Emergency and Disaster Planning and Management

Emergency and Disaster Planning and Management

Student’s Name

Institutional Affiliation




Emergency and Disaster Planning and Management

Emergencies from natural disasters are expected to increase in the future. Climate change threatens to increase the frequency and severity of natural hazards in the United States (Stults, 2017). Therefore, knowledge in emergency and disaster planning and management is critical for improved response efficacy of first responders and disaster management professionals. Besides, terrorism remains a threat that could aggravate the severity and magnitude of emergencies that Americans are likely to experience. This is despite the significant counter-terrorism efforts taken by the American government and the integration of terrorism into the country’s emergency and disaster management. I will demonstrate that I am familiar with the current knowledge in emergency and disaster management as I prepare for further studies in this area.

CO-1: Synthesize the Basic Theories of the Field of Emergency Management

Emergency management is a broad discipline that incorporates concepts from diverse disciplines, which indicates its multidisciplinary nature. Although the emergency management field is evolving fast as its conceptualization and theorization develop and advances, there are basic theories and theoretical models and frameworks that are used to explain its diverse dimensions and elements. Decision theory is about how individuals and institutions, as agents, reason when making choices (Zhang, Wang, & Wang, 2018). Emergency management involved the making of critical decisions advocating certain choices over others, provided the selected choices deliver the optimum intended results. Systems theory explains the interactive processes that influence each other over time and space to ensure the system components are advancing the functionality of the entire system (Liu, Chen & Chen, 2021). In emergency management, our vulnerability to disasters is influenced by several aspects of the surrounding environment, including cultural, political, technological, social, organizational, infrastructural, and economic aspects (Cao, et al., 2018). In turn, these factors influence the effectiveness of emergency management strategies. In addition, management theories explain how managers organize their businesses and organizations and the ideas behind their approaches aspects (Cao, et al., 2018). In this case, these theories explain how emergency managers organize their disaster/emergency management activities. They explain how emergency managers can address disasters, as organizational and political challenges, as sway public opinion to reduce vulnerability through strategic planning and effective leadership. Further, behavioral theories explain how people respond to the environment and learn such responses through experience. In emergency management, behavioral theories, such as the theory of planned behavior (TPB), can explain disaster preparedness as a component of emergency management (Ejeta, Ardalan & Paton, 2015). These theories explain our behavior in response to emergencies and disastrous events. I am familiar with these theories, having trained as an intelligence specialist and worked with the US Navy for 8 years, and a federal agent for 12 years, and accumulating over 25 years of professional experience. I have used these theories when training US Navy and US Air Force compatriots to ensure that they understand the theoretical foundations that inform our national emergency management mandate. 

CO-2: Differentiate the Concepts of Hazard Analysis, Mitigation, Planning, Response, and Recovery

Although hazard analysis, mitigation, planning, response, and recovery are critical aspects of emergency management, they differ conceptually. Nonetheless, these concepts have inherent activities that are performed sequentially in the management of emergencies and disasters. Hazard analysis is the first process in disaster management because it evaluates the vulnerabilities of the community by identifying the threat they face and their nature (Cameron et al., 2017). This informs the planning and preparedness of probable disasters that could occur in the future. Emergency or disaster mitigation follows and is informed by the findings of the hazard analysis. Mitigation is synonymous with planning because it identifies the actions and activities that need to be carried out in the event of an emergency or disaster. The aim of this phase of emergency management is to secure lives and properties by proposing and taking actions that mitigate the long-term risks from disasters (Jones & Kovacich, 2019). However, while hazard analysis and mitigation and planning are conducted before an emergency or disaster occurs, emergency response and disaster recovery are phases of emergency management that are conducted during and after an emergency or disaster. In this regard, while response involves undertaking emergency operations to save lives and property while and immediately after an emergency occurs, recovery aims at rebuilding community systems to return life to normality after a disaster occurs, as stipulated in the 6 US code 313 that established the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Law Information Institute, n.d.). My training in emergency support function (ESF) 13 equipped me with emergency management concepts and principles and enables me to differentiate between the different emergency management concepts explained in this section. I understand the role of enforcing law and order during disasters. Specifically, law enforcement helps people in distress while apprehending those who take undue advantage of desperate situation with criminality. I my experience, I have learned that emergency situations require law enforcement professionals as some of the first responders.

