A typical emergency puts people in a frantic state of mind, and without adequate training, most people would be unable to provide the best response to control such situations. This is where emergency management comes in.
Recently, it has become a fundamental aspect of many organizational processes. This is true for many reasons, which we’ll highlight in this article. If you’re new to the concept of emergency management, you’ll also learn about the basics and usefulness right here.
What Is Emergency Management?
Emergency management is the coordination and management of resources and responsibilities to reduce vulnerability to hazards and enable communities and organizations to respond better to emergencies.
As a career path, emergency management involves professionals from different fields coming together to mitigate such unfavorable situations. The primary reason for this collaboration is to protect lives and properties and reduce harm in the case of contingencies.
Moreover, emergency management is a concept that follows systemic steps for containing a broad range of emergencies. Below are some of the situations that require emergency management:
- Widespread illness
The scope of emergency management goes beyond the organization and public safety. It also involves environmental hazards and, as such, is often called disaster management.
Steps In Emergency Management
Emergency management is a well-structured process that involves a number of standard steps, as given below:
Emergency management professionals often put themselves at risk to salvage dangerous situations. However, they must carefully analyze the risk level before rushing into an emergency.
If the risk level is extremely high, like in the case of a bomb threat, they might have to wait for other experts to swoop in first. The first step in emergency management is knowing which risks to take and which to avoid.
Beyond the risks, other factors, such as resources and personnel, need to undergo assessment. Is there enough staffing on-ground to salvage the emergency? What resources are necessary to mitigate the situation, and are they readily available?
The evaluation should also consider collaboration amongst the relevant agencies that are required. Do police officers have to be in the mix? Should an ambulance be on its way? Emergency management requires that you answer these questions.
These are long-term steps and strategies taken to reduce or prevent the risk of disasters. Here, emergency management identifies potential emergencies and tries to nip them in the bud.
A good example is police patrols in a neighborhood known for gang-related violence. The presence of these public safety officers dissuades criminal activities in the community. Citizens have a significant role to play in mitigating these emergencies and disasters. As such, emergency management also involves enlightening the public on mitigation measures.
This is the next crucial step after evaluating all the relevant factors. Being prepared starts with an Emergency Operations Plan that not only identifies risks but minimizes the impact of the emergency.
As earlier established, this job is a very delicate one and requires as many professionals on deck as possible. In some cases, there might be a need to recruit more personnel. So, another important aspect of preparedness is recruitment. More so, these recruits should have the proper training to withstand the rigors of an emergency.
Preparedness also involves having needed resources in place before rushing into an emergency. The same goes for the facilities, whether already established or makeshift. For instance, a healthcare center or triage facility where the victims of a serious emergency will be taken has to be on standby.
This is one of the essential aspects of the process and involves the measures taken to alleviate these emergencies or disasters. For instance, in a fire outbreak, the response would be to send firefighters to put out the fire.
The appropriate response should aim to save as many lives as possible, including the emergency management personnel. So, while personnel from the fire department combat the fire, others should provide life-sustaining aid.
Technology also plays a major role in this aspect of emergency management. Deploying the right technology helps define the best response type and how to go about it.
Emergency management also involves assessing the aftermath of these disasters and helping with recovery. Take, for instance, a robbery where lots of valuables are stolen.
Recovery will encompass catching the perpetrators and returning the lost items to the rightful owner. This phase of emergency management is also about putting measures in place to prevent such situations from reoccurring. This might involve installing a CCTV camera or an alerting system in the case of a robbery.
Skills Required In Emergency Management
Emergency management requires the collective effort of professionals, community members, and other relevant stakeholders. These involved parties need expert knowledge to create the framework that enables communities and organizations better respond to emergencies.
This usually involves getting a bachelor’s degree or, better still, an advanced one like the Wilfrid Laurier University master’s public safety. Part of the training received during the program is an introduction to the core skills for effectively managing emergencies. Here are three major ones:
- Critical thinking – Many emergencies are life-and-death situations, so professionals in this field should be able to make the best decisions on the spot. Critical thinking means analyzing a situation quickly and coming up with the best immediate solution.
- Social skills – Emergency management will always bring you in contact with people. Whether victims, onlookers, the public, or fellow professionals. So in this line of work, it is necessary to have good social and interpersonal skills. You may need to connect with victims by communicating with them or calming them down in tense situations.
