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Literature Review on the topic of Disaster and Emergency Management Systems
Disasters are the regular companions of the mankind. They bring losses and devastation, ruin crops and take people’s lives. The list of cities that have been destroyed is endless and reminds people of the fact that nature is forever with us. Nevertheless, man’s activity and ambitions seem to have no boundaries. Such catastrophes as Chernobyl, the explosions on the Piper Alpha, and other numerous fires are the results of human negligence. The one thing is certain: disasters are likely to happen but where and when is the question. Thus, disaster and emergency management in the form of planning, integration, and cooperation of public and private services are efficient in disaster managing. For example, the speed with which London returned to normal life after the explosions in 2005 was the result of the accurate planning of response to such incidents. Actually, decision-making and the flow of information are two key things for efficient and effective disaster management.
The paper called, “Technological disaster stages and management” states that there are three stages of any disaster such as before, during, and after it. The pre-disaster stage is also known as an incubation phase. Disaster stage is the disaster itself in the form of fire, explosions, or toxic releases. Post-disaster stage follows it immediately and deals with its consequences. Disaster management refers to planning and reaction to a disaster, its consequences, and risks. The author states that the disaster management cycle consists of the warning, threat, impact, inventory, rescue, remedy, and recovery. Moreover, it consists of such phases as alert, preparedness, response, prevention, mitigation, and rehabilitation. Mitigation includes the activities aimed at the prevention of emergency. Preparedness means the focus on the reaction to the disaster and planning of actions in case of it. The response is a chain of actions taken when a disaster takes place. And, finally, recovery is the actions aimed at normalizing the habitual way of life after a disaster.
In the work called “Do all crises have to become disasters? Risk and risk mitigation” explains that risks frequently create a crisis. When a crisis is left without attention, it becomes a disaster. Any type of disaster can lead to serious consequences for an organization and hinders its operation. The author is sure that to prepare for a crisis, a company or organization should develop emergency plans and have a clear view of technical and behavioral actions to perform in case of any disaster. There are several strategies that help limit the risk. Having safety organizational culture, no-blame reports on incidents, sets of rules and norms for dealing with problems with safety, monitoring technology and the staff, educate them and train, use specialists who are trained for handling problems, etc. The organization must be prepared for a crisis and develop all preventive measures.
Tony Moore in his book “Disaster and Emergency Management Systems” is sure that to provide an efficient reaction to any disaster or emergency, all organizations should elaborate the worst-case scenario. To enable a logical and consistent framework for a DEMS, everything should be done in a constructive fashion. In addition, preparations depend on the size of the organization. Successful management in case of disaster or emergency also relies on the partnership among government, the general community, the emergency services, the private sector, and non-governmental agencies. The author insists that to build efficient DEMS, the following actions are the key ones. The organization should assess what activities are needed for them and what could jeopardize and develop strategies for their prevention. Develop plans to cope with all the consequences and ensure that they will work. Improve the system of communication and information flow that will cope with the flood of calls and messages. Finally, when the dust has settled, the lessons should be considered to prevent the previous type of situations ever. Actually, before the disaster, an organization should assess possible risks and damages, select and train those who will help to respond to the incident, develop realistic plans and provide with necessary equipment. After the identification of the emergency and proper response, the management team should demonstrate their courage and skills, as well as people who are responsible for dealing with the states of emergency, should show professionalism and morale.
“Tolley’s Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Management” by Tony Moore and Raj Lakha provides the description of the development process of Disaster and Emergency Management Systems. The authors emphasize that each organization has to develop its own DEMS taking into consideration external and internal factors. External factors are the natural environment, societal factors, government and political factors, legal factors, sources of information issues, and technological factors. Internal factors include resource factors, design, architecture, corporate culture, etc. only after analyzing both types of factors; the organization should establish a Disaster and Emergency Policy that intends to cope with the incident. The authors of the book do not depict either American or British DEMS but state that the events of the eleventh of September in 2001 in New York have caused the shift in the planning, thinking, awareness and perception of the disasters made by men. The American government began to take more seriously the significance and importance of the Disaster and Emergency Management. In the UK, Disaster and Emergency Management (DEM) has evolved in three stages or phases. The first phase is marked by preparing plans and details of procedures to be followed during any disaster or emergency. The second phase is known as the liberalization phase. With the emergence of decentralization of industry and the appearance of private organizations they began to center on “Business Continuity Planning” because the effective DEM is not an isolated procedure. The third phase is called holistic. The directives emerged in 1992 introduced strict rules and duties on organizations during disasters.