CO-3: Evaluate the Organizations and Processes of International Disaster Response

The international organizations that respond to disasters include united nation’s agencies, such as the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Program (WFP), and World Health Organization (WHO), among others, and other organizations, like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (Caron, Kelly & Telesetsky, 2014). These organizations usually come together following a disaster as mandated by the United Nations Charter, and their activities are coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in collaboration with local agencies at the location of the disaster (Gareis, 2012). Notably, the United Nations has a disaster management team (UNDMT), which brings together diverse stakeholders drawn from governmental and nongovernmental agencies. However, this team focuses on adapting to climate change and reducing disaster risks through technical support. This helps develop resilient communities above to address natural disasters way before they occur or deliver their deleterious effects. In the same vein, at the regional level, regional bodies, like the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which coordinate and participate in disaster responses in their affiliate countries (United Nations, 2008).

The processes of international disaster response are complicated by several issues, including the lack of or outdated national legislation regarding international assistance, national pride, authoritarian regimes, and government impropriety. International disaster responses are activated upon the placement of a formal request for international assistance by the national government of the country in which the disaster has occurred (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2017). If the international request is not forthcoming and the nature of the disaster is huge, international law, specifically, international disaster relief law (IDRL), is evoked to save human lives (Picard, 2017). However, depending on the international relations of the country experiencing the emergency or disaster, the international response has been inequitable. In turn, some countries that are viewed favorably by the international community receive more, better, and immediate international assistance, while countries that are viewed negatively are not assisted externally, and are left to suffer the effects of the emergencies and disasters unassisted.

In addition, the type of emergency or disaster influences the likelihood of receiving international assistance. Emergencies from natural disasters attract higher assistance while armed conflicts attract less participation of the international community (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2017). Therefore, it is no surprise that some countries with repressive regimes not favored by the international community to not invoke the international community into action whenever they experience disasters, particularly from terrorism and violent conflicts. Currently, there are several humanitarian emergencies globally that are receiving no or suboptimal emergency response assistance from the international community. Examples include Afghanistan and Ethiopia, which are experiencing civil strife, fomenting enormous humanitarian crises affecting innocent civilians (Hailu, 2021).

However, the challenges presented by selective and uncoordinated response to and natural disasters and the humanitarian crises they cause, are being addressed by the international disaster relief law (IDRL) (Picard, 2017). This is an initiative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which is aimed at improving humanitarian response to emergencies (Picard, 2017). This project is informed by the increasing cases and severity of humanitarian crises following the occurrence of natural disasters. Although the law is expected to guide international emergency responses and management, it emphasizes oversighting and regulating disaster responses of local authorities and ensuring that they account for the relief assistance they receive. In the course of my work as an intelligence specialist, I have interacted with some of these agencies under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. I fully understand the need for a multidisciplinary and multiagency approach to emergency management, with some of it including working with international agencies. Having worked with the US Navy, I experienced the first multidisciplinary approach when I had to train US Air Force cadets in measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT). I believe that this translocation of knowledge between military departments can be translated to civilian situations involving emergencies and disasters. 

CO-4: Discern How Terrorism Impacts the Emergency Management Field

Although terrorism has threatened the security of innocent people for a long time and invoked emergency responses whenever such incidences occurred, the terrorism act of September 11, 2001 on American soil dramatically and irreversibly changed emergency management. The 9/11 event demonstrated the huge catastrophe that terrorism can deliver on innocent civilians and critical infrastructure when absurd tactics like bombing civilian buildings and using public utilities, like planes, to conduct terrorism (Jones & Kovacich, 2019). It also demonstrated the extreme levels which terrorism could explore and the enormous humanitarian crisis, fatalities, and destruction of property it could deliver. Indeed, this event marked the turning point of emergency management as it inspired the inclusion of terrorism as a risk that could cause an emergency, and thus requiring comprehensive emergency management (Jones & Kovacich, 2019).

