I will answer the following two questions in this Forum: 1. What are the problems with the Smith Hill Emergency Management organization? This small community with a small tax base is similar to many through the country, however assigning key positions as a collateral duty in emergency management has proven to be ineffective, and borders on criminal. The second huge issue was nor mutual aid agreements not enhancing the community’s ability to respond effectively by leveraging the regional resources, and planning for the common emergencies. 2. How can emergency planning be improved in this town? The EOP must be maintained and reviewed at least annually, the delegation of duties obviously was not followed, and assumptions that collateral duties can be accomplished in parallel by key personnel. I equate this misstep to imaging you were going in for emergency surgery would you want your surgeon being responsible to operate on two separate folks at the same time? No as the surgeon can review patient histories and plan for future surgeries, however cannot perform two surgeries at the same time. 3. Recommendations: Ensure the recommendations from Lindell and Whitney’s (1995) study related to membership in a statewide LEPC Association, and with state emergency planning resources, can significantly enhance your local ability to respond the emergencies, and it cost the local community nothing. If the stakeholders would have practiced the communication exercise as indicated by to Lindell and Perry (2004), the PADM is most directly based upon a long history of research on disasters that has been summarized by many authors, and they would have immediately realized the community was set-up for failure related to responding to emergency/disasters.
The Smith Hill Emergency Management Plan the first thing I found to be a problem is that they did not have one person as an Emergency Management Director or a Local Emergency Management Agency that was heading up the Emergency Management Plan. Instead of one person, they assigned tasks to several individuals as part of their responsibilities so there was no cohesion. As I read the case study there was no mention of any risk or vulnerability assessments and they had not attended any of the local, regional or organizational meetings that would have been beneficial to them in helping set up the plan, instead they used the generic FEMA plan. As for budgetary needs, they underestimated their funding needs, so they could not get matched funding. If they had the risk and vulnerability assessments and proper budget preparation, they could have made the qualifications for matched funding. Stakeholders were only the local resources that included the fire district, police department, local hospital, and the medical examiner. There were not mutual aid agreements with any other surrounding towns or agencies that would or could be a resource. This also should include the state level emergency management agency. The mutual aid was just assumed to be there and should have been in a written contract or formal agreement. Maine has a statewide mutual aid system making it easier to get help for large incidents. There were not specific descriptions as to what the individuals or stakeholders roles would be in the event of an incident. Smith Hill can improve its emergency plan by working with the stakeholders and starting off with a budget plan. The need for mutual aid needs to be met with written agreements for personnel and equipment. There also needs to be risk and vulnerability assessment followed by training and making sure the plan is met.
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