Flood hazards: impacts and responses for the built environment
What are some of the major challenges emergency managers will confront during the response phase of this disaster? Why are these problems? Why are these issues important to resolve?Finally, how can these problems be overcome by the emergency manager and other related actors or agencies?
Floods are natural occurrences which are experienced during periods of high-intensity rainfall regularly. The changes in climatic patterns changes the intensity of rain and this could lead to future occurrences of floods. The emergency managers faces a lot of problems in trying to deal with this problem during the response phase. Some of the problems include communication system, geographical position, experience in handling the problem, lack of resources to deal with the emerging problem which in this case is floods among many more(Moore & Barnes, 2004).
Communication being a very important aspect in any activity of a particular group, its importance should not be underestimated. Lack of proper communication systems during the response stage in floods would lead to poor service delivery to the affected people. The geographical position of an area would determine how fast or slow the response team arrives at the scene to help. People staying in areas that can be easily accessed by the team are always rescued easily by the team. Selecting the best team for any emergency case is always a major problem faced. Improper selection leads to poor service hence the need to always choose the best team.
The aforementioned problems can be overcome by incorporating qualified personnel into the response team. In areas with accessibility problems, the best means available should always be sought. Good communication systems is also very important because the response team works together and it’s only through proper communication that they will render the best services.
Who will be the most critical actors to arrive initially at the scene of the incident? Why are these actors so crucial? What kind of equipment and training should they possess?
The most important people to first arrive at the flood scene should be the Red Cross members, the fire fighters, health and mental volunteers. These people form the rescue teams. They help in evacuating the people from the flood invested area.
There exists two types of floods; those that occur gradually and the flash floods which may occur with little or no warning. The rescuers therefore undergo training to help curb all the two types. The most important skill one needs to know is the first aid skill and secondly how to operate a radio. Some however may also have the Swiftwater Training certificate. The people should be trained on hydrology which involves learning how water behaves when it’s moving quickly through a confined area. This helps them know to read the surface hence knowing the location of hidden materials like vehicle, concrete posts among others.
Defensive swimming is also another skill learned by the rescuers. This helps in keeping themselves safe. Working as a team is also another highly regarded skill that a person should possess. Working as teams helps the team achieve their objectives very first.
The equipment carried during the rescue process includes megaphones and whistles which assist in communications, ropes that would be used in pulling people to safety places and extra life jackets that would help keep them warm. In addition, they also have lanterns and flares for staying in touch.
What are some of the major and pressing considerations to consider when dealing with this disaster scenario? What are some hazards that will need to be assessed and overcome? Who will need to be warned or evacuated? Will transportation and shelter arrangements need to be made?
There are major considerations that should be considered when dealing with floods. The considerations include studying the flood frequency, the length of inundation and the effects of flood and role of mitigation in controlling the flood (Strahler, 1973).
In controlling floods, there are hazards which needs to be assessed. Gathering the hydrologic data directly from the nearby rivers is always very essential even though it might be time consuming. When data have been collected for quite a long time through stream gauging, then models can be used in coming up with statistical frequency of any given flood events. The importance of hazard assessments that are found based on the remote the remotely available sensing data, field observations and damage reports is that they can be used in instances when quantitative data is not available.
As mentioned earlier, the importance of determining statistical frequency is that it’s helpful in determining their probability. In areas without records for a long period of time, the assessments are always very difficult.
The people that stays near rivers or in areas that are prone to floods needs to be warned or evacuated depending on the situation of the flood. Those that stay in areas that are highly prone to floods should be evacuated. When distances that should be travelled are long, then transportation and shelter provisions ought to be made available to the affected people.
List the steps that would need to be taken starting with the most pressing needs down to the final details. How will emergency medical care be distributed? Will mass triage need to be established? Will the affected area need to be cordoned off?