J. Patrick Dobel is a teacher at the University of Washington who delivers lectures on ethics, leadership, and strategy in his essay “Mission Integrity in Disaster Management” is sure that disaster and emergency management systems shall rely on modernized facilities of early warning systems, satellite information, and efficient preparedness and readiness. Moreover, people shall make use of digital technologies to engage citizens into active participation in the course of crisis management. These actions will support relationship building, training, and making decisions principal to mission integrity. What does it mean? Mission integrity is the ability of well-trained crisis management groups to operate together to achieve the understanding of the situation, the information about all processes, and coordinate the decisions making in view of priorities. One of the problems is that public administration very rarely supports crisis infrastructure able to withstand great force or pressure. The authorities should create a mobile and effective network of trained teams that can be gathered together to cope with any kind of stressful situation and retain courage of helpful decision making in the environment of chaos. At all levels, systems of rules governing affairs of state certification, certification, and training deepen the potential for collaboration. Numerous media warning systems placed in various places increase the possibility of dealing with disasters. Universal sensor systems that work on a regular basis are very helpful because they deliver information during a disaster and help monitor the course of it. J. Patrick Dobel calls extensive and robust communication systems the backbone of the system because new cloud computing will provide with necessary geospatial and demographic data that will ensure the flexibility of command structures. Undoubtedly, the avalanche of information from the numerous electronic sources can make panic and rumors; however, the communication strategy and political incentives will combat scare and panic. The disorganized nature of disasters and their uncertainty will make the collaboration based on the trusting relations and social capital. Thus, this new approach will involve citizens and make them active participants in controlling the crisis. The model of successful managing the crisis will rely on the collaborators and the network of technologies that in cooperation will provide the necessary result.
Ihab Hanna Salman Sawalha is the head of the Risk Management Department at the American University of Madaba in Jordan. In the essay “Organizational Performance and Business Continuity Management” a Theoretical Perspective and a Case Study”, the author discusses the strategic view of business continuity management (BCM) and its role in organizational performance (OP), and how BCM can improve and optimize OP. The theory is illustrated by the case study of Jordanian banks. One of the most important things is to understand how the effects of BCM on organizational performance and that BCM improve the firm’s ability to resist risks. The author states that OP can be improved by increasing working hours, educating people, using incentives and appraisals but BCM also occupies the important place in this process. The banking industry faces a wide range of risks that threaten their operations and survival. Jordan banks are not separated from the international business environment and, therefore, encounter similar risks. Moreover, Jordan banks are not protected from the domestic threats in the form of inflation, budget deficit, and changes in the sector of lending and borrowing rates, etc. All this factors influence the OP and business continuity in a negative way. Actually, BCM has the definition of a holistic management process that finds out potential threats and risks to an organization and provides the base for building organizational capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. BCM is not a group of activities but an integral process aimed at the organizational capability for effective reaction to risks and crises. The author of the essay describes how BCM elements can improve OP. Effectiveness is the term that refers to the degree of successful accomplishment of the company its business. To enhance organizational effectiveness means to understand better the key operations of an organization, its structure and how it functions. Organizational efficiency is how the organization uses resources. In other words, it demonstrates the organizational ability to work effectively and use the minimum things for it. The author states that this element can be supported by constant monitoring of the firm’s resources that also contributes to the better understanding of the firm itself. Quality is how the organization complies with laws, rules, and standards, and behaves according to the traditional standards. To improve quality means to adopt international recognition and certification. Innovation means how well the company accepts and uses the better and modern functional products. BCM practice in this aspect depends on the creation of various teams that will be responsible for new ideas and new options. To sum up, the author insists that OP depends on and supported by BCM strategies that improve its overall performance and provides the resilience.
