Are Emergency Response Assessments Missing the Mark?

Are Emergency Response Assessments Missing the Mark?

No long term business endeavor can successfully be sustained without regular structured assessment. Emergency response is no different. In fact it may be more important to accurately assess emergency response programs. Emergency response does not generate income, nor is generating income a goal of emergency response programs. Therefore it differs from private business in that a simple bottom line fiscal evaluation does not exist. It is quite possible that a private business can generate profit while not being run at its most efficient levels. The goal is often to make money, not provide the absolute best product. An emergency response organization has a goal of doing their best. They are evaluated by not only what they do, but also on their capabilities to provide expertise and care that may never be needed. How do you assess an organization’s ability to do something they don’t do regularly, if at all? How do you assess an organization’s ability to do something they have never done? Capability Assessment for Readiness and Emergency Response The answer to those questions is in what the Federal Emergency Management Agency calls Capability Assessment for Readiness or CAR. While it may be called by different names, the emergency response community uses capability assessments as the standard for determining the readiness of responders. Most people will say that our responders are doing their best. This is true, in that they are doing their best given the systems they are given to operate within. Would they do better if they used systems that were more accurately assessed, that were modernized regularly, and that used the latest technology had to offer to make them more...
Decision Making in Emergency Response

Decision Making in Emergency Response

Emergency Response could be stated quite simply as problem solving.  Emergencies are typically complex problems with dire consequences that must be solved in a very short amount of time to limit damage to people, property and environment.  The FEMA Emergency Management Higher Education Project College Course Instructor Guide states that an emergency is defined as “An unexpected event which places life and/or property in danger and requires an immediate response through the use of routine community resources and procedures”.  This paper will discuss problem solving and the decision making models used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency among others.  Several examples of how those models have been utilized in real life incidents will be offered.  Some analysis of the effects of those decisions will be made. The Emergency Response Decision Making Model The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) utilizes a five step model that works in a cycle in its modeling of proper decision making.  According to FEMA the five steps of the basic model are: 1-Determining the Problem, 2-Listing Alternative Solutions, 3-Choosing one Alternative, 4-Implementing the Solution and 5-Evaluating the Solution. This basic model can be used for individual or group decision making.  It must be adapted in crisis situations which place more obstacles in the way of the decision making process.  Important aspects of effective decision making are that they contain the three key factors in crisis decision making: Clear values, quality information and an analytical approach.   A motor vehicle accident is a routine emergency situation faced by emergency responders across the country on a daily basis.  Below is how the decision making process unfolds through...
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