Sample Environmental Paper on Disaster Response in Washington DC

Having experienced several catastrophic events in the US, community members, particularly those in Washington DC, can accurately predict the occurrence of events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. People are well aware of areas that are prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, and wildfires. However, with all the knowledge about the possibility of the occurrence of these disastrous events, community members are often hardly prepared for them as many believe that they are safe and cannot be affected by the same. Several strategies can be employed to effectively prepare the people of Washington DC for catastrophic events to avert the loss of lives and property and injuries.

Preparing Effectively for A Catastrophic Event

One of the strategies is the adoption of proper information management. Generally, being prepared for catastrophic events depends on how the community gathers, analyzes, and acts on the information during and after the event.  Information management helps the community to be quick in decision making in the event of a disaster (Pearce 217). Second is the creation of awareness of the early warning system, which would help the community members to detect, forecast, and issue alerts of an impending catastrophic event. Early warning facilitates early decision making and measures to be taken to prepare for and mitigate the impact of the event. The third is community resource mobilization that is essential in acquiring emergency funds, equipment, and supplies in the event of a disaster (Paton & Johnston 273). Fourth is the initiation of public training and rehearsals, which is necessary for the promotion of an informed, self-reliant, and alert community capable of responding swiftly when a disastrous event hits.  The fifth strategy involves equipping community members with special skills such as technical and medical to allow them to help themselves and others during the event. Educating them on measures to be taken in case of a disaster would allow them to share with members of the community what to be done during an emergency (Paton & Johnston 274).

Responding Effectively to A Catastrophic Event

The aspect of disaster response to catastrophic events is important to the people of Washington DC. Some strategies can be employed to prepare the community to respond effectively to a catastrophic event. One of the approaches is the development of proper evacuation procedures to make it easy for community members to take the right routes to a safe ground during a disaster (Whitton et al.). Poor evacuation procedures can augment the number of casualties. The second method involves measures to activate special installations, including mobile hospitals or emergency facilities. During and after a catastrophic event, the affected parties require emergency and medical service hence the establishment of emergency facilities is key. The state should make such services available. The third is the development of the procedure for the active distribution system, including a plan for the acquisition of emergency relief supplies (Whitton et al.). Doing so will help in the swift distribution of materials such as water, food, and clothing to the affected community members. The fourth response strategy is the establishment of emergency reception centers as well as shelters for the affected. The emergency reception center is important in ensuring that casualties are well attended to and offered shelter (Whitton et al.). The fifth response approach is the establishment of emergency transport programs to evacuate the elderly or children who cannot escape on their own in the event of a catastrophic event.

Recovering Effectively from a Catastrophic Event

A period of recovery usually follows a response to a disaster. Various schemes can be used in the recovery from a catastrophic event. One of these is assisting the community to plan and reconstruct. Through revitalization and reconstruction, innovative concepts and resiliency that can enhance and revamp economic vitality can be infused. The second strategy is the adoption and implementation of the use of new and creative ICT (Whitton et al.). Doing so would help in driving innovation and resiliency as well as enabling the community to grow and be familiar with solution and tools related to disaster management before and after the occurrence.  The third approach to effective recovery encompasses the formation of support groups to assist the community to come together and share experiences concerning the disaster response technique and recovery process. The fourth strategy is the initiation of training and education of the affected people on means of resuming their normal life to inform them about the consequences of the catastrophic even and enable them to adapt to the aftermath (Whitton et al.). Fifth is counseling that is mostly applied to people who have survived a disaster but experience trauma and mental disorientation. Thus, a journey to recovery will entail psychotherapy to assist them in returning to their normal mental status.

Mitigating Damage from A Catastrophic Event

Some strategies can prepare the community to mitigate damage from a catastrophic event effectively. As outlined by the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, one of these methods is the initiation of mitigation training. This approach can help the community to know how to use hazard-prone land in a way the can benefit it and remain less vulnerable to disaster.  The strategy is important since it reflects the actual problems at hand concerning disaster preparedness and mitigation. The second means of effective mitigation is the protection of natural resources, which involves designing facilities in a way that they do not act as a conduit to adverse damage in the event of a catastrophic event. The third strategy is relocation. Some areas are prone to disasters such as hurricane and the best way to effectively mitigate the damage in such areas is relocating so that in the event of a catastrophic event, the damage or loss of life and properties is minimal or completely prevented.  The fourth strategy is to ensure that the mitigation plan is incorporated into the new development plans. The local jurisdictions must ensure that the design, location, and construction of the new development can withstand natural hazards to reduce the damage that can be caused by an unfortunate occurrence. The fifth strategy concerns the adoption of non-structural measures.  The community should incorporate and embrace nonstructural measures to reduce property damage and injuries from catastrophic events. Nonstructural measures include securing items such as furniture and equipment to reduce damage and injuries in the event of an earthquake or any other catastrophic event (National Research Council Staff).

Important Steps to Improve Community’s Preparation for Natural/Manmade Events

Various steps can be taken to improve community preparedness to natural and or human-made events. One of the steps is conducting hazard-specific research to improve mitigation practice. For instance, research on landslide would enhance the understanding of people on the conditions that result in landslides, and this would make the local jurisdiction to improve hazard and risk assessment. Second, the government, both at the national and local level should implement the regulations that mandate that construction of all facilities adheres to modern building codes and sound land use practices.


Works Cited

National Research Council Staff. Safer Future: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters. Washington: National Academies Press, 1900.

Paton, Douglas, and David Johnston. “Disasters and communities: vulnerability, resilience, and preparedness.” Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal10.4 (2001): 270-277.

Pearce, Laurie. “Disaster management and community planning, and public participation: how to achieve sustainable hazard mitigation.” Natural Hazards 28.2-3 (2003): 211-228.

Whitton, Shona, et al. “Cover story: Adaptive approaches to disaster response and recovery viewed through a psychosocial lens: Sydney siege case study.” National Emergency Response 28.4 (2015): 16.;dn=508330219310685;res=IELAPA