Effective Disaster Plans: A Matter of Life and Death
Life is priceless. It has no spare to replace it like the tires. Likewise, nobody in a healthy state of mind would aspire to put an end to one’s own breath. But sometimes, death is just inevitable. In situations or events, which are rare and unexpected, nobody could ever tell who lives and who dies.
These unforeseen situations that might cause damages to properties and the environment, injuries and even death to a vast population are so called - disasters. However, even if unpredicted, still there are measures by which these damages and casualties can be at least reduced. These measures could be called : disaster plans.
Various types of disasters are occurring all over the world everyday. Some are extensive in terms of the damages it causes to the properties and the areas affected. There are other disasters that are confined to certain locations only, yet have brought outrageous impact worldwide.
In the history of the United States, there are only ten (10) disasters recorded by which the number of casualties had exceeded one thousand (1,000). But among those ten, the September 11 attack has been considered as the most dramatic incident. It was sudden and inhumane wherein two thousand, eight hundred, nineteen (2,819) lives were taken. It left this First World Country’s health and response system almost paralyzed from the trauma the incident caused in a very short period of time.
With the latest incident in Asia, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake has just hit Japan. The public population, particularly the injured ones and those whose lives were threatened are expecting assistance for health and life preservation. Are there disaster plans to respond to these incidents? When disasters occur to this extent, professionals from the health care service are of great significance. However, it is wise for each family to prepare for disaster as well. Since it could be days or weeks before public services can get to anyone during significant situations, disaster plans should also be in place for each household. This would include at the very least food and water supplies enough to last a minimum of three or four days.
Disaster is a sudden ecological phenomenon of sufficient magnitude to require external assistance as defined by the World Health Organization. (Goolsby & Mothershead, 2010)
However, nowadays, disasters are not confined to the hands of nature. Humans are creating their own different disasters. Therefore, disasters can be classified into two categories: (1) natural and (2) man-made. The first class of disaster is exemplified by natural phenomenas such as floods, storms, hurricanes and earthquakes. These phenomena may impede supplies such as food and services, particularly medical ones to the affected communities. Thus, those organizations outside the aforementioned community, which has the capacity to provide assistance, may intervene.
On the other hand, man-made disasters are those incidents that involve human intervention as a cause of the disaster itself. For example, the war and terrorism in the World Trade Center Attack last September 11. Lives would not have been wasted if the attack had been halted or if it had never happened at all.
Another way of classifying disaster is the area covered by the disaster and the personnel and organizations required to respond to it. This disaster classification has three levels. Level I means that the disaster can be handled at local level. Level II involves regional personnel and organizations to handle the disaster due to inability of the local unit to manage it. Last but not the least is Level III, by which the disaster is overpowering both local and regional level. Thus, it becomes a nationwide or statewide concern.
Disaster plans refer to a standard system of procedures that instruct persons on what should be done in the event that disasters happen or are about to happen. These instructions are backed by definite orders of who will execute it, what are the things to execute and how and when these things before and after a disaster shall be executed. It’s like a guide on how to prepare for and survive a disaster.
In disaster planning, there are four phases of disaster response: (1) mitigation, (2) planning, (3) response and (4) recovery. Mitigation is all about reducing the possible effects of the disaster. On the other hand, the planning phase involves the personnel and organizations within the local, regional and state or federal level as well as the medical personnel in the nearby hospitals, stating that they have to create a plan as to how they would cater to the health care demands after the disaster.
The Response Phase is the implementation of the plan such as: search and rescue, triage and transport of the affected population. Finally, the recovery phase is a period by which the community tends to restore its usual operations prior to the disaster. To ensure effective disaster plans, it should undergo rehearsals by which the community simulates it for an anticipated incident. Through this, loopholes will be discovered. Thus, different organizations still have adequate time to revise and improve their disaster plans.
In conclusion, disasters only become extensive if the community and the government is left unprepared. Disasters might be unpredictable in terms of when they shall happen. However, eady or not, a disaster might take place anytime. That’s why; the community must anticipate these possible disasters so that when it strikes, organized disaster plans to minimize the damages can be implemented.