Essential Nine: Effective Preparedness, Early Warning and Response
Well-conceived emergency preparedness and response plans not only save lives and property, they often also contribute to resilience and post-disaster recovery by lessening the impact of a disaster. Preparedness efforts and early warning systems help ensure that cities, communities and individuals threatened by natural or other hazards can act in sufficient time and appropriately to reduce personal injury, loss of life and damage to property or nearby fragile environments. Sustainability can be achieved if the community itself and local authorities understand the importance of and need for local emergency preparedness and response.
Strengthen and improve preparedness
- Establish institutional and legislative mechanisms to ensure that emergency preparedness forms part of the policies and actions of all sectors and institutions throughout the city.
- Prepare, review and enhance city-wide inter-agency institutional preparedness and response plans, using credible scenarios.
- Integrate the results of local level risk analysis into the design of communication and disaster preparedness strategies
- Ensure that the city’s preparedness plan has effective systems for delivery of immediate relief and survivor support, in partnership with pre-identified local citizens’ organisations.
Create or improve an accessible multi-hazard early warning system
- Establish an early warning and communication system that includes protective measures and clear evacuation routes, as part of the preparedness plan.
- Strengthen local capacity to avoid dependence on external resources and to encourage participation and knowledge sharing.
- Clearly define who has the institutional and decision-making responsibility for updating risk information and activating early warning systems. Simulate contingencies to test the effectiveness of proposed responses and public information and education on risks and risk management.
Upgrade the city’s emergency response services
- Determine what type of equipment, training and resources may be needed to deal with the hazards and vulnerabilities a city faces and establish priorities for procuring and/or upgrading as needed
- Provide specialized training for first responders not only in the use of equipment but also in new techniques for dealing with the type of emergency situations they may potentially face.
Develop tabletop exercises and periodic drills
- Carry out tabletop simulation exercises in which local actors evaluate a community, institution or agency’s ability to respond and execute one or more parts of an emergency preparedness plan.
- Conduct exercises on a regular basis to test complex responses and evaluate the plan, policies, and procedures. This will help reveal any weaknesses and identify resource gaps.
- Involve a wide range of organisations, including fire, law enforcement, emergency management, and when necessary, other agencies such as local public health, public safety, the Red Cross and others.
Plan for recovery before disaster happens
- Before a disaster, tackle the challenges of planning and implementing a successful post-disaster recovery. Planning for recovery before a disaster enables city government to build consensus on recovery goals and strategies, gather critical information to inform recovery decisions, define roles and responsibilities and develop the necessary capacity to efficiently manage recovery operations.
Many Partners, One System: An Integrated Flood Early Warning System
Jakarta, Indonesia, a coastal city and the exit point of 13 rivers, is highly at-risk for floods. Some 40% of Jakarta lies below sea level and the provincial authority area includes 110 islands. Hydrometeorological hazards have caused much damage in coastal areas and in residential areas near the river banks. During annual and ﬁve-year ﬂoods, Jakarta has lost billions of dollars’ of investment in building and infrastructure. Integrating improvements into the ﬂood early warning system for Jakarta has been a true multi-stakeholder process, involving a broad range of local authorities and partners. By managing everyone’s interests and roles and improving coordination, the early warning system was upgraded from top to bottom. Technical improvements mean that earlier ﬂood warnings can now be issued. But more importantly, preparedness capacity has been built and streamlined. Key coordination hubs and standard operating procedures have been established and tested with comprehensive drills, so that institutions and communities are now more ready to act on warnings.
For more information: http://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/13627 (page21).
Makati City (Philippines)
Makati City, Philippines: Emergency Operations Center
Located in heart of the National Capital Region of the Philippines, Makati City is home to the vibrant and bustling central business district, housing the top corporations in the country, and making it the financial capital of the Philippines. The city’s dynamic social and economic growth required significant improvements to its services to ensure the safety and security of its constituents and in 2006, then Mayor and now Vice President, Jejomar C. Binay, established Makati Command, Control and Communication (Makati C3) to serve as the city’s Emergency Operations Center. It was tasked with monitoring, coordination, and the integration of services and resources during disasters and emergencies.
The Makati C3 was placed under the leadership of then Councilor, now the City Mayor, Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr. who sought to continually improve the delivery of efficient and timely services by adopting an emergency 3-digit access number, 168, and upgrading technical equipment, including a Geographic Information System and video surveillance. Makati C3 enhanced the operational capabilities and standards of its staff by engaging with international organisations such as the ASEAN, INSARAG, and UNDAC. Strong linkages were also established with national, regional, local, and non-governmental organisations as well as with the private and business sectors.
Within the city, Makati C3 takes an active role in risk-sensitive land use planning and community-based disaster risk reduction and capacity building programs for the barangays and other stakeholders, as part of its mission to create safer and disaster-resilient communities. Furthering its commitment, Makati supports many other cities and municipalities through its services and aims to set up a national training centre.
Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/7su6wtw
Tools and Resources
A Framework for Major Emergency Management – Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland (2008)
Designed to enable principal response agencies prepare for and make a coordinated response to major emergencies.
Shake Out Drill Manual for Government Agencies and Facilities – Earthquake Country Alliance, California, U.S.A.
Examples of earthquake drills and preparedness activities.
State Earthquake Emergency Plan – SES, City of Victoria, Quake Safe Australia (2010)
A plan that provides strategic guidance for effective emergency management of earthquake events in the Victoria, Australia.
Ready New York: Preparing for Emergencies in New York City – Office of Emergency Management
This report summarizes how to implement multi-hazard early warning systems based on best practices in the hydrometeorological community.
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
A wide variety of publications and guidelines on emergency preparedness planning and mitigating losses from natural hazards. Use the website’s search engine to locate the following titles:
- Are you Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness – FEMA
- Earthquake Safety Guide for Home Owners – FEMA, NEHRP (2005)
- Mitigation How-To Guides (6 totals) State and Local Mitigation Planning – intended to help States and communities plan and implement practical, meaningful hazard mitigation actions (FEMA 386-1,2,3,4,6,7 and 8)
North Shore Emergency Management Office – City of North Vancouver, Canada
Use the website’s search engine to locate a variety of ‘Smart Manuals’ including:
- Earthquake and Tsunami Smart Manual - British Columbia, Canada
- The Home Owners Fire Smart Manual
- A Framework for Major Emergency Management – Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland (2008)
Risk and Disaster Scenarios
Start by thinking about the potential impact of a major event of the kind that your community/institution/enterprise has experienced, such as an earthquake, hurricane or flood. To what degree are residential, commercial, health, education and other infrastructure vulnerable to this type of hazard? Where is the infrastructure located and how or why has it become vulnerable? Could this vulnerability be prevented?