National incident management is the process through which a country, community, institution or organization responds to an emergency which could be a fire, a natural disaster or a terror attack (Hambridge et al., 2017). The terrorist attacks in 2001was a turning point of America as a country in term of incident management because it exposed the country significant unpreparedness to a disaster. National incidents today have increased both human-made and natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, bio attacks, bombs, and accidents in the transportation system. Preparedness is an essential approach to reducing casualties in cases of national incidents and there are many lessons to be learned. These lessons are developed from case studies and real-life scenarios and should be taught to public institutions and private organizations to improve the preparedness for national incidents. This paper will assess the best lessons learned regarding incident management and the importance of increasing the scale of readiness especially due to domestic and international terrorism cases as well as national disasters.
Importance of a Network Cantered Approach
A network centered approach involves bringing different people, institutions, skills, equipment's and government agencies together to work as a team during national incidents responses. Confusion can be a significant problem during incident management processes and creating synergy between different agencies and organizations can significantly improve the incident response and management in the United States of America. Today, various agencies and organizations work together to respond to incidences at both the city and national level (Hambridge et al., 2017).
In the article "Examining Intergovernmental and Response to Catastrophic Disasters: Toward a Network Cantered Approach" presents the best opportunity to learn an important lesson on the best practices in the management of national incidents (Kapucu, Arslan, & Collins, 2010). To be precise, the new lesson learned is the significant contribution of the intergovernmental and inter-organizational response team during disasters and other national incidents. In most cases, different agencies and organizations come together in rescue missions and also providing humanitarian aid in the affected areas. Therefore, such kind of response should be effectively-coordinated to ensure a systematic response, avoiding overlapping and creating a communication channel for all the responding agencies to a national incident. To justify this point, the authors use Hurricane Katrina and Rita as real-life examples of how coordination in a network centered approach can improve the results of national incidence response.
According to (Kapucu et al., 2010), the disasters previously experienced in the Americas were not effectively-mitigated because a well-organized intergovernmental and inter-organizational response was lacking. In this regard, whenever there is any disaster, intervention should not be unilateral, but should incorporate different stakeholders which have been charged with the responsibility of responding to such catastrophes (Kapucu et al., 2010), Today, FEMA through the National Incident Management System brings together different disaster management institutions and organizations such as healthcare, the police and the local leaders every time there is an incidence to ensure proper utilization of resources.
Importance of Preparedness
Preparedness is the process of creating a research-based response and decisions which are taken as precautionary measures to counter potential national incidents such as natural disasters or terror attacks. Preparedness should be recognized as an essential phase of the national incident management. However, preparedness in incident management is a continuous process which integrates different organizations and agencies to create plans for future response to incidents. Preparedness also involves disaster simulations and impact-based training for the responders to improve the response efforts and outcomes. Preparedness has been associated with improved efficiency, safety for both the victims and responders as well as reducing the rescue time. Regular training and testing of the incident management and response systems help to ensure success and experience which improves actual response in case of a disaster.
The lesson of preparedness in the article "Preparedness on the Frontline: What's Law got to do with it?" is that the emergency response teams should be equipped with fundamental competencies which they require to enable them to adequately respond to any disaster that might arise in the country (Lichtveld et al., 2002). From the arguments put forth by the authors, it is essential to learn that it can be beneficial if the bioterrorism and health emergency teams possess essential skills in disaster management like communication. According to the authors, such skills are necessary because without them it might not be possible for the team to do an excellent job of mitigating and managing a disaster in a professional manner. However, to achieve this, the authors emphasize that all the emergency response teams should be adequately trained. With proper training, the team can acquire such competencies and apply them in the right manner expected of them. This implies that the most important lesson I learned from this article is that all the emergency response teams should be provided with the right kind of education that can adequately prepare them for the tough job of managing disasters.
Uniformity in Local Emergency Management Organization's Websites
Websites today play a significant role in providing essential information on helplines and agencies that should be contacted in the occurrence of an incidence. The design and management of websites play a significant role during disaster response and creating a uniform incident, and disaster response systems can improve access and use by the public. The primary lesson acquired from the importance of the uniformity in the local emergency management agency websites is their uniformity enhances communication as well as identification by people in need of rescue (Schmalzried et al., 2011). There needs to be uniformity in the websites that are designed, maintained, managed, and operated by all the local emergency management entities. According to the authors, uniformity does not only mean similarity in the outlook but the similarity in the layout of a website and the content it contains. For the local agencies to effectively-discharge their duties, they have to equip their sites with relevant information on their websites (Schmalzried et al., 2011). Some of the essential data to include in the websites contain the sign-up page, automatic alerts, a periodical update of information, the simplicity of language, and accuracy of disaster-related information. That is the only way through which the websites can help in addressing the cases of disasters that might arise at any given time.
In conclusion, each of the articles contains essential lessons on incident management that will help in improving my knowledge regarding the management and response to disasters in the country. The management of emergencies is a complex activity that should be collectively-handled by applying an inter-organizational and inter-governmental approach. The role of preparedness through training cannot be underestimated on the improvement of the competencies of the disaster management team. Meanwhile, the most critical lesson that needs to be realized is that there is a need for the disaster management agencies to design standard websites from which the members of the public can access useful information regarding the disasters. The authors are right for making such an observation because the fight against natural disasters cannot be managed by only one organization. The collective contribution of organizations and governments in the management of disaster is, therefore, a valuable lesson that will permanently alter my understanding of the management of emergencies.
Hambridge, N. B., Howitt, A. M., & Giles, D. W. (2017). Coordination in Crises: Implementation of the National Incident Management System by Surface Transportation Agencies. Homeland Security Affairs, 13.
Kapucu, N., Arslan, T., & Collins, M. L. (2010). Examining intergovernmental and interorganizational response to catastrophic disasters: Toward a network-centered approach. Administration & Society, 42(2), 222-247.
Lichtveld, M., Hodge Jr, J. G., Gebbie, K., & Thompson Jr, F. E. (2002). Preparedness on the frontline: what's law got to do with it. JL Med. & Ethics, 30, 184.
Schmalzried, H. D., Fallon, L. F., Keller, E. A., & McHugh, C. E. (2011). Importance of uniformity in local emergency management agency web sites. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 8(1).
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