How Disaster Preparedness Professionals Develop Plans

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By definition, disaster preparedness professionals are master craftsmen at planning. It isn’t in their nature to wait for something catastrophic to happen before taking action. These forward-thinking individuals identify the challenges that could be brought on by natural and man-made disasters, and they proactively develop actionable plans to mitigate hazards. When disasters do occur, this careful planning can save lives, reduce injuries and minimize property damage. With GCU’s Master Of Science In Leadership With An Emphasis In Homeland Security And Emergency Management, you can become the most prepared professional and build a career that aims to help others in times of crises.

Identifying the Basic Stages of Planning

Disaster preparedness professionals are trained to apply established methodologies to develop comprehensive plans. The five basic stages are:

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Publicity
  • Operations
  • Revision

The research stage involves identifying vulnerabilities, resources, capacities and hazards. The plan is written during the next stage, and this is followed by publishing the plan, making it accessible to key organizations in the community and providing training. The operations stage of emergency preparedness planning involves testing various portions of the plan. All disaster preparedness plans must be dynamic, “living” documents that are frequently updated and revised as needed.

Understanding Urban and Regional Planning

The process is similar for both urban and regional emergency planning. In both cases, the central questions to be answered during an emergency are, “What resource is where?” and “How can those resources be distributed or used to meet needs?” One of the early stages of creating a comprehensive preparedness plan is to research the following factors for any given area:

  • Geography
  • Economy
  • Demographics
  • Culture
  • Social relations

Disaster preparedness professionals must consider the extent to which the local perceptions and traditions would influence disaster response. One example of how local traditions can influence disaster responses is how the New York City subway system was affected on September 11, 2001. Countless people were trapped underground when the Twin Towers were attacked by terrorists, and the widespread power outages put the system on lockdown. Some heroic transit workers were quick to think on their feet, and they walked the lines closing emergency brakes to allow the trains to get their passengers safely to the stations. The way in which a local community accesses transportation networks can be a critical factor in disaster preparedness planning.

Identifying Sector-Specific Needs

Another crucial aspect of developing a preparedness plan is identifying the unique, sector-specific needs applicable to the community or region. The following establishments and organizations are examples of entities that must be given special consideration during an emergency response.

  • Schools and universities
  • Medical centers
  • Transportation networks
  • Industry
  • Museums and national treasures

For instance, museums with priceless artwork would be given special consideration during a wildfire. Transportation networks can be utilized for evacuation. Medical centers would be given priority for critical resources during disasters that have caused widespread injuries.

At Grand Canyon University, our vibrant campus is full of students and working professionals who are all striving to make the world a better, safer place. Enhance your skills for the betterment of your community by earning your Master of Science in Leadership with an Emphasis in Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership. Take the first step today by clicking on the Request More Information button at the top of the website.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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