Disaster support often conjures the image of boots-on-the-ground responders providing aid to survivors on scene. However, disaster support involves so much more that is accomplished at each phase of the disaster management cycle. These efforts include creating codes and standards, building a workforce, providing financial aid, and offering psychological support.
One way to mitigate threats is to ensure that building codes and standards are in place and inspections and repairs are conducted and enforced. Even in areas where current building codes can withstand destructive winds, earthquakes, and other disasters, older structures may require updates to address evolving risks and threats and save lives. For example, in June 2021, the lives of 98 Surfside, Florida residents were lost in a condominium collapse despite warning signs of structural deficiencies.
Since all disasters cannot be mitigated, communities must prepare for numerous possible threats and hazards. This process begins with people who can fill the many staffing requirements within agencies and organizations. During COVID-19, many people were sent home – some able to work remotely and others who lost their jobs. As operations rebuild, emergency preparedness projects such as internships and trainings have restarted to help fill critical current and future human resource needs.
In the aftermath of a crisis, response can be seen in the form of physical, virtual, or financial efforts. During COVID-19, large sums of money were distributed across the country to provide critical financial aid to those in need. Unfortunately, criminals also responded to the pandemic by taking advantage of opportunities through efforts such as financial fraud. These types of compounding events create even more challenges in the days, weeks, and even years that follow.
Of course, there is no timeframe for the recovery phase. The communities’ actions within the other three phases could shorten or lengthen the recovery period. Even then, some disasters may require a lifetime of recovery from the physical and/or psychological effects on survivors. Regardless the stage of the disaster, there is massive support that DomPrep readers and others provide before, during, and after disasters. This issue of the DomPrep Journal is dedicated to all those who serve in these critical roles.