Hazard mitigation is the basis of emergency management. Mitigation refers to the ongoing attempt of lessening the impact of disasters on individuals’ lives, as well as, their property through prevention of damage and flood insurance. Mitigation is, thus, an essential phase of emergency management along with others such as risk analysis, preparedness, and disaster response (Lindell 425). Various organizations use various mitigation strategies for different environmental hazards. In addition, there are legal basis for hazard mitigation in different states. The process of adopting and implementing mitigation policies differ for different organizations and countries depending on the types of environmental disasters present in the region. The question hazard mitigation and sustainable development should, however, be put into consideration in whatever strategy is chosen. This essay, therefore, carries out an in-depth investigation on hazard mitigation as an essential phase in emergency management program.
Technological disasters refer to events caused by malfunctions of technological structures and/or some human error in handling or controlling the technology. Technological or man made hazards are unpredictable, may even be unpreventable, may have insignificant physical damage but with long-term consequences, and can spread across geographical boundaries. Terrorism is classified as a man-made disaster. Other types of technological disasters sites of industries are situated in societies that are affected by natural calamities, employees have insufficient training or are faced with fatigue, or even in areas where failures in equipment occur. These types of disasters entail a wide variety of occurrences. For instance routes of exposure include food and drink, fires and explosions, water, airborne releases, and hazardous waste and materials including biological, chemical, or radioactive materials that are released into the environment during transport or from a fixed facility. Explosions, fires, collapses in buildings, nuclear reactor accidents, gas, sewer lines, and water breaks, and transportation crashes are examples of technological disasters (Lindell 430).
As a hazard mitigation strategy, it is essential for stakeholders involved in the process to ensure safety procedures that reduce the negative health consequences in industries. This calls for emergency preparedness not as a phase in emergency management plan, but as a strategy of mitigating disasters, in this case. This includes the ability of systems to provide care for those individuals who are exposed to such disasters in organizations, as well as, outside organizations. For instance, the management of the organization in coordination with agencies responsible for managing and controlling disasters should ensure the proper implementation and adoption of these strategies. Real life examples of technological disasters include the case of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station located in Japan and the Station Nightclub fire in Warwick, RI (Vangerud 119). Apart from physical damage associated with technological disasters, these hazards are stressful and cause a lot of harm to people, families, and societies. For instance, they cause people to have loss of job security, loss of income, uncertainties about the future, stress, and family conflict.
Disaster mitigation involves onsite and offsite emergency response and preparedness management plan for chemical facilities and chemical transportation. Industry is charged with the primary role and responsibility of limiting the impacts of disasters or accidents that involve hazardous substances or materials on the environment, property, and human health. Appropriate emergency management plan (mitigation techniques and addressing response to disasters) is essential in order to protect employees, as well as, the surrounding community, property, and the environment. One fundamental responsibility of public authorities is to set up proper standards and guidelines to help industry in developing onsite emergency preparedness plans. The standards and guidelines are aimed must comprise providing for the development, implementation, testing, and update of these plans. Additionally, public authorities in distinct countries should make sure that the management of installations aimed at mitigating hazards determines and evaluates all the risks associated with chemicals during their installations (Vangerud 120). They should also provide assistance to guarantee that these onsite preparedness plans are established and sustained and that members of the public are aware of such plans. However, for the plans to be effective, they must co-ordinate with offsite plans.
Main components of onsite plans include leadership and administration, emergency action, communication, medical care, light and power, roles of key personnel, mutual assistance, protection of essential records, public relation, and rescue and protective equipment, and revision of plan on a periodical basis. Offsite plans involve people not directly involved in the organization but are required in times of emergencies. They include all departments of providing care such as the medical and police departments. Communication and response programs are essential as they ensure management and control of an emergency. There should be an efficient communication system between organizations and institutions that respond to emergencies ( Vangerud 120).
Therefore, hazard mitigation is an essential phase in emergency management. As mentioned, there are different types of hazard mitigation strategies. These may include prevention; property protection; public education and public awareness; protection of natural resources; emergency services measures and structural projects. Prevention may involve government regulatory or administrative actions to influence land and infrastructure use. Public education entails informing and educating citizens on the risks and hazards present in their work or living areas (Lindell 435). Property protection entails modifying existing buildings to protect them. Natural resource protection involves minimizing, preserving or restoring natural systems Emergency service measures are taken to reduce the impact of hazards. Structural projects involve construction of structures as a reduction or mitigation of hazards.
Lindell, Michael K, Ronald W. Perry, and Carla Prater. Introduction to Emergency Management. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2007. Print.
Vangerud, T. ” Emergency Preparedness For An Extended Utility Outage.” Disaster Management & Response 1.4 (2003): 119-121. Print.