Central City Scenario
1) Who are the 1st responders? What are their responsibilities?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for coordinating all the federal government response efforts towards natural disasters. The mission of the agency is to offer support to American citizens and also are first responders to emergencies so as to ensure that US coordinates its efforts in building, sustaining and improving their capability to prepare for, safeguard against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all catastrophes (Nemeth, 2013). The professionals who get included in the first responders team are firefighters, law enforcements officers, paramedics, etc. The core functions of compressive emergency management (preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation) in the US are under FEMA’s jurisdiction. The preparedness phase implies of the efforts made to handle a hazard and entails actions such as the development of a disaster recovery plan and also evacuation plans and stock keeping. The agency aims at preparing the nation for all types of hazards so as to minimize loss of life and property. Response entails the sustained response to an emergency and entails actions relating to saving lives, preventing further property damage, search, and rescue, etc. Recovery entails actions of returning things to normal after the occurrence of an emergency and includes financial assistance, construction of temporary housing, etc. Mitigation is all the efforts relating prevention of future emergencies and also reducing their adverse impacts. In the scenario, it may include the purchase of flood insurance, etc. FEMA provides not only immediate assistance to local and state governments and individuals but also long-term aid. FEMA also assists states and citizens in other actions that include emergency communication, emergency shelter and housing, search and rescue, food and medical assistance, veteran’s assistance and adjustment, loans to individuals, business and farmers for repair rehabilitation or replacement of damaged real and personal property, crisis counseling, etc.
2) What will be their biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge in the Central City emergency scenario is the lack of access to the disaster area due to the destruction of critical infrastructure as well as submerging of the downtown area. The lack of access limits the search and rescue operations by first responders as well as other rescue agencies. The lack of transportation also prevents the providence of medical assistance to victims in different parts of the flooded region, as well as assistance in putting out the fires that have started in the area. The lack of transportation has also trapped numerous people in different parts as well as isolated a local community located along the river edge. It is crucial for FEMA to provide alternative means of transport such as the use of helicopters to rescue people as well as offer to needed supply of food and medical assistance. Rescue operations are crucial to prevent loss of lives as people may drown in the rising water.
3) What will is an immediate concern and what can wait?
Among the immediate concerns is preventing loss of lives thus important to undertake fast and coordinated rescue operations. It is also important to provide food and medical supplies to victims and also provide temporary shelter to those who have lost their homes. Medical attention is crucial since there is a likelihood of disease outbreak due to the blockage of storm and sewer drains and also floating of garbage in the streets. It is also important to put out the fires in the area to prevent further loss of lives and property. It is also significant to drive away animals out of the flood region to prevent them from been swept away.
Various concerns may wait and do not require immediate attention for the responders. They include repairs of buildings and infrastructures in the affected areas as well as citizens taking flood insurance covers. Things that do not have a significant impact in loss of lives and destruction of property can get dealt with later.
4) What additional types of assistance (other than initial 1st responders) would be helpful here? How would they be used?
Other types of assistance from the various government, as well as non-governmental agencies, include giving loans and financial assistance to farmers, businesses and residents to rebuild their businesses and homes. Another kind of assistance that the area can receive is that the local, state and federal governments should coordinate to rebuild destroyed critical infrastructures such as water and gas supplies, transport networks, sewer drainage system, schools, etc. These actions will assist the region to resume normal operations after the emergency. The local, state and federal governments can also offer funds or grants to the community so that it can use to clear debris in the area and other activities.
5) Does the fact that other Columbia County cities are also flooded and experiencing similar problems affect Columbia County’s capabilities to respond? What problems do you foresee? What are some solutions?
Yes, the flooding of Columbia County cities affects the capability to respond to the Central City scenario. Problems that may occur include inaccessibility of the flooded Central City area due to the destruction of roads and bridges. The situation also implies that the people evacuated from Central City area cannot receive shelter with the Columbia County cities hence increasing the cost of sheltering them. Solutions include the use of alternative means of transport and request for federal assistance to assist in sheltering the victims.
6) How would you classify this incident? Is it a high likelihood-low impact or a low likelihood high impact? Explain?
The Central City flooding scenario can get grouped in the low likelihood-high impact scenario. It is because the occurrence of a flooding emergency cannot just get handled in an easy way when it takes place since it leads to significant consequences. Flooding leads to loss of lives, destruction of property and critical infrastructure, and also disruption of normal business, education, and other operations. It is vital to reduce the adverse consequences of these risks when they occur. It is appropriate to integrate contingency plans, special risk management techniques such as flood insurance and also proper monitoring in areas prone to these incidents (Hand, 2009).
7) Using the ICS, decide what type of command structure will be employed. Who will be part of your command structure?
