This sample research plan provides analysis of the Direction, Control, and Coordination section of an emergency plan for the Town of Duck in North Carolina, United States. Essentially, the goal of any emergency plan is to utilize the available resources to reduce or prevent occurrence of potential disasters or emergencies. It prepares the town’s stakeholders efficiently so that they can fight future emergency disasters. Proper coordination, issue of direction and adequate control measures promote quick response to the life safety and asset protection.
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Moreover, it prevents disaster from spreading, and hence mitigates avoidable damages. Disasters and emergencies in the Town of Duck include floods, epidemics, accidents, fire outbreaks, storms, industrial and oil spillages, technologically-based threats, and weather-related disasters. These disasters occur in an unexpected way, hence threatening or endangering lives and health or property. Moreover, weather-based disasters, such as storms and hurricanes, pose serious threats to the Town of Duck. They can be attributed to the fact that ocean front of the city walls boarders with the high water levels from the Atlantic ocean. The water causes heavy storms during the rainy season, hence posing a threat to life and property. In addition, the town has only one access to the south and north of the county. The Town of Duck’s roads are also susceptible to flooding during the rainy season. Therefore, there is a proper need for strong direction coordination and control measures within the emergency operational plan.
The Town of Duck is one of the biggest towns in the Dare County of North Carolina and it covers 2.32 miles. It boarders with the Atlantic ocean, which increases the proneness to the weather-based disasters. It is praised of being a great tourist attraction in the county with a population of 20000 tourists during the summer season. The Duck Volunteer Rescue Department provides emergency disaster services in the Town of Duck. Essentially, the Town of Duck’s Police Officer Department entered the mutual agreement with all rescue departments to ensure proper coordination, control and direction of orders during emergencies.
According to the principles laid down in the Comprehensive Planning Guide and Fundamentals of Emergency Management, Direction, Control and Coordination section, an emergency plan should describe the main framework of all direction issued, control measures taken, and how activities are coordinated. Essentially, it should embrace identification of all the tactical and operational staff, controller of rescue, and response of stakeholders and directors. Moreover, it should capture the whole coordination system followed during the emergency period.
2.0 Main Body
2.1 Direction, Control, and Coordination
The emergency plan requires this section to capture two main issues: firstly, authority to initiate direction, control and coordination systems; secondly, command responsibilities for all specific actions taken.
2.1.1 Authority to take Actions
There must be authority to initiate actions taken for mitigating disasters. Essentially, the authority comes from public officials and commanders from the disaster jurisdiction. The disaster and mitigation team has assigned duties based on the areas of the region and number of available personnel. The authority must put into consideration all principles of disaster mitigation, as outlined in the guide. They must plan well, incorporate the community, identify resources needed for the whole process, and assess the environment first. The Town of Duck’s Emergency Operation Manual Annex contains the following sections:
2.1.2 The Purpose of Direction and Control
This section of the plan requires proper coordination, direction and control, so that the right personnel can be selected to join the emergency team. Principally, the staff must know their position and duties, as stipulated in the emergency manual during, before or even after the disaster occurs. The main staff involved includes the town council’s clerk, town manager, disaster chief inspector, deputy disaster chief inspector, fire captain, disaster officers, police commanders, disaster law enforcement officers, director of the Town of Duck, planning and zoning manager, permit coordinator, building inspectors, public relations officers, and rescue groups such as Red cross.
2.3 Issue of Directions
There are procedures to be followed while issuing direction on how any disaster, for instance, hurricane, will be mitigated in order to secure property and life. First, the mayor of the Town of Duck liaises with the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to assess the impact of the disaster. The mayor should gather adequate information, which is disseminated to the management team for action. Moreover, he should call a meeting with all the stakeholders to gather more information about the level of disaster before issuing an order for the operation to start.
The mayor of the town will instruct the incident commander or town manager to order the rescue team to begin the operation. However, the manager will be required to perform some duties prior to taking such direction. First, he will assess the incidence-based priorities, resources available, community needs, order of preferences, and the strength of all rescue teams or groups. This is done because he reports on how the whole exercise proceeds. At some occasions, the town manager will be required to coordinate with the outside rescue agencies, if the disaster seems to be unbearable. In such cases, the manager may request mayor to call for military help from the United States.
The town manager will also contact the public information officer giving instruction to the officer to develop and release adequate information to the media centers and incident agencies before monitoring public reactions and actions. Moreover, the public information officer should ensure smooth flow of information from the town management to all media stations. This approach helps to reduce confusion, blames and losses of the town management (Stowell, Adams & Brakhage, 2007).
