By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Setting goals is an important component of policy-making in the American government system. Goals establish the overall framework for how a policy should be created, highlighting the resources and administration needed for the given policy.
The U.S. government system often puts policies in place to further solidify how special problems are handled at the local, state and federal levels. When it comes to emergency planning, it has become increasingly important to specify certain aspects of emergency management in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
For example, Virginia has established a series of emergency management laws to help map out overall goals and plans for first responder organizations. While it seems relatively obvious that emergency management would be handled in such a way to protect lives and property, the way the policies are written establishes the overall goals for how things should be handled in a crisis.
Policies as Goals
Specific policies highlight how an organization will work on a given issue. But emergency management policies need to be especially clear, so that first responder organizations can easily understand how an emergency should be handled. Without this precedent, effective emergency management is difficult.
Laying the Framework for Collaboration
Collaboration and leadership are important components of effective emergency management. Just as resources are needed in managing an emergency, collaboration among federal agencies is essential to providing the appropriate and necessary resources. Without policies and goals specified within a policy, it is difficult to envision just how resources and collaboration would come together at any level of government.
In emergency management, collaboration is an especially important piece of the puzzle. For instance, the Virginia Emergency Management Office specified collaboration with other departments in its 2015 policy document. Doing so highlighted an overall vision and plan, ensuring that emergencies are effectively handled.
Goals are a major component of a policy because they highlight what a community wants to do in response to an event. Because emergency managers need to adapt to any circumstances and have contingency plans, emergency management plans establish goals for how the government will handle emergency situations. Without these plans, policies and goals, it is difficult to effectively manage any crisis.