The essay of Ihab H. Sawalha and John R. Anchor who is Director of the Emerging Markets Research Group at the University of Huddersfield Business School is called, “Business Continuity Management in Emerging Markets: the Case of Jordan” focuses on the role of BCM in emerging markets and the risks they face. EMs are becoming the drivers of the global economy, nevertheless, they face numerous risks that hinder their development. Jordan organizations face the same risk because it is a small but open country that is characterized by having a risky, dynamic, and politically unstable environment. The major risks in Jordan are constant financial crises, terrorism, human-made disasters and ability to recover from them, organizational culture, resilience, the traditional approach to the crisis management, etc. However, such risks can be prevented by using BCM. In the context of crises, BCM insists on the importance of collaboration and cooperation between organizations and the presence of the disaster recovery planning. The authors state that the primary cultural differences are the value of the nations. Arab culture is extremely different from the West one and is connected with the bureaucratic form of the structures of organizations. In addition, it focuses on the centralization of power and hierarchy of authority. Moreover, it is regulated and dominated by numerous rules and traditions and Islam. The authors advice if the Arab and Jordanian culture wants to acquire resilience, it should incorporate the BCM strategies and planning. It will help to defend it from risks such as terrorism and human-made disasters. BCM assesses the organizational vulnerability and its potential weaknesses to improve preparedness for any crisis. During 2005-2010, Jordan experienced the period of incorporating the strategies of BCM such as developing collaboration in crises, introducing guidelines and international standards and dedicating budget to anti-crime policies. Actually, BCM is a comprehensive and integral approach to crisis management that involves developing of preventive and proactive reactions to deal with all types of disruptions. Strategic planning is one of the most important elements of BCM that can lead to notable benefits and improvements in the organizations operating in EM. The benefits are better planning techniques, protecting organizational reputation, a better understanding of the nature of crises, etc.
One more essay by Ihab H. Sawalha and Julia Meaton, “The Arabic Culture of Jordan and its Impacts on a wider Jordanian Adoption of BCM”, adds the information on how the culture influences the adoption of BCM. Culture is important for organizations and failure to address its aspects will prevent future incorporation of BCM strategies and lead to future vulnerability to various interruptions. Many attempts were made by the Jordanian government to develop and maintain organizational culture. However, this process is quite difficult and slow because changes are the things that are accepted at a low speed within the Arab society that is rigid and resistant to them. Because the changes take place when the state, the organizations, and individuals take part. But they are possible even for such traditional society of Jordan that traces back its roots. The authors insist that it is not necessarily for an Arab culture to adopt all aspects of the Western or American ones but to take such elements that do not contradict to its values, religion, and beliefs. The Arab and Jordan cultures, in particular, should employ such systems of BCM that will ensure the full staff involvement and their awareness of their roles in crisis and their understanding of the responsibility in cooperation and communication. Organizations must develop emergency plans and provide their constant testing to examine their ability to cope with disasters. Real testing will help the staff to feel more confident and reduce panic, it will show the relevance of the plans and make people familiar with their roles.
The research called “Community Development Using a Sustainable Tourism Strategy: a Case Study of the Jordan River Valley Tourist was” was made by Mohammed Shunnaq, William A. Schwab, and Margaret F. Reid. This is the result of a ten-year work of Yarmouk and Arkansas Universities and the Jordanian government aimed at the development of a reliable tourism strategy that is independent of political and economic instability. The scientists developed a tourist way through the Jordan River Valley that includes Christian, Islamic, and natural sites and analyzed the potential of this project for the economic development of the state. The authors admit the importance of collaboration of local and central decision makers as well as the national government’s assistance in providing financial and technical support. The paper also depicts the efforts and attempts of the Jordanian government to capitalize the fabulous archeological and historical assets of the country. The country has all conditions for creation diverse system of tourism but its arid and dry climate prevents it. The authors emphasize the importance of developing community-driven tourism that encourages citizens to preserve their natural and historical sites. The community-based approach has achieved popularity among numerous developing countries because it does not require many investments. However, such strategy was criticized because, for example, in Jordan, there is a hierarchy of local leadership including tribes and clans and each of them must be involved in the decision-making. Nevertheless, the important role belongs to the national government whose role is meditating risks and developing the economy involving local levels. Improving tourism infrastructure, developing niche tourism, and unfolding of the unused resources are its primary targets as well.
