Disaster Management Manual
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4.3.7 Coordination and cooperation in the different stages

Coordination and cooperation in the different stages of the emergency management process

The three (3) stages of the emergency management process (preparedness, response and recovery) imply differences in the coordination and cooperation process. The following description aims to provide a generalized framework of practices observed in countries that are considered among the most advanced in terms of emergency management for each of the three stages.

The organizations implicated at each level of coordination (national, regional, local) can be distinguished into those that are core to the emergency management process (Category 1 – e.g. civil protection, local authorities, etc.), those that assume a supporting role (Category 2 – e.g. lifeline utilities agencies, transportation, etc.) and those that are auxiliary and can be used on a per case basis (Category 3 – e.g. volunteers, NGOs, etc.). Usually, in an emergency, the road sector belongs to the supporting organizations.

Preparedness stage

Resilience forums (national, regional and local) composed from representatives of all parties involved in this stage can be established to ensure appropriate coordination and cooperation. To facilitate two-way communication and information sharing between Category 1 and 2 responders and central government, standing members of the local resilience forums can form General Divisions for Emergency Situations (GDES) offering advice and encouraging cross-boundary working and sharing of good practice at all levels of coordination 1.

Response stage

A coordinated incident management system (CIMS) 2 is proposed to ensure proper coordination so that:

  • A homogeneous framework for managing the emergency situation is proposed.
  • Parties involved in emergency response are coordinated and follow the same set of rules.
  • All kinds of incidents/disasters irrespectively of their size are addressed through this framework.
  • Parties involved preserve their organizational and administrative structure.

The CIMS is composed from four (4) elements: Control/Management, Planning with data collection and analysis, Operations and Supplies. According to CIMS, the first responder to the emergency site assumes the management role. Emergency situation management transition is performed according to predetermined procedures.

CIMS is followed at the three levels of coordination with an inclusion of a sub-level at the local level according to whether multiple agencies (MAL) or a single agency (SAL) are involved in the emergency response.

Recovery stage

The recovery stage constitutes a restoration of the quality of life of a community after an emergency situation. Recovery from an incident is unique to each community and depends on the amount and kind of damage caused by the incident and the resources that the jurisdiction has ready or can quickly obtain 3. Recovery is managed with logic similar to that of the Preparedness stage. For determining who is involved in the recovery stage one needs to examine the impact of the disaster in the following four elements:

  • Social environment (SOCIAL E.)
  • Economic environment (ECON. E.)
  • Natural environment (NAT. E.)
  • Infrastructures (INF.)

Task groups from each of the affected environments and sub-task groups specific to the emergency situation need to be formed at all levels aiming to:

  • Implementing the provisions of the emergency and business continuity plans prepared in earlier stages of the emergency management process.
  • Formulating revised emergency and business continuity plans which take into account the post-emergency situation and aftermath.

A recovery manager (REC. MANAGER) coordinates these task groups. Respective GDES groups can facilitate information sharing and communication.

Figure 4.3.7 shows the coordination structure for the different levels and stages of the emergency management process.

Figure 4.3.7 Coordination structure for the different levels and stages of the emergency management process.

  • 1.2012. U.K. Cabinet Office Emergency. Emergency Response and Recovery, Fourth Edition. July.
  • 2.2005. NZ Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS).
  • 3.2008. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. National Response Framework, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington DC. January.
Reference sources

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