Emergency Preparedness and Prevention in the US


Natural and man-made disasters occur on the Earth more and more often, bringing death and suffering to people, destroying the economy, causing damage to the environment. People around the world are trying to prevent trouble, and if it happened, then overcome it with the least loss and quickly restore the damage. Special services are being created in all countries to fulfill this noble mission. The given project describes how emergency prevention and response activities should be organized in the United States, as well as what roles are assigned to government agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and the public.

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In the United States of America, the issues of preventing emergency situations, reducing their possible scale, and planning are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security. The State authorities are responsible for protecting the life, property, and well-being of their citizens. However, they do not work, and they cannot work alone. In many areas of emergency prevention and response, the private sector is a partner of government bodies.

The overall planning process involves several categorization steps. It includes distinguishing critical, essential, and non-essential preventative measures (Kowalk, 2000). Critical tasks are organizational functions that cannot be stopped under any circumstances because they are vital to survival. Essential functions are important activities that can be temporarily blocked for planning and execution strategies. Non-essential tasks are organizational functions that should be stopped because they have no severe impact on the overall performance. Private sector enterprises play an important role in disaster prevention, emergency response, and subsequent recovery (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). First, they must ensure the safety of their employees in the workplace. In addition, local authorities in emergency management should establish cooperation with enterprises providing water and power supply, communications, transport, medical care, safety, and delivering many other services on which emergency response and subsequent recovery depend. The form of participation of private enterprises depends on their type of activity and the nature of the incident.

The planning procedures require many private sector organizations to be responsible for the operation and maintenance of individual elements of a country’s critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure includes facilities, systems, networks, and functions that are important to the United States. Their destruction or decommissioning would have a strong negative impact on public safety, national economic security, public health, and safety (Kowalk, 2000). In the event of an incident, the main private partner organizations should be involved in the decision-making process to resolve a crisis or at least have a direct connection with local emergency management specialists.

The planning process must also involve the FEMA jurisdictional measures, which should be followed in order to ensure maximum preventative function. The FEMA Director is the head of homeland security and the national security council on all matters of emergency management. He/she assists the minister in planning and carrying out the duties stipulated in the presidential directive HSPD-5 (Walby & Lippert, 2015). In case of incidents that do not require the coordinating participation of the Ministry of Internal Security, the provision of federal assistance may be directed by other central ministries and departments in accordance with their powers. The Minister of Homeland Security can monitor such emergencies and put in place separate National Response System mechanisms to provide support to ministries and departments without applying the general leadership of the federal response to this emergency.


The organizational preparedness activities must begin with adhering to locational regulations and preventative recommendations. Emergency organizing to a natural or man-made nature starts at the local level, such as village, city, or district (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). Primary responsibility for eliminating the consequences of an emergency and determining the causes of their occurrence lies with local authorities, who can use local police units, firefighters, rescue services, and medical facilities for this purpose. The organizing procedures must be carried out with the approval of the mayor of the city, who is responsible for ensuring public safety and the welfare of the population (Walby & Lippert, 2015). The mayor, together with the head of the local department of emergency situations, creates the basis for an effective response. In case of serious incidents, these individuals need to coordinate the efforts of various institutions and jurisdictions, political parties, segments of society, and organizations (U.S. Department of Justice, 2018). In addition, local authorities closely cooperate with their congressmen, who provide ongoing support to their constituencies in ensuring effective emergency response and contingency planning.

The head of the local department of emergency situations carries out current management with full control over the implementation of programs for the prevention and elimination of emergency situations. Working in contact with local authorities ensures the coherence of plans and actions for emergency response in the territory should be included in the organizing activities. The functions of the head of the emergency department include coordinating all aspects of the emergency response capacity (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). The Head of the Emergency Situations Department coordinates all elements of the local emergency response program, including evaluating the availability and readiness of forces and equipment that may be required in the event of an emergency, identifies and corrects the existing shortcomings.

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It is important to note that the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) are essential preparedness organizing groups. The national association of volunteer organizations working in emergency Situation is a forum where volunteer organizations share their experience, information, and resources in emergency preparedness, emergency response, and response to help victims. In the case of serious incidents, CMT and EOC usually send their representatives to the FEMA National Coordinating Center to participate in the response coordination (Kowalk, 2000). Volunteers and donations. For the response to emergencies, the forces and means of public services are often not enough. Volunteers and donor organizations can provide a variety of assistance in responding. It is very important for government agencies at all levels to plan in advance the effective participation of volunteers and the use of donations in cash in the form of food and clothing.


The overall response mechanism must be outlined according to the national framework recommendation and organizational features. The system involves a four-step method, where disaster leads to private sector response, which triggers the public sector. All of the procedures are regulated by the Unified Command System, where CMT handles individual sections, and EOC assists the public sector (Kowalk, 2000). The basic principles of emergency response, the participants and their functions, as well as the structures that manage the emergency response operations in the country, are defined in the National Response Framework, adopted on March 22, 2008, instead of the emergency response plan (Walby & Lippert, 2015). For effective integrated emergency response, a multi-level system of mutual support and support is needed, with the systematic participation of government agencies, private sector organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The response mechanism is maintained at the municipal level in order to ensure prompt reaction. People, tribal leaders, states, and the federal government, the private sector, and NGOs must understand their responsibilities and roles to help each other achieve common goals (Walby & Lippert, 2015). The authorities at each level play an important role in building the capacity to respond to emergencies. This process includes developing plans, conducting assessments, and exercises, providing and directing forces and means, analyzing the experience, and drawing lessons. The federal government offers a range of capabilities that can be provided at the request of the governor (Davis, LaTourrette, Mosher, Davis, & Howell, 2003). In case of emergencies on the federal territory or federal property, governmental departments or agencies can carry out primary response, coordinating their actions with state, district, tribe, or municipality partners.

