Emergency management has gained a lot of importance as of late. The need for professionals in this field has drastically increased, and rightly so. We need people whose sole purpose is to save lives and properties in times of disaster. Societies worldwide have started recognizing the threats that are rampant in communities, environmental or otherwise, that require programs that can provide protection.
These threats are of great magnitude and are diverse in nature. The disasters faced are growing with time, and the losses are numerous and far-reaching. Due to these disasters, life is lost, people are injured, and the property is damaged. In 1995, an earthquake in Japan killed more than 6000 people, and more than 30000 were injured in one way or another. Similarly, an earthquake in California caused destruction that equaled to $33 billion.
Although the figures for these disasters are horrendous, they are even more appalling when we take into account the accumulated damages over time. Out of the many damages faced, only a minor percentage is insured, and victims have to face most of these losses themselves, whether they are individuals, governments, or other organizations. In times like these, we need people who can help us cope with these disasters. There are various ways to become an expert in disaster management, for example, pursuing an online emergency management degree.
The Four Theories
Over time, four theories regarding the tragic and dangerous disasters have been put forward. According to these theories, disasters can be of four types:
• Acts of fate/acts of God
• Acts of nature
• Joint effects of nature and society
• Social constructions
ACT OF FATE/ACT OF GOD
For long, people used to think that all disasters were forces that could not be controlled. They were attributed to the alignment of stars, acts of God, or both. They were considered to be beyond one’s understanding. The disasters that befell humankind were already determined, and nobody had control or say in the matter.
ACT OF NATURE
As time went on and scientific knowledge increased, people started seeing natural disasters for what they were. Floods, for example, were not because of supernatural forces but from heavy rainfall that was due to an extremely severe storm. The soil did not have the capacity to absorb all that water, and it turned into a flood. The rivers were not big enough to handle that amount of water, and thus the water spilled over and damaged the lands, buildings, and anything that stood in its way. Thus the definition of an act of nature became—a disaster that struck because our societal systems were not strong enough to prevent it. That is where the phrase ‘a man against nature’ came into being.
INTERACTIVE EFFECTS OF NATURE AND SOCIETY
As more information came our way, and we became knowledgeable, a theory was proposed that disasters occurred because of an interaction between nature and humans. According to this theory, disasters were not just natural but were a sign that humans had not anticipated nature according to that specific geographical location and the environmental conditions of that region like wind speed, temperature, seismic activity, and factors similar to these.
Recently, researchers have found that these disasters are occurring in a very systematic way and that only specific types of people or specific geographical locations are harmed. According to this theory, our social, psychological, economic, or political processes are what produces such disasters.
How to Manage Emergencies
People who are in emergency management have various ways that they can use to greatly reduce the vulnerabilities of people and provide them with resilience, support, and guidance. Here we give you 10 ways that you can manage emergencies like an expert.
1. Be Adaptable
One of the best human traits is to adapt. As emergency managers, you can help people adapt to cope, or you can help them so that they can adapt to win. When you become an emergency manager, you will know the difference between the two and how to execute it.
2. Compose Yourself
You will never see a great leader lose his composure and ‘freak out’. As an emergency manager, you will be trained to be calm and composed in times of disaster and amid all the chaos that ensues as a result of that disaster.
One of the ways that you can become an expert in emergency management is to ensure that no matter what is going on around you. You can give clear and understandable instructions and delegate various tasks to people while staying calm. Listening to someone who is calm and looks like they know what they are talking about has a calming effect on everyone around them. Not only will you have to be good at giving instructions, but you will also have to be good at listening with your ears as well as your eyes.
4. Think Critically
A vital skill needed to become an expert disaster management professional is your ability to use your brain when everything around you is chaotic. You should have the ability to step outside yourself so that you can analyze any given situation and act accordingly. At times like these, emotions run high, but you must examine problems and come up with practical solutions.
5. Be Decisive
Another vital skill for disaster management specialists is their ability to make difficult decisions in the worst of times. When a disaster strikes, even a second’s hesitation may cost lives. If you have the decision making power that can work under pressure, you can easily become an emergency manager.
As a leader, it is expected of you to enable others so that they can process information and act accordingly.
7. Be Goal-oriented with organizational skills
You must be able to see the short term as well as the long term goals and plan strategies to achieve those goals.
Identify your priority and go for it. Know what is more important and what isn’t.
9. Out of the box thinking
Effective emergency managers know all the battle-tested strategies but are not afraid to take a new path when the need arises.
10. Be Responsible
You need to be accountable for your decisions as well as actions, whether good or bad. So it would be best if you made decisions accordingly.
These are the 10 ways that you can ensure that you are a competent and professional emergency manager. They can help you be the person on whom the people of your company or community can depend on when the time comes.