Our home is our shelter from all the elements. It is sturdy enough to protect us from the rain, strong winds, snow, and even from bad people. However, it can’t always protect us from harm all the time especially in the face of a disaster. Tornadoes, floods, famine, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc., our home may not always keep us safe from all these harms.
There’s little we can do when disaster strikes. However, we have a chance to prepare beforehand through various disaster preparedness measures. Disaster preparedness pertains to measures taken in preparation for disasters to reduce damage and casualty. It helps people react to disasters and effectively cope with its consequences. It is often a collaborative effort between the government, various organizations and the population at large in facilitating disaster preparedness activities. It is often a continuous and integrated process comprised of various risk reduction activities and overseeing the delivery of basic services needed by the people when they are no longer able to provide for these themselves.
Natural disasters cause nearly 500 deaths annually in the United States. Unfortunately, healthcare facilities in the U.S. continue to fall short in disaster planning and preparedness. This lack of preparation creates the potential for serious ramifications, putting staff, patients and the financial security of the hospital at risk. Below are five key components to an effective emergency management plan.
Knowledge of assets
Technology fail-safes and protocol
Healthcare leadership involvement
The concept of disaster preparedness is not rocket science. For some, it is even embedded in human nature, the innate desire to survive in the midst of a mammoth threat. Wanting to protect yourself from danger is an innate human trait and disaster preparedness is merely a compilation of concerted and fool-proof measures one should take in the face of calamities. Not having one in place can have disastrous and often deadly implications at the expense of the innocent citizens who have no hand on the government’s funds.
Kenya’s disaster preparedness is itself a disaster. One only needs to look at the effects of the current drought ravaging the country to realise how poorly the country has prepared itself to deal with such emergencies.
What speaks volumes about the priority Kenya accords disaster preparedness is that despite the country’s budget moving from Sh350 billion 14 years ago to the current Sh2.6 trillion, disaster preparedness has hardly changed from its status of being virtually non-existent.
Why is disaster preparedness important? The first reason is obvious. It is important to secure lives and property during emergencies. The better prepared a country is to deal with disasters, the quicker it is able to respond, and the more lives it is able to save. Also, the quicker a country is able to recover.
The second reason is critical for a country’s stability, and its long term growth prospects. Disaster preparedness secures a country’s development gains and its economic future. The huge bills the government is forced to incur to deal with disasters can be avoided if it had prepared in advance. The government would also avoid having to divert substantial budgetary resources to deal with disasters as it now does.
Thousands of people can die, millions can suffer, and properties and crops destroyed without a disaster preparedness plan in place. Hence, now is the best time to take it seriously and partnerships between nations can help a lot in strengthening existing disaster preparedness plans of the other, especially for developing yet populous nations like the Philippines that is often hit by natural calamities throughout the year.
“Japan and the Philippines are both located on the Pacific Ring of Fire making us particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters. As a long-standing development partner of the Philippines, JICA is committed to help the Philippines achieve resilience towards long-term economic growth and sustainable development,” said JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito.
The training includes an 18-day course on Regional Revitalization in Disaster Prone Area (July 9-26, 2017) and is open to young Filipinos, ages 20 to 35 years old.
Participants are expected to learn from Japan’s recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Higashimatsushima and Ishinomaki cities devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. They will also attend lectures in the International Research Institute of Disaster Science, a research center established by the Tohoku University following the 2011 earthquake disaster in Japan.
Wherever you are in the world, you can benefit a lot from having disaster preparedness measures in place whether you live in areas not frequently hit by natural disasters. The United States itself experiences its fair share of disasters, from earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, even hurricanes etc. However, issues of corruption and now, budget cuts, make it harder for government agencies and organizations to mobilize and allocate the proper use of funds. Regardless of any external issues, all households should have their own disaster preparedness kits ready anytime it is needed because it’s you and your family’s life and safety at risk and you should do your part in protecting them at all cost whether with external help or not.