The mere word disaster implies a sudden overwhelming and unforeseen event. At the household level, a disaster could result in a major illness, death, a substantial economic or social misfortune. At the community level, it could be a flood, a fire, a collapse of buildings in an earthquake, the destruction of livelihoods, an epidemic or displacement through conflict. When occurring at district or provincial level, many people can be affected.
Disaster response refers to decisions and actions taken in accordance with the strategic, tactical, and operational objectives defined by emergency responders. At a high level these will be to protect life, contain and mitigate the impacts of the emergency and create the conditions for a return to normality.
Response encompasses the decisions and actions taken to deal with the immediate effects of an emergency. In many scenarios it is likely to be relatively short and to last for a matter of hours or days—rapid implementation of arrangements for collaboration, co-ordination and communication are, therefore, vital.
Response encompasses the effort to deal not only with the direct effects of the emergency itself (e.g. fighting fires, rescuing individuals) but also the indirect effects (e.g. disruption, media interest, law enforcement)
Disaster response refers to the actions taken directly before, during or in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. The objective is to save lives, ensure health and safety and to meet the subsistence needs of the people affected. This may include warning/evacuation, providing immediate assistance, assessing damage, search and rescue, continuing assistance and the immediate restoration or construction of infrastructure.
The aim of emergency response is to provide immediate assistance to maintain life, improve health and support the morale of the affected population.
The primary objective in the response phase is on keeping people safe, preventing the next disasters, and meeting the basic needs of the people until more permanent and sustainable solutions can be found.
The Governments Role:
The main responsibility to address these needs and respond to a disaster lies with the government or governments in whose territory the disaster has occurred.
Storm First Responders works hand in hand with Government authorities and agencies. Providing collaboration, intel, resources, materials, equipment, subcontractors, volunteers, search and rescue and humanitarian aid.
Humanitarian Organizations Role:
In addition to Governments role, humanitarian organizations are often strongly present in this phase of the disaster management cycle, particularly in areas where the government lacks the resources to respond adequately to the needs.
These organizations are key many times to the sheer survival of those immediately impacted. For example, the availability of drinking water is critical during natural disasters and can be a matter of life and death. Storm First Responders serves this organizations with the people and tools to successfully do their jobs.
Churches are vital to the stability and rebuilding of communities and individual lives. Churches have a host of dedicated volunteers, and facilities that can house those displaced by storms. Storm First Responders partners with churches world-wide. Many times, Storm First Responders will host Town Hall meetings in Church venues with the support of the local Church. These Town Halls are an opportunity to gather the citizens impacted by storm and assess their medical condition, emotional stability and gather intel on their damaged properties and to contact them to resources to bring the immediate relief and long-term solutions. SFR may bring in many of their subcontracts and non-profits to Town Halls meetings to work with those adversely impacted by the storm. For examples, contractors, roofers, aid workers, Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, Samaritans Purse, local and state organizations and representatives.
Common objectives for responders are:
- Saving and protecting human life
- Relieving suffering
- Containing the emergency – limiting its escalation or spread and mitigating its impacts.
- Providing the public and businesses with warnings, advice, and information
- Protecting the health and safety of responding personnel
- Safeguarding the environment
- Protecting property.
- Maintaining or restoring critical activities
- Maintaining normal services at an appropriate level
- Promoting and facilitating self-help in affected communities
- Facilitating investigations and inquiries (e.g. by preserving the scene and effective records management)
- Facilitating the recovery of the community (including the humanitarian assistance, economic, infrastructure and environmental impacts)
- Evaluating the response and recovery effort; and
- Identifying and taking action to implement lessons identified.
When Crisis Strikes, People and Organizations Unite. Drawing out the best in all of us!
Examples of disaster responses could be but not limited to:
Setting up temporary shelters that provide a safe place to sleep, food, and emotional support from trained personnel. Delivering meals and water. Distributing emergency supplies and necessities, such as toiletries for hygiene and tarps, shovels, trash bags for cleanup efforts. Response actions may include activating an emergency operations center, evacuating threatened populations, providing mass care, emergency rescue and medical care, firefighting, and urban search and rescue.
Emotion Response to Disaster
Stay Calm, Respond Smart
Disasters create chaos and severe hardships. Storm First Responders knows that during these time emotions are heightened. In fact, the most common response to a disaster is stress, anxiety, and depression. Warning signs of distress may include sleeping too much or too little. Stomachaches or headaches.
Storm First Responders has learned from their vast experience that during storms not only are building and infrastructures broken but people are as well. Minimizing those human emotional factors is one of SFR main objects. SFR serves those emotionally depleted by disaster by providing spiritual support. SFR has trained Storm Clergy, counselors, and volunteer response support teams to be with and available to those adversely impacted by storms and feel that they are at their darkest hour, and alone. SFR has learned that a response to the human emotional needs of those affected by disaster demands a swift and caring response.