Moreover, the town manager instructs safety officer to proceed for rescue within the disaster jurisdiction. The safety officers are tasked with a duty to assess all unsafe situations, communicate the disaster levels to the public information officer, and utilize available resources to save lives. Moreover, they should come up with their own safety plan aimed to mitigate personal risk. They should also communicate unsafe areas to the residents through the Incident Action Plan. It means that some residents are relocated to escape from the disaster. The safety team is comprised of trained personnel in provision of first aid, who help to reduce risk levels of the public.
In case the disaster persist and there are chances that it will be uncontainable, the incident commanders contact liaison officers, who represent the agencies of help. The liaison officer may be military rescue department commanders or the Red Cross. As a result, assistance will be sent directly from the source to the jurisdiction for life and property recovery. However, it will happen only when all other rescue avenues have been exhausted. The disasters, which can induce incident commander’s request for more rescue teams, include fire, flood, and hurricane (Tulchinsky & Varavikova, 2014).
Once the incident commander receives the Incident Action Plan from the safety team, operation chiefs are contacted, and direction is issued for implementation. The operation chief officers will request resources, such as water, blankets, planes, ambulance, foods, and other emergency facilities through the unit operation plan budget. Moreover, they can make some changes within the IAP schedule in order to meet certain emergency objectives. Lastly, they can facilitate execution of certain health and safety policies, which aim to ensure that lives and property do not succumb to further destruction.
The whole process of direction issuance cannot ignore certain agencies, such as directors of community development, planning chief officers, and law enforcers - police officers. The planning officers assist the operation chief officer in implementing the Incident Action Plan, plan for the relief of medicaments and food, replacement of the injured staff, completion of the necessary forms, and assessment of the economic damage of the disaster. The planning officers are also required to provide tactical and strategic policies on how certain resources will be used to sustain the victims for long time. In resource reallocation and distribution, the town manager relies on logistics chiefs. The logistic teams are tasked with the duty of transporting all food and drug supplies to the disaster jurisdiction. They should order the items required by the appropriate procurement procedures and deliver them to the areas.
Moreover, they can also establish certain food services and medical facility sites for incidence personnel. The logistics and supply teams come from the town council, though it has to cooperate with the finance and administration officers for financial aid. The financial officers collect funds from the volunteers and government agencies ready to help the victims. However, the estimated cost of emergency and disaster operation should come from the incident commander. He should authorize all expenditures necessary for those disaster victims. It should be done in accordance with all federal, local and state emergency laws, as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution.
2.4 Control Measures in the Emergency Plan
An emergency plan must provide control measures, especially on resource utilization, information disseminations, entry to the jurisdiction, relocation of victims and finances. While conducting major disaster operations, chapter 418 of the United States Constitutions allows any town mayor to deal with the disaster and impose necessary control measures that will prevent life and property loss. Moreover, the Act reveals that most personnel takes disaster occurrence opportunity to loot resources. Therefore, it empowers all mayors of towns to issue executive orders in relation to the resources distributed and transported from the warehouse to disaster jurisdiction. A resource control measure involves audit staff and monitoring evaluation officers. The two teams monitor daily spending based on the number of disaster victims. Later, they should draft a report about daily consumption and forward it to the supplies and logistic staff for implementation.
Moreover, chapter 433 of the Constitution allows additional authorities, such as incidence commander, issue some control policies estimated to safe property and life. Moreover, the chapter outlines how an emergency can be aborted or terminated. The mayor of Town of Duck has a right to instruct the State of Emergency Management Director to coordinate and control all recovery operations based on the limited resources (McCaig & McLemore, 1994).
In addition, information released to the public should be controlled. Reckless dissemination of information from an unauthorized person can trigger mistrust of governmental agencies and the public. Therefore, any information released to the public must pass through one person - the public information officer. Even the mayor cannot issue control measures directed to the public. Rather, he should draft them and issue to the information officer for communication. Obviously, the public is eager to get more information about the disaster from the town officials. For this reason, the state disaster management team was formed by the Town of Duck for collection, dissemination, and evaluation of all information collected in the field. The team must be chaired by the public information officer. The team works in tandem with the Emergency Management Council headed by the mayor. Moreover, this personnel has a mandate to collect all drafted reports about the cause and resources used in a certain disaster. Nobody is authorized to leak such information to the public, unless allowed by the Public Information Officer or mayor. Therefore, such measures are taken in order to control information dissemination through the wrong channels, because it can harm public relations between the government and citizens.
