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Topic: Do We Expect Too Much in Disaster Management/Homeland Security and Course Reflection Time?
Based on your readings from the text and your own research, do you think the average citizen expects too much from the various levels of government when it comes to disaster management or terrorism related matters? Consider all 4 phases of disaster management. Why do you think citizens are the way you think they are? Does government over promise and under deliver?
Finally, share your thoughts about the course. Did this course cause you to change your mind or opinion about anything related to homeland security? What was it? Why or why not? Maybe something was reinforced—if so, explain. What was the most important thing you learned in this course and why?
National Preparedness Goal
The National Preparedness Goal defines what it means for the whole community to be prepared for all types of disasters and emergencies. The goal itself is succinct:
“A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”
These risks include events such as natural disasters, disease pandemics, chemical spills and other manmade hazards, terrorist attacks and cyber-attacks.
National Preparedness System
Every day, we take steps to keep our nation safe and ensure that we thrive after disasters occur. Whether we face risks related to earthquakes, cyber-attacks or chemical spills, our goal is shared: safety and resilience.
The National Preparedness System outlines an organized process for everyone in the whole community to move forward with their preparedness activities and achieve the National Preparedness Goal.
The National Preparedness System has six parts:
Identifying and Assessing Risk. This part involves collecting historical and recent data on existing, potential and perceived threats and hazards. The results of these risk assessments form the basis for the remaining steps.
Estimating Capability Requirements. Next, you can determine the specific capabilities and activities to best address those risks. Some capabilities may already exist and some may need to be built or improved. FEMA provides a list of core capabilities related to protection, prevention, mitigation, response and recovery, the five mission areas of preparedness.
Building and Sustaining Capabilities. This involves figuring out the best way to use limited resources to build capabilities. You can use the risk assessment to prioritize resources to address the highest probability or highest consequence threats.
Planning to Deliver Capabilities. Because preparedness efforts involve and affect the whole community, it’s important that you coordinate your plans with other organizations. This includes all parts of the whole community: individuals, businesses, nonprofits, community and faith-based groups, and all levels of government.
Validating Capabilities. Now it’s time to see if your activities are working as intended. Participating in exercises, simulations or other activities helps you identify gaps in your plans and capabilities. It also helps you see progress toward meeting preparedness goals.
Reviewing and Updating. It is important to regularly review and update all capabilities, resources and plans. Risks and resources evolve—and so should your preparedness efforts.
Reviewing and Updating. It is important to regularly review and update all capabilities, resources and plans. Risks and resources evolve—and so should your preparedness efforts
National Response Framework (NRF) Components
The National Response Framework is a guide to how the Nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies. It is built on scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts identified in the National Incident Management System to align key roles and responsibilities across the Nation. This Framework describes specific authorities and best practices for managing incidents that range from the serious but purely local to large-scale terrorist attacks or catastrophic natural disasters. The National Response Framework describes the principles, roles and responsibilities, and coordinating structures for delivering the core capabilities required to respond to an incident and further describes how response efforts integrate with those of the other mission areas. This Framework is always in effect and describes the doctrine under which the Nation responds to incidents. The structures, roles, and responsibilities described in this Framework can be partially or fully implemented in the context of a threat or hazard, in anticipation of a significant event, or in response to an incident. Selective implementation of National Response Framework structures and procedures allows for a scaled response, delivery of the specific resources and capabilities, and a level of coordination appropriate to each incident. The Response mission area focuses on ensuring that the Nation is able to respond effectively to all types of incidents that range from those that are adequately handled with local assets to those of catastrophic proportion that require marshaling the capabilities of the entire Nation. The objectives of the Response mission area define the capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, meet basic human needs, stabilize the incident, restore basic services and community functionality, and establish a safe and secure environment to facilitate the integration of recovery activities.
The Response mission area includes 15 core capabilities: planning; public information and warning; operational coordination; critical transportation; environmental response/health and safety; fatality management services; fire management and suppression; infrastructure systems; logistics and supply chain management; mass care services; mass search and rescue operations; on scene security, protection, and law enforcement; operational communications; public health, healthcare, and emergency medical services; and situational assessment.
The priorities of the Response mission area are to save lives, protect property and the environment, stabilize the incident, and provide for basic human needs. The following principles establish fundamental doctrine for the Response mission area: engaged partnership; tiered response; scalable, flexible, and adaptable operational capabilities; unity of effort through unified command; and readiness to act.
Scalable, flexible, and adaptable coordinating structures are essential in aligning the key roles and responsibilities to deliver the Response mission area’s core capabilities. The flexibility of such structures helps ensure that communities across the country can organize response efforts to address a variety of risks based on their unique needs, capabilities, demographics, governing structures, and non-traditional partners. This Framework is not based on a one-size-fits-all organizational construct, but instead acknowledges the concept of tiered response, which emphasizes that response to incidents should be handled at the lowest jurisdictional level capable of handling the mission.
National Incident Management System (NIMS)
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamlessly and manage incidents involving all threats and hazards—regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity—in order to reduce loss of life, property and harm to the environment. The NIMS is the essential foundation to the National Preparedness System (NPS) and provides the template for the management of incidents and operations in support of all five National Planning Frameworks. Use the images below for direct links to all pages within the NIMS website.
The purpose of the NIMS is to provide a common approach for managing incidents. The concepts contained herein provide for a flexible but standardized set of incident management practices with emphasis on common principles, a consistent approach to operational structures and supporting mechanisms, and an integrated approach to resource management.
Incidents typically begin and end locally, and they are managed daily at the lowest possible geographical, organizational, and jurisdictional level. There are other instances where success depends on the involvement of multiple jurisdictions, levels of government, functional agencies, and/or emergency-responder disciplines. These instances necessitate effective and efficient coordination across this broad spectrum of organizations and activities. By using NIMS, communities are part of a comprehensive national approach that improves the effectiveness of emergency management and response personnel across the full spectrum of potential threats and hazards (including natural hazards, terrorist activities, and other human-caused disasters) regardless of size or complexity.
Incident Command System (ICS)
The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient domestic incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. ICS is normally structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: command, operations, planning, logistics, Intelligence & Investigations, finance and administration. It is a fundamental form of management, with the purpose of enabling incident managers to identify the key concerns associated with the incident—often under urgent conditions—without sacrificing attention to any component of the command system.