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Emergency Management Agency Policy

Introduction

Emergency management policy has been created with the aim of providing a mandate for the decisions that ought to be taken to most appropriately as well as expeditiously respond to either an event that has been planned for, or a critical incident that is unforeseen. In such a way, the principle objectives for such agency policy include facilitation of decision making that protects life, property damage limitations, as well as the minimization of business interruption.

In the United States, the most immediate response actions involving protection from harm to people, along with properties, are executed at either local or regional levels. As a result, the main objective of emergency policy is the provision of general guidelines that assists institutions when responding to emergencies as well as establishing procedures that are used when monitoring emergency preparedness activities of either the federal government, local government as well as other emergency response institutions. The system guidelines specify requirements that institutions have to meet to adhere to states and federal requirements. The guidelines have been made to be much flexible with the aim of making them allow institutions to develop strategic plans that meet their emergency management requirements, as well as their execution at institutional level.

Due to the fact that, there exist many local emergency policy management agency policies, there have been little or even a times no information that confirms that such agency policies follow the procedures outlined in the policy analysis exercise document. As an effect, this research paper tries to analyze an existing local emergency management agency policy to determine and describe information addressing the following sub-objectives culminating in a policy analysis exercise document.

In its attempt of dealing with the main objective, the projects scholarly structure is evaluated as well.  This includes an Introduction with a strong thesis statement; body of the paper with appropriately structured paragraphs, dealing with sub-objectives culminating in a policy analysis exercise document; and a conclusion that specifically addresses the required topics.

Policy Making Process in the U.S

In the U.S, most policies are made through a democratic system, in which individuals decide on the best way of serving the given society, state or even entire nation. This ensures a set of policy making stages as out limed below:

Problem definition: it’s the first stage in policy implementation process and determines what issues or matters that ought to be resolved. When writing about Stages of policy making; Wanda said, “People have to make observations about their environment and the operations currently in place” (Blaikie, et al, 1994). This is means that, they are the people who initiate the process policy making, looking at things affecting them. Agenda Setting: after identification of issues that require attention, policy makers then put it on formal agenda. This sets time, dates as well as venues that policy makers will be discussing the process of handling the identified problems.

Formation: after recognition of multiple ways of solving problems, and after everyone has been provided with an opportunity of offering their input on the policy issue, then it is the responsibility of the policy makers to gather and analyze data that concerns the problem. “They present the data to others informally and formally by contacting members of the community and holding meetings. The policy makers debate and try to figure out what solution to the issue is best based on the available data” (Simon, 1965). At the end of this stage, there is a rough working draft of the policy.

Legitimization: for the passage of any policy, it must have enough community support, and should address the issues at hand. It is the hardest stage as it involves pork barrel kinds of politics, which attaches items to the policy that might not address the original issues din real sense, which some might insist are included in the policy, before supporting it. Implementation: this stage ends up creating a working, approved version of the policy in action. It is the responsibility of the authorities to enforce policies actively.

Evaluation and Change Stage: after a certain period of policy enforcement, it is the responsibility of the policy makers to evaluate the effects. In case the policy has been ineffective, or produced negative effects, the policy makers then have a chance of making some changes, or start the process afresh.

Institutional and Political Factors Contributing To Policy Change

There are policy reversals in most cases due to changes in political winds, for instances, changes in the cabinet composition. Another political factor is political cooperation that has been facilitating the implementation of welfare improvement policies. In areas having high political transactions, costs, political actors sometimes embed rigidness into policies as a mechanism of acting against future policy changes, even if such changes are beneficial. Due to the inability of writing complete contracts, prevention of political opportunism, May in one way or the other lead to the inability of adjusting the underlying circumstances.

Another factor is lack of coordination among political actors might result to inconsistent or incoherent policies. This has been used in showing inadequate political interactions. Political investment traits are another factor and institution. Most politicians are investors, so incase the environment is not favorable, politicians tend to change policies in the process of protecting their own rights and properties.

The government might affect policymaking process when trying to protect some information from reaching the public. Elites, individuals as well as communities who might be affected by the policy affect policy making proceeds either in the positive or, negative direction. The demand from the general public may influence policymaking process especially in bottom up initiatives. Special groups with special interest also affect policymaking process by mounting pressure on policymakers to ensure that they have attained their ends.

Basic Elements of Emergency Management Policy

The emergency management policy is made up of:

  • Policy establishment and Organization structure. Implemented by emergency coordinator, emergency preparedness planning team, and Alternates and back ups.
  • Plans Development. This is implemented by Emergency preparedness coordinator, and emergency preparedness team.
  • Plan of action. This is implemented by Emergency respond coordinator, and emergency respond team.
  • Plan of resuming operations. This is implemented by Emergency recovery coordinator, and recovery responds team.