The Incident Command System (ICS) refers to a standardized on-scene, all-hazard incident management structure that gets developed for emergency scene management. It optimizes communication and coordination. The ICS entails five major management systems namely command, operations, logistics, finance, and planning. The most likely type of command to get employed in this Central City Scenario is the Area command. The area command has the responsibility to set overall strategy, determine priorities, allocate critical resources to meet these priorities, and ensure that incidents get properly managed through objectives and strategies accomplishment. The Central City scenario will involve the President, governor, and agencies such as FEMA in which the area command structure will get formed comprising of incident commander and assisted by logistics section chief, admin section chief, and planning section chief.
8) What two circumstances may turn this event from an emergency to a disaster and what are your options once that happens?
The Central City flooding scenario may turn into a catastrophe when the floods lead to the collapse of buildings and also lead to a disease outbreak. When a building collapses due to the floods, it may result in the destruction of property as well as loss of lives. It is important to evacuate all persons in buildings around the area as well as commence rescue measures to save people buried in the collapsed building. When a disease (mostly a water-borne disease) outbreak takes place due to the floods, crucial measures include increasing the number of medical personnel and medical supplies in the area. It is also important to try and contain the spread of the disease.
9) What type of assistance can you expect from the state? Describe the process for requesting state / federal assistance.
State governments undertake various functions in the event of an emergency. They include:
- Reviewing and evaluating the local situation such as response efforts and regular submission of Situation Reports (SITREP).
- State administration proclaims a state of emergency.
- State determines if the situation is beyond the capability of the state
- State requests for federal assistance
- The state also provides funds or grants to the community to undertake recovery functions such as the reconstruction of infrastructures such as sewerage and drainage systems, transport networks and bridges.
- A state’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) coordinates state disaster response, supporting county and local governments in pre-disaster planning and post-disaster relief and accessing external aid.
Request for State Assistance
The local administration declares a local emergency, after which the local governing body then requests the director of the State OES to concur in their declaration of a local emergency. The local governing body also provides assistance under the California Natural Disaster Assistance Act (NDAA). The Director of state OES must receive the Local Emergency Declaration and Initial Damage Estimate so as to make a decision.
Requesting for Federal Assistance
The first step in the declaration process of an emergency or disaster by the federal government or in receiving federal assistance entails a request made by the Governor of the affected state to the President of US. The Governor’s request gets made through the regional FEMA/EPR office. State and federal officials undertake a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) in the affected area to estimate the extent of the disaster as well as its impact on persons and public facilities. The information obtained gets include in the Governor’s request so as to show that the catastrophe is of extreme severity and magnitude hence effective emergency management is beyond the capabilities of the state and the local governments and that federal assistance is necessary. The PDA may get completed before or after submission of the Governor’s request depending on the severity of the hazard. Contact then gets made between the Governor of the affected State (including the District of Columbia) and the FEMA Regional Administrator before or immediately after the disaster (Bullock, Haddow & Coppola, 2012). As part of the Governor’s request, it is necessary that the Governor take appropriate action under State law and direct execution of the State’s emergency plan. Other information provided by the Governor include nature and the amount of state and local resources committed to handling the outcomes of the disaster, an estimate of the cost and severity of destruction and an estimate of the type and amount of assistance required under Stafford Act (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2013). The submitted request addressed to the President, gets submitted through FEMA Regional Administrator, who assesses the destruction and need for Federal Assistance and makes a recommendation to the FEMA Administrator. The FEMA Administrator acting through the Secretary of Homeland Security, then recommends a course of action to the President.
Based on the Governor’s request the President may approve federal assistance and declare an emergency or a major disaster. If federal assistance gets approved then Federal Response Plan (FRP) gets activated, an Emergency Support Team (EST) gets established, and there is the identification of an Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) to respond.
10) Once the floodwaters recede and the conditions return to normal, city council members will be looking for suggestions to avoid this type of disaster in the future. What mitigation recommendations can you make?
- The city council members should incorporate extensive and intensive physical (structural) measures. Extensive physical (structural) measures include urban flood control and intensive physical (structural) measures include reservoirs, the increase of channel capacities, and also parallel and flood diversion channels (Rossi, Harmanciogammalu & Yevjevich, 2012).
- The city council members should create proper prediction and warning measures so as to allow for evacuation and meaningful flood defense.
- The city council members should also educate and encourage members to obtain insurance covers for their businesses.
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Haddow, G., Bullock, J., & Coppola, D. P. (2013): Introduction to emergency management. (4th edition): Butterworth-Heinemann.
Hand, D. J. (2009): Encyclopedia of Quantitative Risk Analysis and Assessment edited by Edward L. Melnick, Brian S. Everitt. International Statistical Review, 77(2), 563-564.
Nemeth, C. P. (2013): Homeland security: an introduction to principles and practice. (2nd edition): CRC Press.
Rossi, G., Harmanciogammalu, N. B., & Yevjevich, V. (Eds.). (2012): Coping with floods (Vol. 257). Springer Science & Business Media.