Finding a balance between the response and mitigating measures in an emergency

Date Published : March 18th, 2021    Published By : admin

Many years ago, where a disaster or major emergency occurred, it’s thought people would have normally focused on the ‘response’ before the ‘mitigation’. Hazard identification and risk assessment are now part of an overall approach into a systematic risk management and finding the balance between ‘the response’ and mitigating measures in the early stages of a major incident or crisis is in itself a challenge.

On Tuesday this week, the EU Civil Protection held an online Think Tank from Berlin with guest participants of Executives and Directors of emergency management from around Europe. The Think Tank was held in the run up to the EU Civil Protection’s celebration of its 10th Anniversary of hosting EU Modex in various countries. EU Modex are exercises undertaken to test the preparedness, capabilities and responses of participating EU countries in the event of a major disaster or incident.

Sean Hogan, National Director for Fire and Emergency Management in Ireland was among the invited participants on the panel. Mr. Hogan would advocate a systemic risk management in dealing with major incidents or natural disasters.

Left: Sean Hogan, National Director, Fire & Emergency Management, at CFOA in Offaly in 2015. Right: Medic Responder during EUModex exercise in Romania, 2018. Both Photos by Declan Keogh / Emergency Times

Speaking at the Think Tank, he said “I know back in the early times, 20 years ago perhaps, people were too much focused-on response before you need to focus on mitigation measures, many of which are out there in which exist in society and that’s okay, but you need an overview, an overarching overall approach but also systemic risk management which is used in many countries.”

During the EU wide discussion, references were made on Emergency Response Coordination Centres and their capabilities and how they might be used in real-time disasters and emergencies and participants were asked to look at various situations and consider how they would be handled if it happened in their own regions or country.

EU Civil Protection exercise, EUModex, in Bucharest, Romania. Photo: Declan Keogh / Emergency Times

Sean Hogan said “I think looking at what's happening in the world and thinking well if that happened here, how do we respond to that? You're then making the link between the operation piece and the preparedness piece, and all that means it's a simple technique that we would use every day if something happens some part of the world you say, ‘oh how would we cope with that’, and then you can chase that down a little bit. My colleague Mike Ryan has already spoken about the need for the flexibility and I think that you build capacity to crisis manage rather than getting overly bogged down in the capacity issues because then you have the flexibility to look and to see and to work, and to see what issues or not we come to.”

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