The steps taken in helping solve or reduce floods and its effects include what is commonly known as the 3M approach. It involves
- Mapping (Schumann, 2011)
Failing to do what should be done on time has always thwarted the efforts of several governments, or organizations in coming up with a long lasting effect concerning floods. Complete protection from floods might however be hard but under good preparations, flood evasion is easy. The above listed points starts with planning. Prolonged warnings always makes people to be ready and hence helps them keep their belongings safe (Moore, 2004).
Emergency medical care to people affected with floods is very important and so is its distribution. The medical care equipment can be distributed through the use of helicopters in areas where other means of transportation is impossible. In instances where the flood is not extreme, then the drugs are distributed by the medical officers or the volunteers.
Mass triage needs to be established in areas where the flooding effects were extreme and a lot of people are affected. Areas under flood are likely to pose a higher threat for individuals to contract water borne diseases and hence the need for mass triage. Cordoning off an area might also be necessary so as to differentiate the flood infested areas from those that are not. Cordoned off areas are not allowed to be reached by others unless the flood subsidises.
Why is emergency management so important during this phase? Could an unorganized response actually lead to more confusion and chaos? How can resources and personnel be allocated efficiently with a central command post?
Emergency management is important in each and every stage in disaster management. However, its importance is very vital during this stage because of the following reasons. Emergency management helps overcoming the emergencies because there is always a plan for it. With a good plan in place, all is possible. Secondly, emergency management helps in knowing the best way to deal with any problem should it arise. Having a survival kit is also another way through which emergency management helps an individual during occurrences like the flood. Inside the kit there are materials that are necessary in overcoming the emergency (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2008).
Confusion and chaos arises in situations where after an emergency, there is unorganized response from the management team. This always comes as a result of lack of emergency management tips.
Having a central command post during emergencies like floods is very healthy in tackling the problem at hand efficiently. The stakeholders involved in helping solve the emergency for example floods, always assemble in the command post and work cooperatively to successfully mitigate the emergency through implementing a single incident action plan. A unified command post helps in the following ways
- Allows for specialist input whereby only specialised individuals are allowed to work on what they can handle
- It authorises each stakeholder to have input about how they believe the emergency will be managed.
Having the right command post therefore ensures that only qualified personnel are assigned certain tasks. This is because they are the ones with authorities on that field hence they can always deliver their best.
What are the initial steps that must be taken before recovery operations can take place? Why is disaster recovery so important? Should we strive to make the area better than I t was before the incident?
Recovery involves rebuilding the whole community so that the affected individuals, governments and other body can now work on their own as they resume normalcy as well as prevent them from future hazards (Clements, 2009).
The following should be done before recovery operations can take place. The officials should get clearance to enter the site. The extent of the damage should also be looked at before starting the recovery process. Those planning to undertake the recovery process should also get professional advice. Command centre for the recovery effort should also be sought before embarking on the recovery process. Another important aspect that should be looked before starting the recovery process is establishing security procedures for the recovery site. Lastly, deciding how the salvaged materials will be treated should also be looked before commencing the recovery process.
Recovering from the trauma experienced during the floods might be quite challenging for many people. Therefore proper recovery steps must be undertaken to ensure people heal appropriately. Some of the recovery efforts include; giving medical aid, providing relief which comprises of food, water etc., clearing up the area, rebuilding damaged structures, reopening schools, businesses and all those places that were affected. The disaster recovery is so important in that it attempts to bring the affected people back to normalcy. People recovering from disasters always tend to have negative views so through the use of recovery process, they are made to appreciate life once more.
The recovery team should endeavour to make the area a better place than it was. Leaving an area in the same or worse state than it was before makes people have bad feelings about such cases. Hence, the need for making an area a better place than it was before.
How can the public or non-profit organizations assist in recovery operations? Should volunteers be sought and utilized? How could public donations be collected? How could debris be recovered and removed?
The public and the non-profit organisations have been used in recovery operations. The non-profit organizations serves as health care providers, emergency shelter operations, and search and rescue team. Furthermore, they offer psychological training, as well as emergency communications. The public may also be used in assisting the affected group through being with them together. This always makes such people feel appreciated. They always feel that people are together with them even in their predicaments. The role of the public and non-profit organizations like churches cannot be underestimated.
