A case study

1. The Comprehensive Emergency Management concerns included in this scenario.

On February 18, a local city council member’s 19-year-old daughter went missing following a bonfire. The emergency response team needs to determine if there is a connection between the bonfire and the missing girl. They need to develop strategies for deploying a search team

On February 20, a severe winter storm system moved into the area. The serve storm is a disaster, which without disaster preparedness, the community will be cut from the entire state due to lack of proper communication system. An emergency communication lab should be established to help the community communicate with the other counties for emergency response support (FEMA, 2006). Power lines are down for three counties. In such a case, all the emergency power and lighting system should be activated. In the absence of an emergency power system, the team should seek alternative ways of lighting the areas while long-term lighting system is still sought.

The area hospital is currently running on backup power sources and there are three nursing homes. Additionally, there is an orphanage in the area that are running low on gasoline to run their backup generators. With the power outages, gas stations are unable to pump and provide gasoline. Finally, there is Daisy Nursing home, just outside of Harvard. There are also Thirty-eight citizens to taken to the local shelters. These vital facilities should be running fulltime.

There are also 28,000 people without power, and there are another 50,000 without power in neighboring counties. This is a disaster and due to the scale of the blackout, the country needs a faster alternative before the gasoline is exhausted.

Roads are currently inaccessible for ambulances and fire trucks meaning there is need for Transportation prioritizing, ordering, sourcing, and acquisition; time phasing plans; fleet management; and movement coordination and tracking.

Currently there are 7 deaths, 5 from motor vehicle accidents. This means that the dead bodies should be disposed or taken to local morgues.

Lack of adequate communication with the other states due to the poor damaged phones lines, and lack of cellular connectivity is limited due to inoperative towers.

Donation management team should be created because donations are beginning to pour in from around the state. Despite the incoming donations, the district also needs adequate donations of food and gasoline and this is the reason why well-wishers and private funds will be asked to donate more to the victims of the disasters.

Because the county jail has 13 inmates and is running on backup generators, the county jail risks inmates’ breakout because of the permitting conditions. These 13 inmates will pose a great threat to the county. Insecurity and theft of important equipment and accessories such as snow chains, snow equipment for the fire department.

Finally, there has been one major house fire due to soot buildup in the chimney, and the fire department was unable to respond. Inter-organizational coordination problems also applicable to larger events

2. The concerns regarding communication included in this scenario.

Phone lines are not working, and cellular connectivity is limited due to inoperative towers. In this case, an emergency communication system should e established to help communicate with emergency management groups, special interest groups and other third parties (FEMA, 2006).

3. The management, leadership, and decision-making needs with this scenario.

For one, there is need for Inter-organizational coordination because of the multi-organizational responses and the magnitude of the emergencies in the scenario, the district is likely to experience inter-organizational continuation problems. For example, the emergency support functions will not be properly coordinated, as each organization in the district will require maximum support. Therefore, emergency support functions will be strained in a bid to provide the necessary services and goods (Drabek, 2005, pp. 49-54). There is a leadership vacuum as the Sharif and the county judges are up for reelections. All the aspiring and the current leaders in these capacities will most likely demand audience and publicity. This means that there will be no leadership as leadership is conferred on one person for unity of command. The activation of the Arkansas Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and several faith based disaster response organizations such as the Arkansas National Guard are likely to scramble for resources and this further leads to uncoordinated response to the situations.

4. The needed technical skills for tackling the issues raised in this scenario.

The scenario requires a number of technical skills because the issues are varied. For example, the power line needs repair or a mobile communication centre should be established for centralized communication with all the disaster ravaged areas and the vital facilities within the district. For example, the Daisy Nursing home, the county jail, the, the orphanages, and the nursing home and schools in the district, technical communication skills are required. The power lines are also required because of the damaged power lines and the importance of electrify in both homes and institutions. This makes power-fighting skills necessary for the district. Additionally, the electrical and electronic skills are also required to help reinstall the power lines. All the hospital and orphanages need energy power systems as the backup system is likely to die out. Canton, (2006) argues that the roads need civil and structural engineers to create alternative routes as the roads are now impassable and this means that supplies cannot reach the residents of the district in need of emergency supplies.

5. The political and legal contexts within this scenario.

Being an election year, campaigns, and power struggles are likely to be the major activity. The distribution of emergency surfaces will likely be politicized and the lack of leadership due to power vacuum created by the resignation of the authorities pending reelections will cause political mayhem. The legal context is much different because the legal context may not allow for access to the specific areas. For example, the 13 inmates are likely to breakout of county jail due to the permitting situations.

6. The social and ethical contexts with this scenario.

In the scenario above, there are likely to be cases of negligence on the part of one or a number of actors. For example, the police, the military, the orphanage heads, and country jail heads. In the event of death or injury, it is important to note that negligence during emergencies might lead to court case loss. The main element of negligence in the scenario includes the element of duty because all actors have a duty to act in a reasonable manner. Additionally, there are actors who will most likely breach their duty to the citizens of the district. Coppola, (2007) posits that there actors will act unreasonably or may fail to act appropriately thereby putting the citizens at risk. Additionally, there will be proximate causes whereby people will be harmed because of failure to act. Finally, there will be personally injury and property damage in the process of responding to emergencies and this will results in a liability. It is therefore important to determine the extent to which any actors will be covered or immune to local law. This way, it will be easy to absolve actors from charges of negligence’s or breach of duties (Heide, 1989).

In the scenario above, there are not standard operating procedures because this is a multi organizational problem that involves response from various more than one emergency response team. Any failure to supervise the emergency response workers or failure tom perform duties outlined in the emergency management plan can be considered a breach.

On the other hand, ethical issues include the conflict values where the emergency response team would have to decide whether to search for the local city council member’s 19-year-old daughter who went missing following a bonfire or the county judge’s mother. In most cases, it is ethical to take an account that provides the most goods (utility). This may require that the emergency response team focus on the course of action that will save the largest number of citizens as opposed to two relatives of important personnel (Haddow, &, Bullock, 2006; Witt, &, Morgan, 2009).


Heide, E, (1989). Disaster Response: Principles of Preparation and Cooperation.St. Louis, C.V. Mosby Co.

Canton, L, (2006). Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs.. Wiley and Sons

Coppola, P, (2007). Introduction to International Disaster Management. Amsterdam, Butterworth-Heinemann. Imprint of Elsevier

Drabek, E, (2005). “Theories Relevant to Emergency Management Versus a Theory of Emergency Management.” Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 3, No. 4, July/August 2005, pp. 49-54.

FEMA. (2006). Director Paulison Lays Out Vision for a ‘New FEMA’.” Washington, DC: FEMA, National Press Club Presentation, November 30, 2006 (Release No. FNF-06-019).

FEMA. (2006). Principles of Emergency Management. EMI, Independent Study (IS-230), February Accessed at: http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is230.asp

Haddow, G, &, A. Bullock, (2006). Introduction to Emergency Management (2ndEd.). Butterworth-Heinemann,.

Witt, J, &, Morgan J, (2009). Stronger In The Broken Places: Nine Lessons For Turning Crisis Into Triumph. New York: Time Books,


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