Emergency Management Relating to Natural and Technological Hazards

Question

You are an emergency manager in a medium-sized city. Your city manager is new to the position, from a human resource background, and is therefore unfamiliar with the risks posed by natural and technological hazards. Therefore, the city manager would like you to provide him with some introductory information related to risks and hazards, including appropriate response strategies to help him understand the challenges faced by your community and the nation overall.
At this point, your city manager is asking for the big picture and states that he will require additional specific details related to emergency management at a future date.
Assignment Guidelines
• Your assignment is to complete an informational memorandum of 750–1,000 words that summarizes 2–3 of the most significant natural hazards facing America today.
o Define the following terms, and provide 1 example and a brief explanation of each term:
§ Natural hazard
§ Technological hazard
§ Risk
§ Risk assessment
o List and summarize 2–3 of the most significant natural hazards facing America today.
§ For each hazard listed, describe 1 appropriate response strategy that could be used to address the hazard.
• Because your city is located in an area where natural hazards such as tornadoes and floods are a significant issue, your city manager would like for your informational memorandum to focus on natural hazards.

Answer

Emergency Management Relating to Natural and Technological Hazards

Hazards, whether natural or technological, are very common in the United States. Natural hazards may either be geophysical or biological. Geophysical hazards are those relating to the geological and meteorological specs including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and drought while biological hazards refer to those that come about due to diseases and infestations. Technological hazards on the other hand are often man-made in nature and refer to those that originate from industrial conditions like accidents and include industrial pollution, chemical spills and terrorism (Krejsa, 1997). For this reason, several contingency plans have to be put in place in the case of any hazard occurring so as to minimize the damage as much as possible, and this is how the notion of risk assessment comes into perspective.

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Firstly, risks refer to situations that involve one’s exposure to danger. By extension, risk management is the process of identifying any potential risks when dealing with any project or activity that is underway. In the United States, natural hazards have been known to cause the most damage and the greatest threat to mankind. This information memoranda will focus on two specific natural disasters that are common in the United States: floods and hurricanes. It will also address response strategies for dealing with them.

Floods are manifested through a disastrous overflow of water from a water body caused by excessive rainfall or water input. They rank very highly in the list of natural hazards that cause the most damage in America today. According to Van Westen (2013), the largest amount of loss results from earthquakes stands at 35% followed by floods at 30%, windstorms at 28% and the rest of the natural disasters which form 7% of all the losses. Floods are very common in the United States and are therefore usually anticipated. Despite being forecasted, floods still manage to cause damage to property amounting to billions of dollars and massive loss of life as well.

Seeing as floods are a part of nature, they cannot be stopped. Fortunately, their effects can be reduced. The issue of floods can be addressed by first educating people on the potential risks associated with floods so as to make them more cautious and willing to come up with certain measures that will help reduce the risk of flood damages especially in the urban areas (Hill, Sparks & Rougier, 2013). Additionally, the current drainage system of rainwater is an issue that ought to be addressed and updated accordingly especially when determining the current sewer systems capacity of various cities in the United States (Van Westen, 2013).

Next, earthquakes are also a common natural disaster in the United States. An earthquake is a shaking or vibration of the ground caused by a movement of the geographic faults or a volcanic activity. Such a vibration can lead to very adverse effects on human life and property. In America, 75 million people are at risk of being adversely affected by this natural hazard. Earthquakes happen very abruptly and randomly and for this reason, one cannot always know when and where the next earthquake would hit (Hill, Sparks & Rougier, 2013).

 In the case of an earthquake, it is important to work closely and continue funding the organizations that have come up with measures that reduce the immediate loss of lives whenever disaster strikes such as the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). Moreover, the public ought to be educated on what to do in the case of an earthquake because as much as the property damage amounts to billions of dollars, human life is more important.

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In conclusion, I believe that emergency management and risk assessment ought to be applied whenever we face a natural or technological disaster. It is also imperative that disaster managers be keen on studying all the disasters after they happen in order to figure out which strategies worked and which ones did not. Such information can be used as a basis for developing future disaster preparedness, mitigation and response strategies.

References

Hill, L. J., Sparks, R. S. J., & Rougier, J. C. (2013). Risk assessment and uncertainty in natural hazards. London: Routledge.

Krejsa, P. (1997). Report on Early Warning for Technological Hazards. New York, NY: International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR).

Van Westen, C. J. (2013). “Remote sensing and GIS for natural hazards assessment and disaster risk management.” In JF Schroder and MP Bishop. Treatise on Geomorphology, 259-298. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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