So as to make the recovery process a success, volunteers should be utilised. Volunteers are people who are willing to offer certain assistance at no pay. These volunteers might have dealt with similar cases before and are therefore more suited to serve and help the affected people.
Those in the team should however strive to know the real volunteers. Some may volunteer with sinister motives. These people always lower or reduce the rate at which recovery process is achieved. Such people always make use of the vulnerable condition of the affected people for their own selfish gain. This vice however should be condemned.
Public donations are very helpful in helping people recover from floods and its effects. People affected by floods needs food, quick medical attention and other basic necessities. The donations from the public if not collected using the right channels, might end up not helping in the intended purpose. Special bodies should always be put in place to man the public donations.
Prompt cleaning of debris remains after the floods prevents odors, diseases. Contamination from run offs and many more. The following are some of the methods that are used to remove debris. The vegetation should be disposed of correctly. They should be handled in a manner that prevents draining into streams, ditches and other surface water sources (Lamond, 2012).
Structures that are destroyed should be managed by the property owner and contractors if the floods affected construction sites. Sediments should also be discarded as solid waste.
Whenever sewage is encountered during the debris disposal process that waste does not necessarily need to be separated. It should be disposed at a landfill mixed with other debris from the flood.
Is the management of public relations crucial during the recovery process? How could information be relayed to the public to assure them that everything that needs to be done is being done? How could some of the survivor’s mental health have been affected by the disaster? Should crisis counselors be sought to deal with the survivors and victims of the disaster?
The management of public relations is very important during the recovery process.
Good public relations enhances good recovery. When there is poor public relations, there is less that canbe done to quicken the recovery process. Consoling affected people is of utmost importance during the recovery period. The people who have been affected by floods needs to be always encouraged that all is well and that help is always underway.
Leaving people in conditions whereby they are not informed promptly, panic always arises. The best way to inform the public that all is well is by using leaders who they trust. Information which comes from a more authoritative person or a person who is experienced in a certain field holds more waters than information being rumored.
The mental health of flood survivors may at times be affected. This is mainly in instances where the floods were so much and it caused serious destructions. The survivors might have seen some of their family members drown as a result of the floods. Sometimes, they themselves might have been rescued from death narrowly.
For such people to heal completely, they need the services of a crisis counsellor for them to recover completely. The crisis counsellors are trained in dealing with problems like these and so they help the affected in overcoming the challenges they face.
How important is it to promote a culture of vulnerability reduction to prevent disasters from occurringin the first place or at least mitigating their consequences if they do occur?
Vulnerability is a set of conditions which results from physical, economic, environmental and social factors that increases a person’s susceptibility to the effects of the hazards.
Promoting the culture of vulnerability helps in preventing disasters as well as mitigating their effects. This is due to the fact that the culture of vulnerability makes people aware of the problems they are facing. When one is aware of whatever he or she is undergoing, then he or she becomes prepared for anything. Being prepared means that solutions to problems can always be found before it’s too late.
Apart from making people aware, people are also have strong coping capacity. They are always aware and so they can cope as required hence helps in preventing the disaster.
How can technology be harnessed to smooth the recovery process? What are some tools available to emergency managers for recovery operations? Could the lessons learned from this disaster response and recovery be used in the future to better help communities respond to and deal with a disaster? What are some new and possibly unexpected threats that could arise in the future?Technology can be used to create tools that will lead to faster healings. The recovery process for it to be successful, technology must be used well. With the appropriate technology in place, transportation of medicine, staffs and other essentials that are needed will be availed easily.
Tools available for use by emergency managers during the recovery process includes weather sensor and satellite, fibre optics, phones video, medical equipment. The lessons learnt from this disaster response are very helpful in dealing with future occurrences. The response when dealing with flood can be used when dealing with other types of floods. Some of the possible threats that are likely to occur during dealing with floods is the network problem. When floods occur, network connection is always tampered with. This happens to be the unexpected threats in when dealing with floods. Network unavailability hinders smooth communication.
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