When people think of mega-disasters, they often think of Hurricane Katrina. It is important to understand, however, that Hurricane Katrina was not the only mega-disaster to strike the United States. In 1906, a devastating earthquake that spawned an outbreak of fires struck San Francisco. The loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake and fires was comparable to that of Hurricane Katrina.
Both natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes) and human-caused disasters (e.g., terrorist attacks, shootings, or intentional chemical/biological agent release) present immense challenges for integrating lessons learned into effective implementation of emergency management standards.
Policy makers reacted to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in a manner similar to the way policy makers reacted to Hurricane Katrina—they learned which response and recovery methods worked and which did not work. Ideally, this is how emergency management evolves over time as each generation responds to new hazards and disasters.
For this Discussion, review the media and Learning Resources for this week. Select a natural or human-caused disaster to use for this Discussion and do some research on this disaster. Do not select Hurricane Katrina as your disaster. Think about historical lessons learned from it. Consider how these lessons learned, if they were integrated into current emergency management policy decisions, apply to contemporary emergency management.
Post a brief description of the disaster you selected. Next, explain some of the lessons learned from that disaster. Finally, explain how these lessons were or could have been integrated into emergency management policy decisions.
Canton, L. G. (2007). Emergency management: Concepts and strategies for effective programs. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
•Chapter 1, “Emergency Management: A Historical Perspective” (pp. 1–33)
•Chapter 3, “The Emergency Manager: Evolving Roles and Shifting Paradigms” (pp. 63–83)
Sylves, R. (2015). Disaster policy and politics: Emergency management and homeland security (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: CQ Press.
•Chapter 1, “Disaster Management in the United States” (pp. 2–24)
•Chapter 3, “Historical Trends in Disaster Management” (pp. 58-88)
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