In “Wither the Emergency Manager,” Niel R. Britton comments on Drabek's “Human Responses to disaster: An Inventory of Sociological Findings.” Britton describes six positive and negative issues in emergency management as it is today. In this paper, we will discuss the implications on emergency management as a field and on the individual manager.
In the first positive development, Britton describes New Zealand's efforts to move emergency management into a wider area (instead of simply preparedness and response). Here emergency managers are to be more involved in land management programs, which can help to prevent massive preventable damage in a disaster. Although this moves the career field into a more diffuse mission, mitigation is an important part of the emergency management response. Emergency managers will need to become more adept at identifying potential problem areas in advance, and academic inflation may result from this new mindset. However, I believe it is a positive step forward in our field.
The next point that he argues is for a stronger need for “Knowledge based training” as opposed to the skill oriented training that we currently are engaged in. Although since the time of his writing, I believe that we are moving further into the realm of knowledge based training. Education is already quickly becoming the number one priority in the hiring of new emergency managers. The emergency management field already requires an immense amount of knowledge to be an effective manager in larger incidents. Along the same lines, he argues for research to be applicable to practice. Research for the sake of research is a staple in “classic” academia. However, Emergency Management is a field driven by the practi...
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... is not an insurmountable task, however the emergency manager holding it must back up the CEM with performance worthy of the title.
Finally, there is still a problem in emergency management with interoperability in terms of the jargon. I am currently finishing up my Illinois Professional Emergency Manager certification, as well as working towards the next level in my Air Force Emergency Management career progression. Although we are working towards compliance and interoperability, the acronyms are different and can be misleading. As most emergency managers come from a response background, they tend to use the alphabet soup of acronyms that comes with it. We must work towards a common vernacular to facilitate better response.
Britton, N. (1999). Whither the Emergency Manager? International Journal of Mass emergencies and Disasters. 17(2): 223-35.
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