Response to Discussion Question

 For this discussion scenario, one is selected. The issue is that there is sudden flooding that requiring emergency management to select between saving a nursing home or a factory that most of the community works. The assumption taken for this discussion is that there are people at the nursing home, so you are not saving the building but the people in it. This is critical in determining what is the priority for emergency management. Life of the individuals in immediate danger will always take precedence over the saving of property. Canton (2011) noted that “Life safety is always the first priority in response, but as was pointed out in a previous chapter, one of the qualitative differences between disasters and emergencies is a change in speed of response and in standards of care.” (p. 178). Since we are not given specifics on the factory, we will assume it does not create any hazards to the community if it is flooded. If the plant produces materials that would be hazardous and endanger the community if flooded or kills individuals from exposure to toxic materials a, different issue is created. Since the factory does not have toxic materials and presents no environmental hazard to the community if flooded the selection of responding to the nursing home first would be the selected course of action while planning to address the factory as soon as all individuals are evacuated from the nursing home. The priority will be to remove the people from the nursing home to a safe location. Priorities should have been part of the emergency plan to cover what the community has established as priorities. This scenario causes the reader to wonder what response strategy had been developed or considered before the sudden flooding. Did this flood fall within the 100-year flood data?

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A potential implication for not going to the factory is the loss of employment if the factory is closed for repairs or permanently. If the plant did not have appropriate insurance, decided to use this as an excuse to move to another location, or other for another reason, it closed many in the community would be without employment. A second potential implication is all the businesses that supported or was support from revenue generated from the employees of the factory or providing services and materials to the plant.

If the sudden flood fit into the projections for a 100-year flood what mitigating factors was recommended? Canton (2011) points out that “How much compromise is the community willing to tolerate to ensure its own survival?” (p. 178). To be placed in the position to choose between the factory that seems to be the livelihood of the town and a nursing home points to a poor analysis of possible hazards and implementation of a planning strategy. Before the sudden flood the town in coordination with the factory could have offered tax incentives to the company to assist in implementing structural or non-structural mitigating courses of action to lower the risk so the factory would not suffer should there be a 100-year flood. What was considered for risk management? Canton noted that “if the emergency management program is to be cohesive and consistent with community values and goals, it must be driven by strategies derived from policies based on risk.”  (p. 158). The community seems to select avoiding the risk instead of transferring the risk by insurance, mitigating the risk through structural and non-structural methods, or retain the risk. (Canton 2011, p. 161).

Having to choose between the nursing home and the factory would seem to subject at the time of the sudden flood the community had selected to avoid the risk. Canton noted that “Mitigation can also have an impact on insurance premiums, which are risk based, and can result in significantly lowered costs. For these reasons, James Lee Witt, former Director of FEMA, frequently said that mitigation is the cornerstone of emergency management.” (p. 163). In this scenario, mitigation could have eliminated the concerns of a sudden flood impact on the factory, nursing home, and other areas of the town.

Reference

Canton, Lucien G. (2011), Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs. Wiley-Blackwell. VitalBookfile.

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