Roles and Responsibilities of Emergency Management Organizations

Different government levels have different roles and responsibilities to play depending on the emergency nature. Emergencies like [pandemics are first managed at local levels, by the police, hospitals, departments of fire, as well as municipals. In case any assistance is required, then they request help from the states emergence management organizations. In case the pandemic escalates beyond their capabilities, then the state governments seeks some assistance from the federal government as a result, provision of resources through this system moves very quickly from local, all the way to national level.

Federal level

Evaluate the adequacy of state and local emergency plans for the public health and safety protection. It also provides state and local emergency organizations with resources and equipments during emergency. In addition, it reviews FEMA offset emergency preparedness, as well as making overall states emergency preparedness. Nevertheless, it, “recognize FEMA as the federal interface with State and local governments with regard to emergency preparedness for nuclear power plants, (Hewitt, 1983).

States and Local

Both state and local emergency organizations have the overall responsibility of making decisions as well as the implementation of appropriate proactive practices that concerns the public during a nuclear power radiological emergence. They also notify the public to take proper measures like evacuation, as well as sheltering during emergency. The two mostly base their decisions on the protective actions recommended by health organizations.

Assessment of Emergency and Disaster Preparation Program

First of all, there are overall assessment plan, which has been agreed upon by all parties involved in emergency. This has established areas of responsibility as well as accountability, guidelines and standard working methodology along with reporting channels. This has also established the procedure that will be followed during responsibility change as time goes by.

The second thing is that, there is comprehensive collection of baseline data, which can be accessed quickly as well as much easier by those needing it. Such database include information like; size, as well as the demographic structure of the population that has been affected, and the administrative structure in the affected population among other vital information to mention but just a few.

Thirdly, the organizations have operational system of data collection, which operates in immediate aftermath of a disaster or crisis. Generally, this has included designated reporting areas and reporting procedures. In support of this, they have data collection procedures that are rapid, structured and based on commitments of using formal sampling

Due to the availability of above mentioned parameters, I recommend that the both public sector, crisis relevant bodies are well prepared for emergency and disasters in the United States.

Effects of Mandate and Incentives

After the exploration of incentives in the expansion of insurance cover against natural hazards, mitigation measures get increased, which is one way of emergency policy development. this is based on the fact that, the process of creating incentives for mitigation will be acting as a way of covering property and causality losses against natural disasters.

Another effect is that, when government offer incentives to states with the aim of mitigating disasters and disaster. The federal government through FEMA will be concentrating on outcomes and keeping States much informed about their progress. When this is doe effectively and efficiently, the system will end up defining appropriate response mechanisms, which can be applied during different levels of disaster management.

On the other hand, mandate programs have been used in the federal response plan in the process of standardizing terminologies, as well as procedures and standards at the federal level with the aim of minimizing effectiveness of response to the very largest disaster, or even incidences of national significance.

Legal Issues in Planning For Emergency and Disasters

Emergency management legal issuers in the United States of America are grounded in the three government levels, i.e. federal, state as well as local. Though the three types of legal responsibilities leads to liability, the most influential is sates law, particularly tort law concepts called negligence. On the other hand, immunities allow the protection these in emergency management positions under some conditions. As a result, there are many laws like tort laws affecting the emergency management routinely activities. Such laws might spring from duties that are peculiar to disciplines, like obligations to plan and train. Government employee emergence managers have obligations that are as a result of their service, for instance, government code of ethics compliance. Other legal issues emerge from managerial responsibilities and these affects both managers in government or private sectors. Such laws include both personal and contract laws, (Nicholson, 2010). 

Policy Change

There are different ways through which main actors like the president cab institute policy change. In the U.S, the constitution has divided the powers of policies between the president and the congress. This has been done to ensure that, the two share the policy making process. The executive, as well as the legislative branches, each has an important responsibility, however, there are a times when their responsibility overlap. The president or the executive branch can institute policy change when for instance is responding to  foreign events, making proposals for legislations, negotiating international agreements, policy statements, policy implementation as well as independent actions.

On the hand, in the above circumstances, the congress can either support the approach used by the president or initiate some changes in it. Mostly, the congress makes some modifications in its approval. The congress can institute policy change through resolutions and policy statements, legislative directives, legislative pressures, funding denials, informal advice, and congressional oversight.

In such cases, the executive might support or institute changes in congressional policies. Circumstances have confirmed that both the congress and the executive make policies, but there is no answer to the question of who originates or finally determines policies. Though the two branches share powers, the two play different roles. So, the question of ‘how key policy actors can institute policy’, change, has no precise answer.

