Written Response to Scenario Discussion Points
- Who are the 1st responders? What are their responsibilities?
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be the first responders. Other first responders will the federal police officers and the paramedics. The above first responders have been trained to react quickly to emergency situations. Their main responsibilities are ensuring that all the victims of the floods in the central city are safe. Among the activities are (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2008):
- Crowd control
- Medical attention
Additionally, the first responders will have to ensure that the flooded areas have been secured. They will also have to redirect the flow of the traffic and keep the onlookers away from the areas. Furthermore, they try to serve as the main calming force as well as keeping disorder and panic at a minimum.
- What will be their biggest challenge?
The flood water from the river will be covering several potential challenges. Therefore, one of the main challenges of the first responders will be the hazards including the city’s major sewer systems which are likely to cause concern about fecal contamination. Another main challenge will be the continuation of raining of raining for the next 12-24 hours thus making the evacuation of the victims of the flood a big challenge.
- What will be an immediate concern and what can wait?
The immediate concern will be the relief activities such as the evacuation, rescuing, and offering medical attention to the victims of the flooded areas. This will include ensuring that the victims have accessed medical attention as soon as possible and ensuring they have basic needs such as warm clothing, food, and water. Additionally, other immediate concern will be ensuring the victims have been taken to areas where there is no likely of more floods. However, there are things which will not be immediate concerns. Some of these things are reuniting the families and ensuring the victims’ property is in order.
- What additional types of assistance (other than initial 1st responders) would be helpful here? How would they be used?
Other additional assistance besides the one from the first responders will be reuniting the victims with their loved ones. This is one of the things which will help keep panicking among the victims at a minimum. Additionally, it will ensure that the victims are calm during that time when they will be under evacuation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Other assistance includes ensuring that the victims have first aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries, copies of personal documents, and food. Additionally, it will be of paramount importance to ensure that they have an emergency blanket, family and emergency contact information, and sanitation and personal hygiene items among many others. The above types of assistance will be used in surviving the floods before the first responders arrive and in the event that they will take long before evacuation starts
- Does the fact that other Columbia County cities are also flooded and experiencing similar problems affect Columbia County capabilities to respond? What problems do you foresee? What are some solutions?
The fact that other Columbia County cities are also flooded and experiencing similar problems affect the capabilities of Columbia County to respond. I foresee a problem where there will not be sufficient personnel to rescue and evacuate the victims of the floods in the Columbia County. Therefore, this means that it will take long for the victims to be evacuated. The fact that the process of evacuation and rescuing will take long means that victims of the floods might die from lack of immediate medical attention. Additionally, other victims might be injured. Property worth of millions of dollars will also be destroyed in the process. However, this situation might be solved by asking for more help from the neighboring states or asking for volunteers. Additionally, they could concentrate on Columbia County, which will be heavily affected and go to other cities later (National Fire Academy, 1984).
- How would you classify this incident? Is it a high likelihood-low impact or a low likelihood high impact? Explain?
This incident can be classified as low likelihood high impact. This incident is rare, and it is extremely expensive developing a safeguard that will be able to prevent the worst case of the occurrence of the incident. Additionally, the reason why the incident is classified as low likelihood high impact is because people cannot do more to it than prepare to respond. If the victims can get stranded because of the floods having some warm clothing and food, they can significantly reduce the impacts of the incident. The victims have to think through the situation while in the middle of it.
- Using the ICS, decide what type of command structure will be employed. Who will be part of your command structure?
This type of incident will employ a unified command structure. This is the type of the command structure the role and responsibility of the incident commander will be shared by at least two or more individuals where each of the individuals will have authority in a different responding agency from one another. Additionally, this type of command structure is the one allowing the individuals to perform the command in which the responding agencies responsible for the incident will share the management of the incident. Some of the individuals and agencies who are going to be part of it are (Waugh, 2000):
- Federal officials
- State officials
- Local officials
- Command staff
- Emergency Medical Service (EMS)
- Police officers
- What two circumstances may turn this event from an emergency to a disaster and what are your options once that happens?
The two circumstances which may turn this event from an emergency to a disaster are:
- Inadequate resources and tools to mitigate the effects of the emergency
- Continuation of the rains and floods for long.
If the above two circumstances occur where there will be inadequate resources and tools to evacuate and rescue the victims, the first responders may have to ask for help from other federal, state, and local agencies and individuals for more help and more of their resources. On the other hand, where the rains and floods may continue for long, the first responders may opt to ask for help to ensure the process of evacuation and rescue the victims happens faster before the situation becomes worse.
- What type of assistance can you expect from the state? Describe the process for requesting state / federal assistance.
The state and the local governments can readily help the community in such an incident. The state can engage in operations of rescuing the victims of the floods. Additionally, the state may have to engage in the operations of re-establishing and enforcing civil order where and when it will be needed. Furthermore, the state may help by covering the cost of foods, blankets, tents, and other relief supplies that may be required by the victims. The process of requesting for help from the state government in case of the flood emergency shall be made by the leader of the unified command engaged in the process of rescuing and evacuating the victims. However, in the case of the state asking for help from the federal government, the state governor is responsible for asking for the help. But this will happen only if the agencies on the ground are unable to deal with the emergency (Lester & Krejci, 2007).
- 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?
Floods are natural and inevitable occurrences. Large areas such as Columbia County cannot be protected from the effects of the floods. However, some floods occur extremely, and the aim is minimizing their risk and effects to people, infrastructure, and the property. However, there are ways through which floodwaters can be mitigated among which include (Comerio, 1998):
- One of the most effective ways through which floodwaters can be mitigated is by the production of the flood risk maps.
- Support education and awareness programs for the people living in areas prone to floods. This should be in collaboration with the local councils and other agencies responsible for disaster mitigation.
- The agencies should always use their monitoring network of rainfall and gauges of river levels thus being able to predict some of the river floods correctly and using this information to advise State Emergency Service and Bureau of Meteorology and thus issue flood warnings to the people.
- Ensuring the storm water drains and retarding basins among other infrastructure are installed, upgraded, and maintained. This is one of the ways through which flood risks and impacts will be minimized.
- Evaluating and placing conditions on the planning of towns thus ensuring flood risks are among the considerations in the development or the redevelopment of the land in areas prone to floods.
Comerio, M. C. (1998). Disaster hits home: New policy for urban housing recovery. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Haddow, G. D., Bullock, J. A., & Coppola, D. P. (2008). Introduction to emergency management. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann.
Lester, W., & Krejci, D. (2007). Business “Not” as Usual: The National Incident Management System, Federalism, and Leadership. Public Administration Review Washington Dc-, 67, 84-93.
National Fire Academy. (1984). The incident command system and structural firefighting. Washington, D.C.?: The Academy.
Waugh, W. L. (2000). Living with hazards, dealing with disasters: An introduction to emergency management. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe.