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8-1 Activity: Disaster Recovery Recommendation

Background of Disaster or Emergency

My selected case is a natural disaster that occurred in Florida on September 10, 2017 (FEMA, 2021). Hurricane Irma was a category four with wind speeds of 130 mph, which made landfall and heavy rain. This hurricane caused major damage to the community, and many houses were destroyed or uninhabitable (FEMA, 2021). There were significant impacts on agriculture and power. Many people experience power outages, which caused more deaths.

According to the CDC (2019), 7 million residents were evacuated, 6.7 million utility customers lost power, and 123 people die due to injuries directly or indirectly related to the hurricane.

Role of Federal Response Agencies

After the hurricane, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) along with the states of Florida implemented the Coordinated Place-Based Recovery Support (CPBRS) initiative program. The goal of the program was to provide other organizations with the recovery resources needed with respect to the community’s needs, local recovery leadership outcome, and goals (FEMA, 2021). The federal agency’s involvement impacts the overall emergency response management in Hurricane Irma by providing local agencies with technical assistance, financial assistance, and resources in identifying the needs of the hardest-hit communities (FEMA, 2021).

The coordination between the federal agency and other stakeholders positively impacts emergency response management. During the recovery process, states and federal personnel worked together to identify the communities that needed the most aid. The most affected counties were categorized into “tiers” (FEMA, 2021). Tier one was considered the county that has the highest needs. The four selected counties included Collier, Hendry, Lee, and Monroe (FEMA, 2021).

Stakeholders’ Influence

Local agencies led the emergency response management by coordinating the needs of their communities.

Local agencies have a more significant impact on emergency preparedness policies. The reason is that local agencies know their communities’ needs more than federal and state agencies. Decisions about the number of resources needed for a community during emergencies are made by the local government. Local agencies control their building code, transportation, water sewer system, resources, and funding for their local responder (AEMRC for the higher education program, n.d.). In case of a major disaster, local agencies can ask the states for help, and in turn, states can ask other states agencies and federal agencies for aid (AEMRC for the higher education program, n.d.).

Impact of Stakeholders’ Priorities

Some of the priorities are to protect the life of the population, issue community information and warnings, evacuation, shelter, food, water, and medical assistance (State Emergency Management Priorities, 2021). Federal and states agencies provide local agencies with the resources needed to help their communities. They also train local personals to increase capacity and preparedness for future disasters (FEMA, 2021). These agencies also ensure that local agencies can fully manage recovery projects by themselves after they leave the sites.

First, federal and state agencies must consider the most affected areas and the vulnerable populations. The National Hurricane Program (NHP) can provide other organizations with data on where to start with aid and on how to assist the most affected communities.

Summary of Analysis

For several months federal personnel worked with local agencies and provide them with technical assistance, training on recovery resources, how to apply for FEMA funding and other

grants, localized hazard mitigation strategies, and repair and upgrade evacuation route infrastructure (FEMA, 2021). These efforts are effective because they are based on both short and long-term recovery projects, which prioritized and address the community needs and improve the county infrastructure.

The three efforts that I consider ineffective are miscommunication between federal personnel and local staff members at the beginning of the planning process, selecting projects before federal funding programs opened, and federal personnel having general skillsets instead of specific skillsets that would effectively address the counties priorities (FEMA, 2021). These efforts are ineffective because time and resources can waste, inadequate use of funds, loss of lives, and conflicts can arise between federal agencies and local agencies. These can also affect the recovery process for the counties.

The stakeholders that contributed more effectively are state agencies. They are the most effective stakeholders because these agencies are in control. They also serve as a link between local agencies and federal agencies (AEMRC for the higher education program, n.d.). They also provide local agencies with direction and interact with state legislators (AEMRC for the higher education program, n.d.).

Recommendations

One of my recommendations is to allow people to have access to medically necessary medication during emergencies disasters. According to the CDC (2019), some states have emergency prescription refill laws that allow people to get early refills of certain medications when under an emergency declaration. I believe that all states should have this law. During emergency disasters, people may leave their house and go to shelter or family members that live

in other states. They can also be displaced to other communities for a few days or months. Without this law, it can be hard for them to get medication for their preexisting conditions.

According to Nedelman (2017), during hurricane Irma, 14 people died, and 141 people were treated for heat-related issues in a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida. To prevent this from happening, another recommendation would be to mandate all nursing homes and assisted living to have backup generators or other power sources during emergency disasters. In case of a power outage, these facilities should have alternative power sources to power the heating system and air conditioning, depending on the states and their weather. The state and/or federal should provide nursing homes and assisted living facilities with the necessary funding to meet this demand.

Another recommendation is to engage with the affected community by providing effective communication. Effective communication during emergencies can help build trust and allow the most affected individuals to take protective measures to protect themselves and their family members (WHO, 2017). Authorities should provide accurate information on a timely basis, and the language used should be clear and easy to understand (WHO, 2017). They should also be transparent and acknowledge any uncertainties.

The mentioned recommendations are important because they can help prevent more fatalities during a disaster. These recommendations take into consideration the vulnerable population by caring for their conditions and health status.

References

Academic emergency management and related courses (AEMRC) for the higher education program. Federal Emergency Management Agency | Emergency Management Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://training.fema.gov/hiedu/aemrc/booksdownload/fem/.

A Prescription for Preparedness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, September 11). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2019/09/prescription-preparedness/.

Deaths related to Hurricane Irma – Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, September 4–October 10, 2017. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, March 28). Retrieved

December 2, 2021, from studieressays.com

Locally executed, state managed, federally supported recovery. FEMA. (2021, February 11). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.fema.gov/case-study/locally-executed- state-managed-federally-supported-recovery.

Nedelman, M. (2017, October 9). Husband and wife among 14 dead after Florida Nursing Home Lost A/C. CNN. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/health/florida-irma-nursing-home-deaths- wife/index.html.

State Emergency Management Priorities. Emergency Management Victoria. (2021, September 26). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/responsibilities/state- emergency-management-priorities.

World Health Organization. (2017). Communicating risk in public health emergencies: A Who guidelines for emergency risk communication (Erc) policy and Practice.

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