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Emergency Response Plan for New York is a guide on how to respond during major emergencies and disaster affecting the city. Disasters occur naturally or may be caused by man are unpredictable. They can occur anywhere, anytime. In cases of tragedies such as bomb explosion or fire, N.Y. City should have an understandable plan for emergencies. During past incidents, it is obvious that this city is not prepared adequately for the response of emergency. Most people especially the disabled and children who need quick assistance during emergencies never get it. Therefore, the current emergency plan of N.Y. City needs reviewing. According to Rudy Giuliani, the acting mayor, the last review was in 2005.
The current laid down plans on how to respond effectively and economically whenever there is a disaster are good, but not perfect. The aim of the emergency plan is to provide guidelines to the city staff responding to a disaster. They are to act as a lead or the working foundation on planning, training and exercising the city's emergency planning (Federalnewsradio, 2006).
The emergency plan has six sections including its purpose, which describes response during emergency. This ensures safeguarding of life and protection of property. The aim of the plan is to assist victims, restoring services as quickly as possible, reduce damage and to give public any necessary information. The second section describes its Authority and power. This includes the power to implement the emergency plan and to declare a local state of emergency. The third section, emergency organization committee provides the overall city emergency program; the city manager heads it. Its other function is to co-ordinate the emergency management program within the city. The roles and responsibility is the forth section, it describes the responsibility training and exercising and departmental recovery.
Hyline Safety Company provides emergency action plans for high-rise buildings. The company has experts in Emergency Preparedness Planning (EAP). It has professional emergency preparedness trainers. The company addresses various incidents such as biological release, chemical attack, elevator entrapment, bomb explosion, fire and flood. Hazard evaluation is the study of likely threats that can arise in any set up. The evaluation assists the city in reducing risk and prevention of loss. It provides information on the likelihood of an impending threat and resources required in order to implement activities. A hazard, if not acted upon will become a disaster. If the probability of the occurrence of a hazard is evaluated, then mitigation plans can be laid down.
A mitigation plan shades light upon two issues. One is Response time and the other response capability. Instead of mounting a response capability, a good mitigation plan will actually reduce the need for a response. Another advantage of mitigation is that it decreases post disaster expenses. Evaluating progress of mitigation actions and making changes where necessary especially on objective part of the plan is also important. Identification of problems in implementation of the plan is vital. If there are problems, a committee should develop proposals on how to solve them. Prevention of the disaster is the solution to reducing death toll. It is impossible to prevent a disaster altogether, but it can be prevented by reducing its effects. Effects can develop into a disaster, so we should prevent this from happening. Still if they do occur, we should reduce their effects of the disaster.
Achievement of this is through sound planning based on assessment of threat, quick response and recovery efforts.
For N.Y. City to prepare adequately for any disaster, city staff responding to a disaster should analyze risks and use the information obtained to provide a foundation for mitigation. Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FEMA) define mitigation as lessening the impact of disaster so that loss of life and property is minimized. FEMA has the green light given by congress to implement programs reducing losses resulting from natural disasters. Mitigation efforts has helped in decreasing the sequence of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. N.Y. City staff responding to a disaster should understand how to apply multi-hazard engineering science to assist them in reducing natural hazard effects.
The city should develop methods to reduce risk to life and property. Reduction of risk when structures are constructed is important. This helps in projecting elimination of long- term risks from disaster and their effects. Areas emphasizes on by FEMA are categorized into five groups. They include Hazard mitigation, National earthquake hazards reduction program, National dam safety program, floodplain management and building science. The Continuity of Operations Self-Assessment Tool outlines steps to be taken by a government agency or any city can take in the event of manmade or natural disaster. The plan has a procedure to follow when a disaster strikes. The first one is procedure on evacuation of victims. The others include disaster response, emergency delegation of authority, delegation of responsibility, coordination of operations, preparedness measures and technical assistance. Its other mandate is to ensure continuity of operations (COOP) this is an operational for the renaissance of services after an incident.
Biological substances such as medical waste or toxic from biological waste pose a threat to both human beings and animals. Biological threats are categorized in four different levels by centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Level one are those posing minimum risk while level four pose extreme risk. Public level personnel should understand the different levels. They should also understand the procedures to be followed in each level. In level 1, there may be various kinds of bacteria and the precaution is putting on gloves and facial protection. Level 2 generally include the following diseases: hepatitis B or C. influenza, salmonella, and scrapie. Level 3 include diseases like: Anthrax, Mumps, HIV, Smallpox and TB. Diseases, which pose the greatest risk, are in level four. They include Ebola, Hanta virus, Lassa virus and other hemorrhagic. Biological hazards at this level require one to put on full Hazmat suit and self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory.
The national incident management system (NIMS) is used nationally by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Its structures enable rapid response to ordinary disasters or terrorist attacks. It is a requirement put in force by the 2003 presidential directive that federal agencies should adopt. It is used in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery programs and actions. A directive was issued that all people involved directly in any role in emergency adoption should attend a NIMS training. The training is a tool used nationally to develop adequately trained and qualified emergency response personnel. The national integration centre (NIC) overlooks the training.
Family response preparedness
The last aspect of Response Readiness is at family and personal level. Disasters strike sometimes when family members are not together. A family should therefore plan how to contact one another in case of an incident. A family can also plan what to do at different circumstances. Family emergency plan can include an out of town contact to ease communication among separated family members (Luckett, 2010). Depending on the situation, one should make a decision to stay put or to evacuate. Families should prepare for both possibilities. Inquire from the local authority the type disaster likely to occur in your area. Can the probable disaster be natural or manmade? In case of an occurrence, whatever the case, use of common sense is important in order for one to make the right decision. Neighbors can be included when developing plans for events of emergency.