If an emergency occurs, for which elimination of local forces and funds and state aid is not enough, the federal government attracts all the necessary departments and agencies, organizes a national response, and provides interaction with response partners. In addition, the federal government is developing partnerships with state governments, as well as with private sector organizations (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). In order to ensure the most effective national response, it is necessary that all levels and branches of the executive branch together, long before the accident, jointly develop effective response plans and ensure a high alert state.

The President of the United States leads the federal government’s response to emergency situations. The Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council under the President of the United States advise the president on national strategy and policy issues during emergencies of national importance. In accordance with the Law of Stafford, the duties of the president are charged with developing a program to respond to possible natural disasters and man-made disasters, including involving the involvement of the Armed Forces (Walby & Lippert, 2015). The law also provides for the possibility of declaring the head of the White House a state of natural disaster or emergency depending on the duration and magnitude of the incident, the scope of the damage caused, the size of the assistance needed. The declaration by the president of a state of natural disaster or the imposition of a state of emergency dictates the commencement of federal aid to state and local authorities.

In addition, it is important to note that the initial response action is accompanied by a unique set of management systems, which are developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The law establishes the delegation of the president’s authority to develop a program of action in the event of natural disasters and technological accidents and disasters to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2004). In cases where overall federal response coordination is required, it is implemented by the US Department of Homeland Security in accordance with Presidential Directive No. 5 on Homeland Security (HSPD-5) (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). The Minister of Homeland Security is the main federal official responsible for controlling the management of the consequences of internal incidents. He/she is in charge of coordinating national resources used for the preparedness, prevention, and response to major disasters, terrorist attacks, and other emergencies.


After an adequate response mechanism was triggered, the key processes must involve the damage mitigation activities. The overall mitigation plan needs to include the regulations and recommendations from the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (NCISP) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) (U.S. Department of Justice, 2003). One of the main responsibilities of the state government is to aid and provide assistance to local authorities in protecting the public from emergencies. The state authorities offer emergency and planned support to administrative and territorial entities located in the state by developing programs to protect people from emergencies and constantly coordinating these actions with federal agencies. The state must be prepared to assist local authorities in the provision of goods and services in cases where the needs arising from an emergency exceed local capabilities. If a state does not have enough resources to cope with a crisis on its own, the governor may request assistance from the federal government (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). The mitigation procedures can also require help from the government of another state on the basis of a mutual aid agreement.

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In all states, the law requires the creation of mitigation management, as well as the preparation of emergency plans. The organizations are responsible for reducing the damage done by the outside incident in order to be able to access aid from the government. The state emergency head is accountable for the state’s readiness to respond to large-scale emergencies and coordinates state responses for any emergencies. If local forces and assets are not enough, the municipal authorities can seek help from the head of the county emergency department or the head of the state emergency department (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). The State Emergency Management Department may send emergency response units to the scene to help deal with an emergency.

If the requested assistance exceeds the state’s capacity, then the local emergency management may require certain types of federal aid even if the affected area has not been declared a disaster zone by the president. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency or the US Coast Guard can assess the magnitude of a disaster and help eliminate the effects of oil and chemical spills without waiting for help from state, tribe, or local government officials (Walby & Lippert, 2015). However, only the governor can appeal to the US president to declare the territory a disaster area.

The mitigation plan must also follow jurisdictional recommendations of the state department. Heads of state departments and agencies are responsible for developing, planning, and training staff in accordance with internal policies and procedures to ensure an effective and safe response to emergency mitigation situations. In addition, they participate in interdepartmental exercises and training programs to develop and maintain the necessary capacity (U.S. Department of Justice, 2018). Parts and divisions of the US Department of Defense may be involved to implement measures aimed at preventing violations of the internal political and social stability in the country due to possible civil unrest, natural disasters, man-made disasters, etc. Engineering forces may be involved in early preparation for possible flooding, search, and rescue and other works that are carried out without imposing a state of emergency.


In conclusion, it is important to note that the preparedness and prevention measures must be focused on following a strict and outlined process. It involves the steps of planning, organizing, responding, and mitigating. The overall procedure should be adjusted and altered according to the government regulations and recommendations, which are essential for executing an adequate and prompt response.


Davis, L. E., LaTourrette, T., Mosher, D. E., Davis, L. M., & Howell, D. R. (2003). Individual preparedness and response to chemical, radiological, nuclear, and biological terrorist attacks: A quick guide. California, United States: RAND.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2004). NIMS and the incident command system (FEMA Publication No. ICS-100). Web.

Haynes, M. R., & Giblin, M. J. (2014). Homeland security risk and preparedness in police agencies: The insignificance of actual risk factors. Police Quarterly, 17(1), 30-53.

Kowalk, M. A. (2000). Critical incident protocol. Michigan, United States: Michigan State University.

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U.S. Department of Justice. (2018). A method to assess the vulnerability of US chemical facilities (NCJ Publication No. 195171). Web.

U.S. Department of Justice. (2003). The national criminal intelligence sharing plan (BJA Publication No. 2000-LD-BS-0003). Web.

Walby, K., & Lippert, R. K. (2015). The difference homeland security makes: Comparing municipal corporate security in Canada and the United States. Security Dialogue, 46(3), 238-255.

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