Research Title: Disaster Management: An Evaluation of the Disaster Preparedness of “First Responders”. Student Details: Name: Phone: Email: Date Submitted: RESEARCH PROPOSAL Introduction / Background Major disaster events act to spur countries into giving disaster preparedness priority…
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According to Bullock et al, 2008, disaster preparedness has to be differentiated from disaster mitigation, and disaster preparedness pertains to the planning for the best possible response or minimizing the scope of the required response to disaster events. Prior to the 1970s, the federal disaster preparedness and response program was disjointed and ineffective. There was no specific federal agency tasked with this responsibility. This responsibility was divided among several hundred federal agencies. This lacuna was removed in 1979 with the establishment of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that witnessed the reorganization of several federal agencies under the umbrella of FEMA (Bumgarner, 2008, p.7). Since then, FEMA has played an important role as an independent agency in the management and response to disaster events. From its experience in these disaster events has emerged the public and policy network’s interest in disaster preparedness. A key aspect in the development of government policy towards disaster preparedness was its focus on the specific type of crisis anticipated at that time. Till the 1980s the disaster preparedness policies were directed towards natural calamities. In the 1980s hazardous material catastrophes and nuclear disasters changed the focus of the disaster preparedness policies in this direction. ...
The first impact of the policy change was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the integration of FEMA into it (Tierney, 2007, p.489-507). Evaluation of the literature on the current disaster prevention policies clearly highlights three areas of focus. These three areas are the emphasis on disaster prevention, increase in the integration, and coordination among government agencies in disaster prevention, and the greater role and involvement of the newly coined term of “first responders” in disasters, which consist of the community, the medical personnel, the police and the fire fighters. The focus on the prevention dimension in disaster management policy clearly demonstrates the importance given to terrorism in the US policy networks. Nicholson 2005, p.124, points to the Homeland Security Presidential Directives 5 and 8 to drive home this argument on prevention being the focus of disaster management at the local and national levels. The prevention focus of disaster management reinforces the emphasis on terrorism, as natural disasters like earthquakes cannot be prevented. This shift in policy to prevention in disaster management receives support from the general public, as shown by the study conducted by Boscarino, Figley and Adams in 2003. Witkopf, Jones and Kegely, 2008, p.361 gives insight into the integration among the agencies involved in disaster prevention and management through the eleven Homeland Security policy committees responsible for a functional policy area of homeland security bringing together officials from other departments and agencies. This integration in disaster management is with the objective of
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