The State of New York’s Disaster Emergency Preparedness Plans

Introduction

Disturbing events like natural disasters and terrorist attacks have made societies concerned about the level of emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. Natural and manmade disasters occur at an alarming rate. The magnitude of disasters is widespread and are damaging to infrastructure. The likely hood of attacks by terrorists in the United States is a paramount concern.

Disaster recovery is the way that leads to resumption of normal business operation after a disruption. The September 11 attacks on America have made organizations grow the need to get ready for disaster recovery. In this regard, the US government has allocated many resources in preparation for such attacks. The public health and department of homeland security receives a lot of money from the government to deal with such.

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In 1996, the New York City Office of Emergency Management was established. It has the responsibility of planning and carrying out management of emergencies. New York City OEM regularly conducts tests and reacts to emergencies. OEM is working with partners all over the city of New York to come up with strategies that improve the ability of the city to recover from disasters (Pinkowski, 2008).

Disaster Preparation Plans in New York

Homeland security and the department of health are working together with an aim of preparing for disasters that can be either manmade or natural. The damage that caused by such disasters can affect lives of the people of New York, the infrastructure and the economy of the United States at large. It is essential that preparation for such be at bay as it may take the city a number of years to recover from these disasters should they occur.

In 2009, the health department in New York confirmed the first case of H1N1 virus infection among students from a local college. The OEM worked together with various bodies and individuals to ensure that there is minimization to the spread of this virus. Revision of health regulations already in place on a yearly basis has been their priority.

A task force was formed to concentrate on eliminating the spread of infections from this virus. The OEM has qualified health professionals in place to oversee outbreak of diseases and deal with any kind of disease that may be a threat to the people in New York.

The administration in New York established a Coastal Storm Plan (CSP) that deals with issues arising from storms especially hurricanes. This coastal storm plan is revised every year and has illustrations on the plans the city has should there be a storm.

Effects of storms including inadequate drinking water, destroyed communication media, electrical faults and blocked roads are some of the issues discussed in this plan. The city of New York is well prepared for such calamities and already has a plan to deal with them should they occur.

The city of New York has a disaster housing recovery plan. This plan focuses on providing shelter to post disaster victims. The government is ready to provide shelter to New York City residents should there be a disaster that leave them homeless. Already in place is an emergency shelter program that has constructed buildings to accommodate more than 600,000 people (Philips, 2009).

The mayor’s office in New York has a laid out strategy to tack flash floods and their effects on the city. The 2007 floods that affected New York City saw the establishment of a task force from various arms of the government. A significant responsibility of this force is restoring the transport system back to its state of operation. Assistance areas were quickly set up and basic need given to the affected individuals.

The City’s Donation and Volunteer Management Plan created in 2009 defines the mobilization of volunteers and donors to assist people affected by disasters. Creation of an online portal to ease the helping process and a call center is in place. These make donating easy as information on requirements by a majority of the victims is easily accessible.

An emergency stockpile consists of medical supplies, clothing, blankets etc. OEM has set up an emergency stockpile within the city of New York. These necessities are released within a period of 48 hours to different areas of New York to help the affected persons. The emergency stockpile can sustain thousands of individuals for up to a week.

Strengths and Challenges

The city of New York has recently encountered a variety of disasters. This has helped the government in preparing against future recurrence of these disasters. Coming up with these plans and strategies has seen the establishment of task forces that discuss in detail the situation before hand and come up with solutions. The people of New York become aware about possible calamities and the necessary steps followed should they strike.

One key challenge is insufficient finances and human resources. Funds are only available to provide for a specific number of the population in the event of a disaster. The resources available cannot be enough for the majority of people in New York. Laying out strategies and plans is one thing but their approval is another. It takes time for the government to approve these disaster preparation plans because of their financial impact on the economy.

Role of the Government

The United States department of treasury through the IRS counsel and assist individuals who have lost their property to disasters. The department of Homeland security in conjunction with the health department has the overall task of managing the disaster preparedness plans.

The departments of housing and urban development give loans to victims of disaster to enable them buy new homes in cases where there is destruction of houses. Department of Health and Human Services offer health services to needy as well as aged people without health insurance cover whenever there is a disaster.

Conclusion

Natural disasters and terrorist attacks have been in the news a lot lately in the United States. This has raised concern about America’s level of emergency preparedness and disaster recovery (Bradbury, 2008).The impact of such disasters on the economy is immense. It is therefore vital that a city such as New York embark on preparations to recover from such attacks and calamities.

The United States government through the Homeland Security and health departments has set aside resources for disaster preparation. These departments are working together with other organizations to ensure recovery from natural disasters and terrorist attacks. New York City prepared well for recovery from most natural disasters and attacks. There are however challenges of funds to effectively achieve this.

References

Bradbury, C. (2008). DISASTER! Creating and testing an effective Recovery Plan.

The British Journal of administrative Management, 14

Philips, B. (2009). Disaster Recovery, New York: CRC Press.

Pinkowski, J. (2008). Disaster Management Handbook, New York: CRC Press.

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