Martin LaMar: Is Your Emergency Plan Up to Snuff?
In a perfect world, disasters would be the things of fantasy fiction, and real life would be a bed of roses (and no thorns). The unfortunate truth is that we do not live in a perfect world, so it only makes sense to hope for the best while preparing for the worst. This is why community emergency management and disaster recovery planning should never be overlooked and left on the back burner, as someone will inadvertently get burned as a result, according to emergency planning expert Martin LaMar.
What Is Emergency Planning?
Emergency planning is a process that involves preparing in a systematic way for major disasters and incidents that may happen in the future. Emergency plans are usually documents shared between stakeholders and participants that specify responsibilities and tasks that must be completed during emergencies. They are essentially blueprints for managing emergency events and thus should spell out how collaboration, communication, actions, and commands are handled when the unexpected happens.
Even though emergency planning has a document as its end product, it is more focused on a process rather than on an outcome. In fact, even when you have created an emergency plan, the process isn’t over, as you will need to regularly update the plan as your community’s circumstances change, for example, according to LaMar.
What a Strong Emergency Plan Looks Like
So, how exactly do you know if you have a strong emergency plan in place? For starters, the plan has to match critical needs to resources that are readily available, and it must do this as quickly as possible, avoiding delay and procrastination. In addition, your plan must be pragmatic and realistic. For example, it doesn’t make sense to make plans to utilize resources that aren’t available and that likely couldn’t be accessed within a helpful time frame.
In some cases, however, you can access outside resources quickly enough. If your local resources happen to be overwhelmed, plan to pursue resources at the inter-municipal or regional level first. If that isn’t possible, seeking help at the national or international level will be necessary to supplant your local resources.
The Role of Technology in Emergency Planning
An important component of any emergency plan today is the use of information and communications technology, according to Martin LaMar. Today’s plans should ideally reflect such innovations as well as the unique opportunities they offer for sharing critical information as well as developing synoptic pictures of rapidly changing emergency situations. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan will ultimately help to preserve the lives and well-being of potentially thousands of people no matter what unstoppable events may come your community’s way in the future.