Slow-Moving Emergencies Like Volcanic Eruptions Improve Emergency Management Efforts
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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
The continuing eruptions of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano are visually exciting, despite the damage they cause and their impact on Hawaiian life and tourism. National Geographic reports that the volcano has changed the geography of the Big Island and drastically affected Hawaii’s infrastructure. Moreover, Kilauea could continue to erupt for months or potentially years.
But Kilauea’s eruptions will have a positive impact on emergency management for years to come, especially on response and recovery efforts among diverse organizations.
Natural Disasters Like Eruptions Force Improvements in Emergency Management
Coordination among local, state and federal government emergency management agencies is improving how they handle disasters such as volcano eruptions, floods and wildfires. For example, Bexar County, Texas, has created a coordinated five-phase program of emergency response that consists of:
These phases help to define the types of resources and response efforts needed to effectively manage all types of emergencies. These efforts will often merge into one as emergency managers gain control of disaster situations and move seamlessly from one phase to the next.
Slow-Moving Emergencies Give Emergency Managers More Time to Gather Resources and Control Situations
Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and speeds. Slow-moving emergencies, such as lava flows, give emergency managers time to gather all necessary resources and work effectively to control them.
If Kilauea’s lava flow continues to move at its current pace of 17 miles per hour, it will give emergency managers in Hawaii time to gather the necessary resources and assess how well they’re handling the emergency.
The slow speed will also help emergency managers to hone their skills while the situation is in progress. As a result, emergency managers will be able to further improve their handling of natural disasters in the future.