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Planning for hazard preparedness and mitigation is a crucial step to preventing casualties and severe damage in case of a disaster. While some communities only face one or two threats, other areas have an increased risk of emergency situations and thus require thorough planning. The present paper provides recommendations for hazard preparedness and mitigation for Miami, Florida. Based on scholarly articles and official publications, it is suggested that the community will benefit from risk and vulnerability assessments, the implementation of new technologies, citizen education, and structural damage prevention methods. Applying the proposed strategies would assist the local government in mitigating the key hazards and reducing the risk of damage and casualties.
Emergency management planning is a critical tool that can help to save lives in dangerous circumstances. It is particularly important to implement effective preparedness and mitigation plans in areas that are at a high risk of a hazardous event. Miami, Florida, is a large community that is located in the South-East of the United States, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Due to its geographic position and climate, Miami is at risk for a number of hazards, including floods, hurricanes, storms, and wildfires, and there are specific mitigation and preparedness strategies to address these threats.
In order to perform analysis, the information will be gathered from official and scholarly sources. First, to identify the types of hazards that are prominent in the area, the formal emergency mitigation plan for Miami-Dade County will be consulted. Then, scholarly literature and official resources will be searched for preparedness and mitigation strategies relevant to the identified hazards. The information will be coded for common themes to produce a high-quality summary of results. The outcomes will then be interpreted and included in the recommended preparedness and mitigation strategies. The chosen approach will help to provide evidence-based recommendations that could be applied to improve emergency management in the community and reduce damage in case of a hazard.
Types and Descriptions of Hazards
The information provided in the Local Mitigation Strategy reveals that the Miami-Dade area is at risk for at least four major environmental hazards: floods, hurricanes, storms, and wildfires (Perkins, 2018). This means that a comprehensive strategy is required to ensure adequate preparedness for and response to all hazards. A flood is the overflowing of water onto the land where it is usually dry (Perkins, 2018). Floods can occur during heavy rain and when drainage systems fail, thus damaging houses, roads, and other structures.
A hurricane is an extreme weather event involving a tropical cyclone that involves severe winds, rain, flooding, and tornadoes (Perkins, 2018). Hurricanes are the most crucial threat to Florida due to their geographical position, and there is a history of hurricanes destroying communities in the area. A storm is also a prominent threat in Miami, Florida, that involves strong winds, heavy rain, thunder, lightning, and even tornadoes (Perkins, 2018). Storms are particularly dangerous to people sailing in the ocean because they can cause boats to wreck or sink. Strong storms can also damage housing and infrastructure items, such as streetlights and traffic lights. Finally, a wildfire is a type of hazard that involves fire spreading rapidly and out of control (Perkins, 2018). Wildfires are difficult to prevent and mitigate, and they can cause damage to houses and people’s health. Addressing the community’s needs for preparedness and mitigation can assist emergency management services by reducing the severity of consequences and improving recovery.
Three reliable sources were chosen to recommend disaster preparedness strategies relative to the hazards discussed above. First of all, the World Health Organization (WHO, 2017) recommends local governments and emergency management services perform the assessment of risks and capacities regularly. This strategy would help to ensure that the content of disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation plans is current and adequate. Secondly, Alexander (2015) highlights the importance of creating disaster response and recovery plans that define responsible persons, communication schemes, means for collaboration between various response teams, evacuation methods, and other important variables. This strategy would help to ensure that the response is carried out quickly and effectively, thus minimizing the damage of a natural disaster. It is also recommended to provide education to citizens regarding the possibility of disasters and ways to prepare their houses and families for an emergency (Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], n.d.). Education on methods for family and individual preparedness can help people to act correctly in case of any natural disaster, thus reducing the risk of casualties.
There are five universal mitigation strategies outlined during research that could be applied to all the hazards identified for Miami, Florida. First of all, structural mitigation efforts are crucial because it helps to prevent disasters and reduce damage (Shreve & Kelman, 2014; WHO, 2017). These include building and monitoring the condition of dams and drainage systems and reinforcing structures that could be damaged by severe weather conditions. The second mitigation strategy that proved to be effective is the implementation of early warning systems, which help to start the response faster and reduce the risk of casualties (Shreve & Kelman, 2014). This strategy would be useful for Miami, Florida, where the risk of casualties can be prevented by evacuation and effective response.
Thirdly, social vulnerability mapping is recommended to help focus emergency communication and response on populations who are at the highest risk (Frigerio & De Amicis, 2016). This tool could help to improve response and prevent casualties by creating a more informed and efficient response to threats. The fourth recommended strategy is the use of improved weather forecasting capacities that can be applied to anticipate all possible environmental threats (Shreve & Kelman, 2014). Monitoring weather conditions continuously would indeed allow emergency response services to initiate response before any severe damage occurs and evacuate at-risk populations. Lastly, the fifth strategy is economic planning, which is recommended by the WHO (2017). This strategy would be helpful as it would ensure that emergency management teams have enough resources to fulfill response and preparedness plans correctly.
Implementation and Evaluation
In order to implement the proposed recommendations, it would be essential for local emergency management services and the government to initiate a full risk and vulnerability assessment and to create a policy that would ensure regular re-assessment and monitoring (WHO, 2017). It would also be critical to fund and conduct emergency preparedness education for citizens and the application of structural precautions, early alarm systems, and improved weather reporting technologies (FEMA, n.d.; Shreve & Kelman, 2014). Lastly, the government would need to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes by documenting future emergency response procedures and conducting citizen surveys to identify the level of disaster awareness and preparedness.
All in all, the community of Miami, Florida, faces numerous hazards that could cause significant damage if not addressed properly. The area is at high risk for floods, storms, hurricanes, and wildfires, which require a comprehensive preparedness and mitigation plan. The present paper offers a number of recommendations for emergency management services and the local government that could be implemented to achieve improved disaster preparedness and mitigation.
Alexander, D. E. (2015). Disaster and emergency planning for preparedness, response, and recovery. Web.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (n.d.). Are you ready? An in-depth guide to citizen preparedness. Web.
Frigerio, I., & De Amicis, M. (2016). Mapping social vulnerability to natural hazards in Italy: A suitable tool for risk mitigation strategies. Environmental Science & Policy, 63(1), 187-196.
Perkins, C. (2018). Local mitigation strategy. Web.
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Shreve, C. M., & Kelman, I. (2014). Does mitigation save? Reviewing cost-benefit analyses of disaster risk reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 10(1), 213-235.
World Health Organization. (2017). A strategic framework for emergency preparedness. Web.