Common Challenges

Common Challenges for Any Disaster Management Plan Are

  1. Inter-Organisational Coordination: Collaboration between intervening emergency response agencies cannot be stressed enough.
  2. Sharing Information: This task can become complicated by the amount of equipment needed and the number of people involved. In most incidences, two-way radios are the only reliable form of communications across distances between mobilized response units. Landline and mobile phones can become overloaded and communication via radio frequency is unreliable due to differing band usage amongst responding agencies.
  3. Resource Management: A command centre must be established to take control of the distribution of supplemental personnel, equipment, and supplies among multiple organisations and identify which resources have arrived or are en route. Command must also determine where those resources are most needed and brief all agencies or volunteers before entering the disaster scene.
  4. When Advance Warnings Are Possible: Evacuation from areas of danger can be the most effective life-saving strategy before and during a disaster.

Communication channels must be in place to allow numerous agencies access to information about detected potential threats. And clearly defined criteria must be established as to when and where to evacuate so all agencies understand the procedure.

  1. The Public Tends to Underestimate Risks and Downplay Warnings: This is especially true if messages are ambiguous or inconsistent. All warnings should be issued from a credible source and information on how to determine individual risk factors must be conveyed to members of the affected population with clear guidelines on what actions should be taken.
  2. Search and Rescue: This is an important aspect of post-disaster response. But due to its very nature, cannot be planned for in advance as casualties are often treated at the scene. Efforts for search and rescue teams can also become complicated by multiple jurisdictions involved during a disaster as well as by the efforts of bystanders who are trying to help.
  3. Using the Mass Media to Deliver Warnings to the Public: Local media agencies should be tasked with educating the public on how to avoid health problems post disaster. Information on food and water safety, injury and disease prevention should be disseminated through TV and radio.
  4. Triage: Untrained personnel and bystanders involved with the initial search and rescue often bypass established field triage and first aid stations because they do not know where these posts are located or because they want to get the victims to the closest hospital. Established protocols between emergency medical services and area hospitals will ensure more even distribution of casualties.
  5. Patient Tracking: This issue can arises because most people who are evacuating a scene do not use local shelters and therefore their whereabouts are not recorded through official agencies.
  6. Hospital or Healthcare Agency Damage: In the event that local medical facilities are incapacitated or overloaded with disaster related casualties, an alternate site should be determined prior to an emergency.
  7. Volunteer Management: Donation and volunteer management can become problematic during a disaster since most efforts are focused on mobilizing all available participants and the available resources may exceed needs.
  8. Plan for Organized Improvisation: Be prepared to respond to the disruption of shelters, utilities, communication systems, and transportation. Regardless of how thorough your disaster management plan may be, preplanning must always anticipate the unexpected. And Public health officials must develop mutually agreed procedures, maintaining frequent training exercises to keep their systems coordinated.
Last modified: Monday, 21 November 2016, 9:22 AM