emergency management system herein for “ preparedness, protection, response, recovery and mitigation” (Kramer, 2009, p. 10). FEMA provides support to communities that have been affected by disasters. According to the Department of Homeland Security, each year, several Americans are exposed to danger by disasters, and property worth millions of dollars is destroyed (n. d.). Despite this great loss, FEMA has never slept on its job; it is always on the stand.

As a team, it helps communities mitigate risks, helps in preparation of hazards, and further helps disaster victims go back to their normal duties. FEMA is in the heart of the team coordinating and carrying out operations on logistical disaster response capabilities required to save victims, reduce distress, and provide timely protection of property from damage. FEMA takes a further step to handle the aftermath situations by handling the community through the recovery process; this includes financial aid for individuals and the public. The public receives assistance in rebuilding damaged facilities such as hospitals, roads, schools, and others, while individuals receive counseling, housing, and other important services.

To enhance their activities, every time a disaster occurs, FEMA brings together specialists such as engineers, emergency managers, and environmental specialists to enhance disaster handling. As reported in Homeland Security, FEMA responded to 98 major declarations, 26 emergency declarations, and 112 Fire Management Assistance Grant Declarations (n. d.). Emergency Situation During a disaster, several factors have to be considered in order to handle the situation swiftly and appropriately. The main aim of emergency handling is to preserve life and prevent further damage.

In this case, the responder has to consider the safety of himself, then the safety of a bystander, and the safety of the victim.   The first responder should avoid a situation that would expose him to danger, especially when recovering a body from a chemical or radiologically contaminated place (Liebsch, B. and Liebsch, J., 2009). The first step is to assist the victim; the first responder is required to check for the injury, breathing, consciousness, and body temperature.


Collins, L. R. (2000). Disaster Management and Preparedness. Florida: CRC Press.

Homeland Security. (n.d.). Disasters. Retrieved 22 June, 2014 from http://www.dhs.gov/topic/disasters

Kramer, W. M. (2009). Disaster Planning and Control. New York: Fire Engineering Books.

Liebsch, B. and Liebsch, J. (2009). It’s a disaster!...and what are you gonna do about it? Newton Park: Fedhealth.

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