Development and Evolution of Emergency Management: Analytical Essay

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Table of contents

  1. Development and Evolution of Emergency Management from 1800s to 2000
  2. Impacts of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina on Emergency Management
  3. Impacts of Hurricane Sandy on Emergency Management
  4. The Concept of Mitigation
  5. The Difference between Mitigation and Preparedness
  6. Systems approach to Preparedness

Emergency management is a science of reaction. This means that it is based on an event happening and a response being given. Whether it be a manmade disaster or threat to a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a response is warranted. Throughout history several events have taken place that helped shape emergency management and disaster response. From the early 1800s to the late 2000s, disasters like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy preparedness of mitigation have played a role in the shaping of emergency management. This paper provides a brief discussion on event that have had an impact on emergency management, preparedness, mitigation, and the response system.

Development and Evolution of Emergency Management from 1800s to 2000

The concept of emergency management is based on the discipline of a risk and mitigation of that risk (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2008). Many people assume that the federal government is and has always been involved, but the truth is that it existed long before the interaction of the government. It existed at lower levels. The development of emergency management has been dependent upon catastrophes, threats, risks, and events that have influenced the economy, citizens, and infrastructure. Different efforts, failed and successful, helped support the creation of agencies and policy like the Union Fire Company of 1736, Congressional Act of 1803, American Red Cross, Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950, Federal Response Plan, and National Response Framework. These are only a few of the historical events that changed the industry of emergency management (Technical Response, 2013). Events like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, tsunamis in Japan, 9/11 attacks, and wildfires provide the framework needed for preparedness.

Impacts of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina on Emergency Management

Terrorist attacks are unpredictable and as seen in the 9/11 attacks can be unexpected. Generally, the target of attacks are announced as to who the target is and why they are being targeted. These attacks are politically driven and therefore are aimed at political figures or symbolic figures (Chung, 2013). Before September 11, 2001 continuity plans had been geared towards natural disasters. However, the events of 9/11 proved that there were vulnerabilities that existed in the infrastructure of the government. This event exposed risks in both the public and private sectors. The shock that came with the attack pushed for policy changes and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and realignment of FEMA (Agility Recovery, N.d.). The attack on the United States on September 11th changed the direction in which emergency management was focused.

The term civil defense turned to civil protection during the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Not too long after the attacks Hurricane Katrina struck the nation. It was one disaster after the next. Early morning on August 29, 2005, the Gulf Coast was struck with a Category 5 hurricane given the name Katrina. The storm itself was bad, but the worst part was the aftermath of the storm. Levees and seawalls were built by the Army Corps of Engineers as a preventative measure to another flood along the Mississippi River. However, the surrounding lakes were not as strong. There were breaches in levees leading to floods and causing more than $100 billion in damages (, 2009). The storm revealed failures in the government’s response. Criticism towards the government, federal and local, was given for slow and inadequate responses as well as the failure of the levees (, 2009). The failures of Hurricane Katrina led to the initiation of reforms for a better prepared response and the erection of new levees and floodwalls.

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Impacts of Hurricane Sandy on Emergency Management

Hurricane Sandy affected New Jersey on 29th October, 2012. The Superstorm produced a record storm surge and widespread flooding that affected the highly-vulnerable and densely-populated northern US East Coast. It was the second-largest Atlantic storm on record. The effects of the storm were devastating and extensive as it led to power interruptions and destruction of thousands of homes with at least 162 deaths being recorded (FEMA, 2013). It had an important impact on emergency management (FEMA, 2013). The storm revealed weaknesses as far as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducts its emergency response and preparedness. First off, it revealed that FEMA needs to change how it coordinates with federal partners, how it supports states, and local officials as well as disaster survivors (FEMA, 2013). It also showed that FEMA needs to integrate with the whole community. Lastly, it also highlighted how FEMA needs to change in terms of preparation and deployment of the workforce (Homeland Security, 2016). In sum, Sandy helped reveal some weaknesses in the current national emergency management framework that will help in better emergency preparedness for future emergencies.

The Concept of Mitigation

Mitigation relates to the reduction of the impacts of a hazard or threat through sustained action (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2008). It entails reduction or elimination of the risks to property and people from hazards and their consequences. Mitigation ensures a long-term solution for risks. Mitigation has financial benefits. According to Haddow et al. (2008), for every one dollar invested in mitigation efforts, four dollars saved in terms of future losses. Depending on the scope and type of disaster the costs saved could go up to $8 (Haddow et al., 2008). Although mitigation efforts exist at all levels of government, the private sector is also slowly taking up mitigation efforts seriously. Mitigation exists at every level. At the family level, shelter plans in the events of tornadoes or hurricanes are mitigation approaches. At the national level, the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group or the MitFLG coordinates the efforts of mitigation across the Federal government (Homeland Security, 2016). It entails local, state, and federal government representatives. The non-MitFLG members are also integrated in mitigation to ensure the incorporation of the federal efforts across the entire community. The FEMA plays an integral role of coordinating federal mitigation policy and ensuring the effectiveness of the mitigation capacities as they are deployed throughout the nation (Haddow et al., 2008). Some of the federal mitigation programs include the Community Development Block Grant program, Small Business Administration and Economic Development Administration financial incentives, and the National Flood Insurance program (Haddow et al., 2008).

The Difference between Mitigation and Preparedness

Preparedness is the state of readiness to respond to any type of crisis, disaster, or emergency situation (Homeland Security, 2015). As such, it is different from mitigation, which only entails the efforts to reduce the impacts or consequences of a hazard. As opposed to preparedness that is fixated on achieving short-term solutions to reducing risks of hazards, mitigation focuses on long-term solutions. Also, mitigation is not considered as part of the emergency phase as is the case with disaster preparedness (Haddow et al., 2008). In this respect, mitigation strategies are only part of the recovery phase, and as part of the strategy to reduce the risks or impacts through time. Mitigation also draws the support and involvement of a multiprofessional team approach. Mostly teams comprising of business community, planners, building experts, community leaders, and politicians are involved (Haddow et al., 2008).

Following the recent development and advancement of preparedness, it is considered a building block of emergency management. It is so because there is no emergency management organization that can thrive without having a resilient preparedness capacity (Haddow et al., 2008). Preparedness builds the functionality and capacity of emergency management organizations, which is often realized through planning, exercising, and training (Haddow et al., 2008).

Systems approach to Preparedness

The preparedness planning cycle is systematic and cyclical. It entails assessment, planning, preparation, and evaluation stages, in the respective order. Organizations must commence by the assessment of the threats to a business or to a jurisdiction (Haddow et al., 2008). The categorization of the types of threats or disasters then lead to the next phase that entails the assessment of the level of preparedness or vulnerability (Haddow et al., 2008). The preparedness cycle is cyclical because it defines the subsequent steps that must be undertaken by the jurisdictions or organizations either when prepared or not. It also ensures regular assessments to ensure that changes are incorporated as relevant. The systems approach to preparedness helps in ensuring that the emergency management apparatus is prepared and has the capacity to respond to any risks (Haddow et al., 2008). Also, it ensures the proper working of the components of preparation cycle for proper functioning.

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Development and Evolution of Emergency Management: Analytical Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
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