February 22, 2015
Hurricanes as a Natural Hazard 3
Emergency management 3
Planning and indentifying risks 4
Prior hurricane responses 5
The future of hurricane emergency planning 6
Hurricanes are naturally occurring hazards that negatively impact human life and upon occurrence have the ability to create a natural disaster. The effects that Hurricanes have on the communities that they make contact with can be catastrophic in terms of damages and loss of life. Although unpreventable, the effects can be minimized through emergency management planning and risk identification. Prior emergency responses to situations such as Hurricane Katrina reveal critically ineffective response planning on national and state levels that resulted in severe damages. Future emergency response plans need to be studied, tested, and implemented now so that the plan combined with public knowledge and awareness has the ability to prevent a repeat of the United States’ failed response to a natural disaster.
Hurricanes as a Natural Hazard
In the last two centuries, tropical cyclones have been responsible for the deaths of about 1.9 million people worldwide. The Gulf and east costs of the United States suffer an approximated average of five billion dollars in damages every year. The majority of these damages are caused by category three or higher hurricanes. However, hurricanes are naturally occurring processes operating throughout the history of Earth. They serve functions such as helping to maintain the global heat balance by moving warm, moist air to the middle latitudes and polar regions, as well as by regulating the thermohaline circulation through up swelling (Hurricane Preparedness, 1999). This natural process is called a natural hazard when its occurrence could have a negative effect on humans. If the hazardous threat occurs and harms humans the result is called a natural disaster. The risk associated with natural hazards cannot be eliminated, but an understanding of the process can minimize the hazard and risk to humans.
Emergency management is the creation of effective plans that minimize the vulnerability of a community when correctly implemented. Effective responses arise from the cooperation of the entire community and knowledge of the appropriate actions and steps prior to the disaster actually occurring. Essentially, this is achieved through community awareness of their vulnerability, identification of the critical risk factors, and a strategically developed plan of action that mitigates the results and effects when such a disaster occurs. Failure to create such a plan could lead to substantial damages of assets, human life, and business revenue. Ideally, emergency planning aims to prevent emergencies from occurring, but with natural disasters such as hurricanes, this is not possible. The study and research of hurricanes themselves, along with the frequency, likely locations, scientific processes responsible for them, and the ability to be predicted and/or mitigated. planning and indentifying risks
Through the research available on hurricanes and previous experience with prior responses, communities should develop a specialized plan. The development of such a plan is a cyclical process that involves many steps such as recognition and ranking of risks, community education and awareness, resources available and required, controllable factors, communication abilities and backup methods, testing, monitoring, maintaining and reevaluating current plans. Prior to developing a plan though, the possible effects which include primary, secondary, and tertiary should be examined. Primary effects occur as a result of the hurricane itself including water and wind damage and the collapse of buildings. Secondary effects occur only because a primary effect has cause