Emergency Management Essay

18946 Words Mar 7th, 2012 76 Pages


This chapter provides an overview that describes the basic types of hazards threatening the United States and provides definitions for some basic terms such as hazards, emergencies, and disasters. The chapter also provides a brief history of emergency management in the federal government and a general description of the current emergency management system—including the basic functions performed by local emergency managers. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the all-hazards approach and its implications for local emergency management.

Introduction There are many ways to describe emergency management and the importance of the tasks emergency managers perform. Indeed, in
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The natural environment is, of course, not “getting its revenge”. Geophysical, meteorological, and hydrologic processes are unfolding as they have for millennia, beginning long before humans occupied the earth and continuing to the present. Given the eons-long perspective of the natural environment, it would be very difficult to identify meaningful changes in event frequency for the short time period in which scientific records are available on geological, meteorological, and hydrological phenomena. Event frequency, from an emergency management perspective, is not really the issue. It is certainly true that, over the years, more people have been affected by natural disasters and losses are becoming progressively greater. The significant feature driving these observations, however, is the extent of human encroachment into hazard prone areas. With increasing population density and changing land use patterns, more people are exposed to natural hazards and consequently our accumulated human and economic losses are increasing. Much of this exposure is a matter of choice. Sometimes people choose hazardous places, building houses on picturesque cliffs, on mountain slopes, in floodplains, near beautiful volcanoes, or along seismic faults. Sometimes people choose hazardous building materials that fail under extreme environmental stresses—for example, unreinforced masonry construction in seismically active areas. Some exposure results from constrained choices; the cheap land or
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