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State of Emergency and Politics

1.) Assess the current state of the emergency management field in regards to its political influence. Does it appear political influences are subsiding? Give two examples supporting your assessment.

2.) Analyze a recent U.S. disaster and identify three politically charged components in the mitigation, preparedness, response, and/or recovery phases.

3.) Describe how disaster policy might be more proactive and how this could be accomplished.

4.) List the greatest obstacles to a more proactive evolution of emergency management.

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1.) The field of emergency management has become a more collaborative enterprise since the 1940's and 1950's. This transformation has moved beyond the top-down bureaucratic model and has since become a more dynamic and flexible network model which incorporates intergovernmental, intersectoral, and muti-organizational cooperation (Waugh and Streib, 2006). During Hurricane Katrina, FEMA, the federal emergency management agency and a government organization, was unable to respond quickly enough. It took about 4 days to get water to the inhabitants of New Orleans, causing several to die and economic losses of $200 billion (Burby, 2006). This is a direct example of political lack of preparedness. Hurricane Katrina also created strong pressure to return to command and control approaches, which are inconsistent with shared responsibility and management system that is currently in place (Waugh and Streib, 2006).

The main paradigm about emergency management is that "the local government paradox" , which is the idea that citizens bear the brunt of suffering and financial loss in disasters while officials pay insufficient attention to policies to limit vulnerability (Burby, 2006). While political influence is present, it is rarely effective at mitigating the emergency event. Climate change, is also a prevailing issue, has been influencing increasing amounts of natural disasters, with presidential disaster declarations drastically increasing each year (Burby, 2006). However, the republican party in the U.S, which has always been anti-environmental regulation, is now using the budget crisis in the U.S as an excuse to get rid of the EPA (environmental protection agency). This means cutting the budget of regulators who predict disasters and environmental change. Therefore, emergency management has not left politics completely, but ...

Solution Summary

The expert states of emergency and politics. The greatest obstacles to a more proactive evolution of emergency management is determined.