- Physical strength – Physical strength is not always a necessity. However, it comes in handy in emergency management, especially for first responders. Some emergencies require the evacuation of unconscious persons, properties, etc., all of which require physical strength.
The Importance Of Emergency Management
Many organizations and communities only prioritize emergency management after an accident happens. However, good emergency management should be proactive. It’s always easier to prevent a situation rather than resolve it after it has occurred. Here’s why emergency management is essential:
Shows Commitment To Safety
Every organization is responsible for protecting its workers or employees while in the workplace. One of the best ways of showing this commitment is by putting strong emergency management measures in place. This ensures the containment of threats and accidents even before they happen.
Moreover, safety should be more than just a concept defined in the company’s leaflet or handbook. Workers should be able to feel that they are in a safe environment, as this goes a long way in maximizing productivity.
Every sector has its own safety regulations to keep relevant stakeholders as safe as possible. Take, for instance, a telecommunication installation company where workers must climb tall masts to do their job. It’s vital that employees have all the necessary safety gear on, including safety boots, overall wear, and a safety belt for climbing.
Unfortunately, deviation from these standard precautions and safety measures can attract heavy fines and sanctions. Sometimes it might lead to a temporary or permanent shutdown of the organization should an accident occur, not to mention the loss of life.
Eliminates Outdated Processes
Some organizations have emergency response plans that are outdated and not as effective. These outdated management strategies often do not take into account all the steps in emergency management described earlier. As a result, emergencies tend to record more casualties than they should.
Fortunately, emergency management is progressive and moves along with technology. The modern software utilized in these processes ensures the best solutions.
First and foremost, safety is the collective responsibility of every member of an organization. Whichever section of the company you belong to, there are safety measures and precautions to take which can affect workplace safety.
In the same way, mitigating or responding effectively to social or environmental hazards in a community is also a collective effort. Even the locals in the community have a role to play in ensuring safety. This shared understanding makes it easier to nip emergencies in the bud and reduce casualties.
Emergency management is largely about reducing the risk of accidents by eliminating threats. For instance, in a rural community with a large pool of stagnant and dirty water, removing this breeding ground for mosquitoes or other parasites reduces the risk of an epidemic and improves the community’s overall conditions.
Here is another reason why investing in emergency management is beneficial. Accidents with casualties in a workplace can either affect personnel, resources, or equipment, which in any case, leads to more downtime. Unfortunately, this leads to less productivity and less profit. Having contingency plans for such emergencies will make it easier for the organization to quickly regain its usual production cycle and cut down on potential losses.
Popular Careers In Emergency Management
More industries realize the importance of emergency management. So the demand for these professionals is on the rise. Here are some notable career paths in emergency management.
Public Health Nurse: As earlier suggested, emergency management requires teamwork from different professionals. One of the key players in any crisis is the public health nurse, who provides some of the most important public services.
These are nurses who work in public health facilities. They often have to care for victims arriving at the hospital from an accident scene. Sometimes, the public health nurse heads to the emergency site to provide the required medical attention. In the event of a virus breakout, these nurses are vital to developing and carrying out proactive health measures and strategies to contain the spread.
Safety Coordinator: These experienced professionals work for different organizations and facilities to ensure adherence to safety precautions and rules. As such, safety coordinators are more prevalent in work environments where there is a high tendency for mishaps and accidents. This includes factories, construction sites, or other locations with heavy-duty machinery.
Safety coordinators operate in such situations to monitor employees’ work conditions and enact measures to prevent accidents. To achieve this, safety coordinators develop safety guidelines and precautions that workers must adhere to while on the job. They also go about regular sensitization to inform workers of the importance of safety precautions while on the job.
Educators: Sadly, most workplace accidents and disasters result from a lack of information. This is why an essential part of emergency management is information dissemination.
Educators in this field are well-trained professionals who instruct about the best ways of addressing and responding to emergencies. These professionals may work in an academic setting like a university or in communities.
Sometimes, they also organize sensitization programs to educate the public on their roles in emergency management. To become an educator, you’ll often need an advanced degree in public safety, like the master’s program at Wilfrid Laurier.
Disasters and accidents are never entirely avoidable irrespective of the location, technology, or work environment. Some sites are more prone to these hazards, but nowhere is immune. This is why organizations and communities should always expect and plan for these contingencies using emergency management.
The benefits of having a good emergency management strategy are numerous. Whether in an organization, government agency, or a community, it helps these institutions to thrive.