Terrorism can create a disaster when the attack targets critical infrastructure. For instance, a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant can create a radioactive hazard that can injure and kill scores of people, and have long-lasting effects on their health (United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2020). Similarly, and attack on a hydroelectric power dam can cause massive flooding alongside interrupt electric power to critical installations, such as hospitals. In addition, terrorism targeting social gatherings, such as sporting tournaments, conferences, national celebrations, and the like, can cause massive human casualties and destruction property. For these reasons, emergency management now included the management of terrorist attacks, which include the protection of critical infrastructure to prevent their damage upon a terrorist attack and security in large social gatherings (Chung, 2013). Besides, counterterrorism is now part of emergency management. In the United States, the 9/11 incident inspired the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the downgrading of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with emergency management attention shifting from civil defense to civil protection (Chung, 2013). In addition, the mandate of FEMA was expanded to recognizing disaster diversity using the all hazards approach (Chung, 2013). Working with the US Navy as an intelligence specialist, and thereafter as a federal agent criminal investigator, I have been exposed to counter-terrorist efforts in the United States and globally, and their importance in contemporary emergency management. I confess that I am conversant with the link between terrorism and emergency management, since it is my area of professional specialty. For instance, I have used and trained military personnel in measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), which is critical in counterterrorism efforts and emergency management. Besides, my analytical skills include imagery analysis for civilian clients, which I find useful in analyzing risks and hazards, preparing, responding, and recovering from disasters and emergencies.

CO-5: Integrate the Concepts to Local Planning and Execution of Disaster Response Operations

Although countries have national emergency response plans and guidelines, these have to be adopted by the local authorities in order to implement disaster management at the local levels. Therefore, the concepts of emergency management must be adapted to the local situation, thus requiring local planning. In the United States, the emergency management plans formulated by the federal agency, FEMA, must be considerate of local situations, and therefore, inform local planning to ensure that agencies and teams can respond effectively to localized emergencies and disasters (Municipal Research and Services Center, 2021). In turn, local planning is conducted at the lowest political subdivision in a state, which could be a county, town or city, as provided in the state legislation (Municipal Research and Services Center, 2021). Besides, a collaborative multiagency and departmental approach is recommended even at the local level to ensure that all stakeholders are incorporated and own the plans. The endpoint of the planning activity is the development of the comprehensive emergency management plans (CEMPs).

Executing disaster response operations is often conducted at the local level, although it may be coordinated at the state or national level, depending with the magnitude and severity of the emergency or disaster. In executing these operations, comprehensive emergency plans (CEMPs) are critical guides, as required by law (Municipal Research and Services Center, 2021). These plans must have all the components of emergency management, including risk analysis, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery components, and must be updated regularly to accommodate new hazards and risks, and changing emergency situations. Besides, the national incident management system (NIMS), which brings together multidisciplinary and multi-jurisdictional teams together to manage emergencies and disasters, should be adopted at the local level, if the local authorities and governments are to receive federal grants to fund their preparedness programs (Municipal Research and Services Center, 2021). These plans also have critical components, such as continuity of government (COG) and the continuity of operations (COOP), which ensure that the local governments are prepared to continue functioning in the event of an emergency or disaster. I appreciate the need to plan and implement the emergency management plans at the local level because these are the locations that experience most impact from disasters. I feel that making and implementing emergency management plans at the local level is the best approach because it impacts the most aggrieved people during a disaster event. I would employ my analytical and planning skills as a Federal Agent Criminal Investigator in emergency management planning. A critical consideration in these skills is ensuring that all fast responders and stakeholders are familiar with their mandates and contribution to the entire emergency response whenever a disaster or emergency occurs. I have collaborative skills and have developed valuable interagency networks that would help streamline interagency and interdisciplinary responses to emergencies and disasters at the local level.


This discussion has elaborate my knowledge and experience in emergency management. I believe that my skills and experience as an intelligence specialist and having worked with the United States military is an added advantage to becoming an emergency management professional. My current position as a Federal Agent Criminal Investigator, and my past experiences as a federal agent and intelligent analyst have honed my disaster management skills. Besides, my training in emergency response as a first responder by the American Red Cross and Emergency Support Function #13 have prepared me to take up advanced emergency management courses and handle critical disaster situations.    


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Cao, J., Zhu, L., Han, H., & Zhu, X. (2018). Modern emergency management. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

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