Besides, chapter 433 reveals that all town mayors have a discretion right to control financial resources used in the operation. The Mayor of the Town of Duck controls the requested financial commitments of the federal state aid for the disaster. Essentially, it was noted that most individuals use disasters to swindle fund from the donors. For this reason, the mayors are found to control the extent to which donations should be spend and how much should be contributed per disaster. In the Town of Duck, the resources should be chaired by the District Development Committee’s chairperson. The chairperson will allow regular audit of the fund so as to mitigate misappropriation of cash. In the case of fund’s misappropriation, the mayor places legal suit against the culprit before drafting other control measures. It is vital to control the utilization of the emergency and rescue fund before there are unfortunate occurrences (Westinghouse Savannah River Company & Broz, 2004).
Lastly, there are control measures required by the disaster jurisdiction. People should always be distanced from the disaster site. The reason is that there may be injuries or future disasters waiting to occur. Therefore, the mayor orders the police department and National Guard unit to secure and protect the jurisdiction affected by the disaster. The law requires that any disaster areas remain under control and authority of the military personnel. However, the security control must be guided by emergency operation principles, which require no injuries to happen to the public from the security officer. The military officers should be trained on humanitarian aid and rescue procedures so that they can help safety officers to mitigate the risk and safe lives. Thereafter, they act in extreme areas, such as those demanding aircraft (Cashman, 2010).
2.5 Coordination Process of an Emergency Plan
Once directions are issued and proper control measures are in place, the mayor and other rescue personnel must coordinated in order to aid the public. Mayors, town manager and Incident commanders should coordinate all safety teams from one area. The principle of emergency operation requires the Mayor of the Town of Duck to maintain and establish a unified operational system that integrates all rescue teams and resources. Coordination is one of the most vital roles of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC), because it helps to ensure that the adequate reports are gathered and delivered to the relevant authorities and media personnel at the right time. Moreover, the information reveals a common operation image between the government, other agencies, and security personnel. The lack of proper coordination reflects poor performance and loss of resources. If the staff is coordinated well, there are chances that the rescue team will have adequate information about the needed resources, location of the available resources, the number of victims and employees, evolving situation, and cause of the disaster (Missouri Dept. of Public Safety, 2010).
The rescue team of the Town of Duck ensures that it has the right resources at the right time and place during incident occurrence. Such resources include equipment, supplies, personnel, and other facilities. The logistics team works in tandem with the financial personnel so as to ensure that all required resources are inventoried and packed in different sizes and capacities. In addition to the proper coordination, this staff ensures that resources are mobilized and utilized economically and efficiently for the benefit of the victims. In addition, co-rdination promotes quick resource tracking documentation and full accountability of the resources. Essentially, if the resources are not coordinated well, some of the disaster facing the Town of Duck will not have been mitigated. Moreover, no adequate resources will be available to service all costs of operation during and after the disaster’s occurrence (Philpott, 2009).
Therefore, it should be noted that the mayor and town manager perform overall coordination of the emergency activities, such as advising the policy implementers on what should be done on the ground, activating and employing staff within the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), coordinating the safety team on the ground scene, and issuing proclamation of any urgent matter. In addition to the overall coordination, the mayor has a role of information allocatiom, because all information should be collected from the ground and discharged through one channel to the public information officer. The information should be organized well so as to avoid leakage, because it will adversely affect the town’s management. Moreover, high levels of coordination should be in place in case of warnings, because they can create a negative picture in the eyes of the public (Oklahoma Dept. of Emergency Management, 2006).
However, coordination should be differentiated from commanding. Coordination in the Town of Duck emergency plan refers to ensuring that all stakeholders work together for one mission - rescue. However, commanding involves giving instruction, meaning that it is not necessary for an individual to cooperate, as in the case of coordination.
Emergency operations are very sensitive, because they are related to life and property. It is recommended that the Mayor of the Town of Duck ensures proper coordination of the available resources. Basically, quick directions should be given to avoid the loss of lives. In most cases, the directions in the rescuing process take time. However, the emergency plan drafted by the town’s management revealed that no rescue operations are conducted with the shortest time possible. The rescue team set the Emergency Operation Center aimed to ensure that all members are coordinated well. Poor direction, control, and coordination measures can lead to time and resource wastage. However, these aspects has been controlled by the town’s leadership.
It is possible to control disaster or emergency with the proper direction, control and coordination measures. The emergency plan reveals different stakeholders involved in the emergency operation. Essentially, it was observed that the information is gathered and released to the public through the common channel. Moreover, all resources are fully accounted for to avoid wastage. The incident commanders and town managers are there to ensure that all resources are utilized as efficiently as possible.