Policy Changes Due To Disasters

It has been shown that, major disasters have become catalysts for policy change as well as a gender change in the United States. Though, catastrophes, crisis as well as disasters all qualify as being focusing events, however, the three differs in terms of their impacts, scales or sizes, hence have the capability of triggering different reactions. The three also occur in different policy domains, or in other terms, policy areas, hence have different consequences, which all tent to have different participants or constituents. As a result, there are four groups of disasters, namely; aviation security, earthquakes, homeland securities as well as hurricanes. As a result, studies have explored different lessons learnt from each category, focusing on about three types of policy change, that is, “change in the larger social construction of the issues surrounding the disaster; instrumental change, in which laws and regulations are made; and political change, in which alliances are created and shifted.” (Birkland, 2006)

It has been argued that, different types of disaster affects lessons learned from it differently. Such effects occur in a manner that some conditions are “conditions are necessary to translate awareness into new policy, including media attention, salience for a large portion of the public, the existence of advocacy groups for the issue, and the preexistence of policy ideas that can be drawn upon” (Birkland, 2006). This can be summarized with the interplay of multiple disasters, concentrating on the original government response to both hurricanes Katrina, as well as the negative impacts of 9/11 seem to have lead to reactions on tragedies.

It is true that, disasters themselves make governments to change policies by themselves, or groups of affected citizens force them to change policies. At times of disasters like 9/11 attack, new ideas have to be tossed around, taken into consideration, and then reach at a consensus about new policy initiatives. Though this does not occur always, as governments are a times ends up learning nothing even after terrible events. For example, the 9/11 attack depicts how the U.S government learnt from past mistakes, however, improvements on current policies never occurred.

Social Vulnerability

This is “is one dimension of vulnerability to multiple stressors and shocks, including natural hazards. Social vulnerability refers to the inability of people, organizations, and societies to withstand adverse impacts from multiple stressors to which they are exposed”, (Hewitt, 1997).  Some of these impacts are partly as a result of traits inherent in social interactions, institutions along with cultural system values. Due to the fact that Social Vulnerability occurs mostly during calamities, many studies dealing with Social Vulnerability are mostly found in risk management types of literatures. On the other hand, this concept is considered as being pre-existing conditions that have impacts on the ability of the society when preparing for and recovering from an event that can be described as being disruptive.

The social vulnerability concept has recently emerged within the discourse son hazards that as well as disasters. Up-to date, there has been no single definition of this concept that has been accepted upon; in addition, multiple theories explaining Social Vulnerability do exist. However, most work that has been conducted so far has Marjory concentrated on empirical observation as well as conceptual models. As an effect, the current Social Vulnerability research can be termed as being in the middle range theory, and this is representing an attempt of understanding what is referred to as social conditions that are transforming natural hazards like floods, earthquakes to mention but just a few.

Currently, the concept is emphasizing on causes along with phenomenon of disasters that is described by social structures as well as processes. As a result, “is not only a geo- or biophysical hazard, but rather the social context that is taken into account to understand “natural” disasters”, (Hewitt 1983).Secondly, though different groups in the society might share similar exposure to natural hazards, “the hazard has varying consequences for these groups, since they have diverging capacities and abilities to handle the impact of a hazard.” (Hill, 1960).  This has led to two contrasting definitions. When Hewit was giving his definition, he said, social vulnerability “.essentially about the human ecology of endangerment…and is embedded in the social geography of settlements and lands uses, and the space of distribution of influence in communities and political organization,” (Tommasi, 2002).  On the other hand, Blaikie, et al, defined it as “set of characteristics of a group or individual in terms of their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard. It involves a combination of factors that determine the degree to which someone’s life and livelihood is at risk by a discrete and identifiable event in nature or society” (Seabright, 1996).

In implies that during emergency management policymaking, it is good to define emergencies in relation to physical agents, like floods, explosions among others, or in relation with social effects and vulnerability, like property loss. This also mean that in case policies are designed in preparation of social systems for any anticipated shock, yet social vulnerability is not well conducted, the policy framework it self might not succeed. However, the process will be much successful, not because the availability of vulnerability mitigation, but the knowledge of reaching to a relevant conclusion on how social vulnerability has been approached in the society. This concept also imply that, social memory as well as perceptions, both have effects on the ability of individuals to make thorough preparations for and withstanding shocks, (Gamboa, 2006).

Conclusion

This research paper has identified five modules in its attempt of analyzing an existing local emergency management agency policy. In module1, the paper looked at stages of the policymaking process in the United States; an analyze of various institutional and political factors contributing to policymaking in the United,; as well as the several basic elements of how emergency management policy is made in the United States, and who implements policy development in this area.

In module 2, the research looked at roles and responsibilities of emergency management organizations at the local, state, and federal levels of government; and the assessment of ways in which public-sector, crisis-relevant organizations prepare for emergencies and disasters. This lead to the discussion of module 3, which involved description of how incentives and mandates affect state and local emergency management policy development; a long with the identification of several key legal issues in planning for emergencies and disasters.

The forth module identified how key policy actors, such as the president, can institute policy change. It also gave the analysis of how major disaster events might prompt policy changes. Last but not least, module 5 involved the analysis of social vulnerability concept, and what it implies for emergency management policymaking. If the five modules discussed above are well observed in an Emergency Management Agency Policy, then such agency policies follow the procedures outlined in the policy analysis exercise document.