Aya Okada and Kenichi Ogura in the essay “Japanese Disaster Management System: Recent Developments in Information Flow and Chains of Command” describe how Japan manages the disasters. Actually, Japan is the home to numerous types of natural disasters that bother people almost every day, thus, the key issue for the country is to find efficient and functional disaster management. The location near the Pacific Rim allows the state experience nearly twenty percent of all earthquakes around the world. Moreover, the country has recently suffered from the tsunami. Thus, the government spends fabulous sums of money for disaster management. They base their policies and plans according to the lessons learned from the previous failures. The disasters in Japan have a systematic nature, and the government developed the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act in 1961, that is the basis of disaster management in the country. In general, their disaster management has a hierarchical structure with the government at the top, then prefectural governments and, finally, municipal ones. Public agencies are primary actors that are responsible for disaster preparedness and recovery. In a case of a disaster, senior officials of such agencies are to report to the residence of the Prime Minister where the emergency team meets to gather information. In 2002, the government established a Cabinet Crisis Management Centre that has all relevant equipment for this purpose. This center is a hub for collecting information from relevant agencies. Then it analyzes information and decides on what strategies to choose to response properly to the situation. However, this system lacks integration. Unlike the United States, the disaster management organizations are not aimed at coordination and cooperation with each other. Such organizational structure prevents from a unified framework of disaster management. Each element of the vertical structure tries to think in its own interest but not in the large-scale picture of the overall reaction. Disaster medicine is also an important field that depends on timely delivered information and precise decision-making because it is essential for saving humans. It is necessary to locate accurately physicians, resources, and facilities to provide the necessary treatment. The prefectural government plays the major role in disaster medicine in case of any natural cataclysm. In a case of emergency, it sends the request to other governments or to ministries and asks for help. The Japanese system of disaster management is different from the American model. They failed to adapt the American system but Japan needs a more flexible model to be ready to cope with multiple disasters as well as nuclear threats. Many scholars see the structure of disaster management be of a high sectionalism and as an obstacle for quick and effective reaction to disasters. All regional agencies and ministries assume huge responsibilities but fail to collaborate to achieve satisfactory results.
The book “Preparing Scotland: Scottish Guidance on Preparing for Emergencies” depicts the disaster management system in Scotland. In the twenty-first century, Scotland enjoys the life of a high quality that is supported by interrelated systems. If something fails in the infrastructure, the effects pose a serious threat and risk. The authors are sure that the successful operation of all processes can be achieved when public services collaborate with communities in reacting towards disasters. The central approach of the government in the UK to crisis management is built around the notion of resilience. It means the ability to detect, prevent or recover from any crisis. In Scotland, the emergency planning and response is based on the strategies and principles of Integrated Emergency Management (IEM). The great responsibility is laid on local authorities whose task is to utilize people’s skills in response to disruptive challenges. Actually, the aim of IEM is to develop and organize flexible arrangements that will ensure effective response to any emergency. Risk assessment is the first step of risk management because it is important to have a realistic understanding of the threats for which to be prepared. Prevention is the measures to be taken to reduce or eliminate risks. Preparation for reaction and response involves raining, planning and informing people. Recovery deals with human, economic and environmental impact of a crisis. It is not a single and isolated action but a complex of measures aimed at effective response to an emergency. The Civil Contingencies Act is the main document, in which emergencies are defined and responses to them are stated.
Dobel, J. Patric, 2010. Mission integrity in disaster management. Public administration review, 1, 5182-5184.
Moore, Tony, 2008. Disaster and emergency management. 1st ed. London: n.p
Moore, Tony, 2006. Tolley’s handbook of disaster and emergency management. 3rd ed. Oxford: Elsevier Ltd.
Okada, Aya, 2014. Japanese disaster management systems: recent developments in information flow and chain of command. Journal of contingencies and crisis management, 22, 58-62.
Sawalha, Ihab Hanna Salman, 2012. The Arabic culture of Jordan and its impacts on a wider Jordanian adoption of business continuity management. Journal of business continuity and emergency planning, 6, 84 – 95.
Sawalha, Ihab Hanna Salman, 2012. Business continuity management in emerging markets: The case of Jordan. Journal of business continuity and emergency planning, 5, 327-337.
Sawalha, Ihab Hanna Salman, 2013. Organisational performance and business continuity management: a theoretical perspective and a case study. Journal of business continuity and emergency planning, 6, 360-372.
Scottish Executive, 2007. Preparing Scotland: Scottish Guidance on Preparing for Emergencies. 1st ed. Edinburgh: St. Andrew’s House.
Shunnaq, Mohammed , 2008. Community development using a sustainable tourism strategy: a case study of the Jordan River Valley Touristway. International journal of tourism research, 10, 1-14.
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