This paper discusses the importance of national framework for disaster management to the managers involved. It also describes how the national framework is based and implemented at all levels of government. The framework is an essential document to managers because it gives them the guidelines, structures and procedures by which they can adopt at given level and situation.
IMPORTANCE OF NATIONAL DISASTE FRAMEWORK
The National Response Framework (NRF) is a guide in which the nation uses to conduct response to hazards within a defined structure and which aligns the roles and responsibilities of government management levels, private sector organizations and Non Governmental organizations. The NRF has an objective of managing hazards and incidents that may impact individuals and businesses (Homeland, 2008). The response initiated will be to quickly deal with saving of lives, protect property, and protect environment and provision of basic humanitarian needs (Homeland, 2008)
The framework is a work document for leaders in all levels of government together with executives and leaders of private sector and NGOs. This is based on shared responsibilities that require commitment from federal government and lower level governmental heads to be able to plan for response incase of emergency needs. The NRF is composed of main document, emergency support function (ESF), support annexes, incident annexes and partner guides. The ESF involves resources and capabilities needed in order for the operations to succeed such as transport, firefighting services, and medical services (Homeland, 2008).
Support annexes include needed resources on day to day operations such as finances, manpower, donations and coordination with private sector. Partner guides are essential in defining the role and actions of leaders engaged in the emergency operations. For effective response of an emergency need, the framework gives detailed account of the specificity of dealing with the emergency guided by the National Incident Management System (NIMS) which has standard commands and management structures essential in application during response operations.
The NIMS calls for effective response using leaders’ capabilities, individuals and households. It teaches basic understanding of one’s roles and responsibilities. The NIMS guides leaders in designing plans, assessments and exercise at particular level, it also provides the needed resources and information collection. Each organization is able to define its roles and function within its area of operation and ensure efficiency (Homeland, 2008).
The main levels in which the framework implements its response activities include local government, private sector/NGOs, states or territories and federal government. At lower level the local government’s leaders mobilize communities, NGOs and private sector to be engaged in arresting an incident within their area of operation. Leaders have a mandate to give leadership roles, protect and take care of the welfare of its people. The private sector on the other hand has a duty to protect and provide for its employees.
While NGOs provide in depth knowledge, outreach services and support services (Homeland, 2008). The states have similar responsibilities but on larger scale than local governments. They have to coordinate private sector, NGOs and other assistance from other states, territories and tribal governments. The federal government is responsible for coordinating for resources under request of states governor. It has mandate to mobilize federal resources and federal capabilities under the leadership of secretary for homeland security (Homeland, 2008).
The NIMS framework is designed in such way that it can be adapted at any level of government operations dealing with disaster. The framework also explains in detail the actions to be taken during the response activity. The framework has an enormous task of providing structures at national level where policies
The framework does erase the national coordination of response on large scale through presidential declaration. However, its activities remain in principle hence a more manageable and effective emergency response. (National Academies, 2007) The disaster response framework outlines the essential core part of its operation which defines the operational concepts duties and functions with an objective of protecting lives and property. This is based on five main principles for an effective response. These include ) Partnership engagement where leaders communicate to partners and vigorously support each other by setting up goals and capabilities together. The process thus emphasizes on need for progressive and continuous flow of information that will build on sustainable and improved service operation. Partnership will help the response unit to identify personnel, train them and acquire equipments for emergency operations in advance before the incident occurs.
These will also help in effective coordination ((Homeland, 2008; Tierney, Lindell, & Perry, 2001) ) Response can also be based on particular tier. This is when management of emergency is specifically handled within the jurisdiction it arises i. e. by local leaders and communities depending on its magnitude (Homeland, 2008). c) The response must also adapt to change in its size of incident, scope of the incident and complexity of the incident hence the need for discipline and effective coordination of resources. d) The framework utilizes the understanding of unity and unified command in the process of on scene operations.
These entail common application of effort and respect for the chain of command hence the use of Incident Command System and NIMS structural format. e) The act of readiness is emphasized in the framework which recommends that in order to have effective and successful operations, all individuals involved must be ready to participate and understand risks associated with the operation. This will therefore mean the leaders must establish good working relationships, train the communities on risk and safety measures and ensure effective application of the safety guidelines.
The framework describes the roles and responsibilities of different level of government management giving the broad spectrum of understanding them as basis of separation of duties to eliminate cases of overlapping and duplication of roles. Understanding these roles help managers to be prepared for disaster response actions. These are • Local government is responsible for mobilizing communities for a course of action led by its leaders that are supposed to offer guidance, resources, emergency management and policy, laws and budget adjustment necessary for disaster response operation. Palen, Hiltz, & Liu, 2007; Homeland, 2008). • Private sector and Non Governmental organization are called upon to provide and protect the welfare of its employees.
Participate in planning, developing, collaborating and responding to emergency operations. The NGOs are resourceful in provision of services like identification of shelter and supplies location, provide food, shelter and clothing as well as provide information of victims who need help and coordinate assistance (Homeland, 2008). States, territories and other governments have a responsibility of supplementing and supporting the course of action taken by local governments through coordinating state resources, pass information to stakeholders and coordinate efforts from other neighboring states (Homeland, 2008). • The federal government is responsible for coordinating emergency response from the national level. It is usually led by the president coordinated from the office of Homeland domestic security.
The office coordinates activities of other departmental organization affiliated to the emergency such as Incident management, FEMA, Law enforcement, National defence and support of civil authorities, international coordination, intelligence and federal department agencies (Homeland, 2008). The frame work thus gives details necessary for disaster managers to act when responding to disasters. These response actions include preparedness, response and recovery after the incident.
In this case, preparedness involves issues like planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating and improving on the response initiatives based on the experiences learnt. Response deals with structural awareness, activation and availing of resources coordination and demobilization. Lastly the recovery plan will be put in place to meet the short term and long term needs for victims (Homeland, 2008). A disaster framework is helpful to managers because they give them the structures by which they will implement national policies and operations at all levels. This is coordinated and integrated by the NIMS.
The system emphasizes the need for managers to be conversant with planning which is essential in effective disaster response.
To sum up the national framework is important to disaster managers because it is designed in such way that they can be implemented at any level. The understanding of roles by leaders in a particular sector if significant in effective management of emergency . The national framework works through legal mechanisms that are coordinated at federal level and adopted at all levels of government management. Hence the need for cooperation and support between the public, government, private sector and NGOs