Fire departments respond to disasters of all sizes in an endless attempt to keep the public safe. We rely on these first responders to be prepared for any type of situation and to do their best to contain it. Disaster management is the training and execution of policies that all first responders must master to complete their jobs. The concept behind disaster management is to reduce risk, diminish the effects of disasters, prepare for, respond to and help communities recover from disasters.
First responders have to always anticipate disasters in every situation. They must examine a situation from every possible angle and predict possible consequences. Properly preparing and responding as soon as possible reduces the impact on vulnerable populations and avoids casualties. Preparing for a disaster needs to be designed in a realistic and coordinated manner with as little confusion or generalizations as possible. Participating in drills and preparedness activities will increase the chances of success in any situation.
Responding to a disaster in a quick and organized manner will result in less loss of life and less damage to property. Citizens are often traumatized or injured by a disaster and often need a large amount of assistance. Citizens can be left without proper shelter, food or other necessities and it is the job of first responders to assist them. The initial steps in responding to a disaster of any kind is to subside the immediate danger and to stabilize the situation. Once citizens are out of harm’s way and the situation is stabilized, first responders are able to care for those who need help.
There is no time frame or scale determining how long it takes for a community to recover from a disaster. One to six months is the typical search and rescue phase. The time after is dedicated to healing the physical and emotional damage of a community. First responders must also take into consideration the aftermath of a disaster. In natural disasters such as earthquakes, aftershocks can cause considerable destruction and responders must continue to be on guard and prepared.
What You Can Do
Firefighters and other first responders are trained to contain and stabilize a community once disaster strikes, which could save the lives of your loved ones. It is important to support and help them in whatever way possible to ensure that they can do their jobs efficiently. Creating a disaster management plan with your family in your own home is the best way to aid emergency responders. You can do this by creating a fire escape plan and a safe meeting place outside the home if your family was to ever be separated. You can also show your support to firefighters and first responders by purchasing apparel such as wristbands to show everyone that you stand with them.