By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Recently the Oroville Dam has threatened a serious flood in the State of California. Such a situation requires careful emergency management planning ahead of time, and then, of course, the careful management of recovery and rebuilding once the situation is underway.
Whenever there is a crisis like this in the news, the drama of the situation unfolding grabs the attention of viewers. There is an unfortunate reality that some citizens want to go see the emergency first hand as emergencies of this magnitude look completely different in person. However, this desire creates numerous obstacles for emergency managers such as an added responsibility of crowd control and the possibility of more patients or secondary situations to manage. Emergency managers often plan for this and warn against it, but people inherently need to be reminded. There is a lot of great discussion that emergency management should be taught in the public school system. The concept would do so much to help alleviate these types of situations before they happen. The concept of "staying away from emergencies once they’re in progress" should be added to the curriculum.
Oroville Dam: Sensationalism Fuels Interest
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Oroville Dam would be a crisis that they have never seen before. While crises like this certainly fuel intrigue, it is difficult to say specifically how a crisis like this will evolve. Wording like this, however, is the very kind of thing that has citizens flocking to the scene. Based on the recent reports, it isn’t clear whether there has been an influx in individuals wanting to see the issues with the dam, but this is an issue that numerous emergency managers have dealt with in a variety of situations.
Emergency Management Curriculum
It has been suggested that emergency management principles be included in the public school system curriculum. This is absolutely a needed skill set as it would help emergency managers tremendously if more citizens could be self-reliant in the midst of a disaster. But, it also becomes particularly important for citizens to understand certain emergency management procedures so they can see that their presence at a disaster might not be needed. If this common sense piece was emphasized, there may be fewer secondary emergencies during a crisis. Citizens simply don’t realize the impact of heading to a scene and how extra people at a scene can drastically complicate emergency management efforts. It also isn’t always common knowledge for someone to realize just how much this creates problems. Thus, it is important to educate citizens in the public school system to help alleviate this stress before it happens.