Emergency Preparedness Week Newsletter

May 1-7, 2022

Welcome to our EP Week 2022 Newsletter!

Simon Wells, Founder & Principal

It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the Canadian Journal of Emergency Management’s newsletter for the 2022 Emergency Preparedness Week. Our team felt it was important that we continue to share our community of practice’s perspectives in-between official publications.

Now is a time for new thoughts and perspectives, innovation, and professional development. So, we engaged our networks to ask disaster and emergency management students to write short contributions for this publication. Our team has also provided a short bibliography of suggested reading on emergency preparedness topics. We will be sharing links to those readings on our social media all week.

I find Emergency Preparedness (EP) Week inspiring: our community really comes out in force and talks about the big picture as well as the details of EP. It’s also a time in which I have to take physical and mental stock: it’s time for me to swap out the extra cans of beans and peaches I keep in my cupboards, but it’s also time to ask myself if I’ve done all the homework I can in my role, and if I’m mentally and emotionally prepared for another emergency response. Sure, my steel-toe boots are in the back of the car, but I need to be mentally well (“fit to fight”) in order to serve the public.

With those ideas in mind, we offer the following entries and thank our contributors. Keith A. Fredin writes about something all of our Logistics Chiefs know the importance of all-to-well: emergency management of supply chains. Charles-Antoine Duval and Mary Wendylane Oberas introduce a toolkit for hospital department-level emergency preparedness. Finally, our Operations Section has produced a bibliography of sources available in other fine publications as well as CJEM. It includes topics like EP for the deaf-and-hard-of-hearing; EP for pet owners; digital health EP, and leveraging social media; donor behavioural modelling; and, re-thinking disaster risk reduction culture.

Thank you reader, for taking the time to prepare yourself personally and professionally for the next emergency. Thank you contributors, for your dedication and knowledge. We look forward to presenting the next issue of CJEM to you. Until then, please enjoy our EP Week 2022 Newsletter.

Ich Dien (I serve),

Simon Wells

Emergency Management of Supply Chains

Keith A. Fredin

Mitigating disasters requires a reliable supply chain. In late 2021, major flooding in British Columbia led to the risk of interprovincial food shortages and highlighted areas needing improvement in emergency mitigation and logistics (Sahinyazan & Duran, 2021; Dion, 2021). In order to prevent future problems if major transportation routes are damaged, resources and supply chains should be secured by creating strategically located backups and supply depots. These backups may involve utilising existing partnerships such as those with the Red Cross or others in order to spread out the housing of emergency and early response supplies. Partnerships with organisations developed by emergency planners will be imperative in order to assure accessibility in case of damaged routes. Due to the costs associated with storage and maintenance of depots, priority should be given to basic humanitarian supplies.

Ratick, et al. (2008) assert supply chain vulnerabilities need to be assessed and acted upon before incidents occur. Nationally, emergency planners may benefit from interprovincial collaboration and consultation with supply chain professionals to identify local and national areas of concern. Further, emergency planners may decide to develop plans outlining alternative supply locations or methods of transportation to take in case of a closure. Hale & Moberg (2005) suggest using a scientific approach for identifying locations for the storage of various emergency supplies. This way, critical life-saving disaster supplies can be deployed from multiple areas to an emergency site without relying on singular routes. The costs associated with these supplies should be shared provincially and federally, as they could be deployed based on needs rather than provincial borders.

Further, when transportation routes are compromised, the people required to help in a disaster are equally affected. VanVactor (2012) proposes that responding organisations must be able to coordinate with emergency planners before an emergency in order to respond effectively. This may include widening or streamlining emergency management relationships to access alternative NGOs or private companies willing to act if entry points are limited. Ultimately, emergency planners must do their best to foster relationships with various private supply and transportation organisations such as provincial transportation ministries and private companies involved with transportation of food and other humanitarian supplies. By inviting organisations to train and participate in emergencies, mitigation efforts will be more effective.

References:

Dion, A. (2021, November 23). ‘Don’t panic buy’: Supply chain issues trickle into Alberta after devastating floods in B.C. CTV News Edmonton. https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/don-t-panic-buy-supply-chain-issues-trickle-into-alberta-after-devastating-floods-in-b-c-1.5678293?&cid=ps:Edmontonlocalnewscampaign:searchad:ds:edmontoncrawl&gclid=Cj0KCQjw_4-SBhCgARIsAAlegrXXYGL5cnydIXVbt3A1uK8bN69Z8fC0ELeK8gYjaMqpGrvIvB9FEIEaAkqdEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Hale, T. & Moberg, C. R. (2005, March 1). Improving supply chain disaster preparedness: A decision process for secure site location. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management. 35(3), 195-207. https://doi/10.1108/09600030510594576

Ratick, S., Meacham, B. & Aoyama, Y. (2008, December). Locating backup facilities to enhance supply chain disaster resilience. Growth and Change. 39(4), 642-666.

Sahinyazan, F. G. & Duran, S. (2021, November 23). B.C. floods reveal fragile food supply chains — 4 ways to manage the crisis now and in the future. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/b-c-floods-reveal-fragile-food-supply-chains-4-ways-to-manage-the-crisis-now-and-in-the-future-172220

VanVactor, J. D. (2012). Strategic health care logistics planning in emergency management. Disaster Prevention and Management. 21(3), 299-309. https://10.1108/09653561211234480

Deparment-Level Planning and Preparedness: A Toolkit to Assist in Full-Facility Hospital Evacuations

Charles-Antoine Duval and Mary Wendylane Oberas

A full-facility hospital evacuation is often the last resort utilized when facing an emergency situation as it is highly complex and disruptive to patient care. Therefore, the decision is made after significant consideration and exhaustion of all other options. Current literature indicates two key considerations in hospital preparedness for full-facility evacuations. The first consideration is that many of the successes from past hospital evacuations relied on informal relationships that leaders had with other organizations, in addition to hospital staff assuming informal leadership roles during evacuations. The second indicates a significant need for appropriate communication within the organization and between relevant partners during emergencies.

Building on these findings, we created a toolkit that aims to assist unit leaders in developing department-level plans that work cohesively with current hospital evacuation policies to prepare and respond to full-facility evacuations. The toolkit is tailored to clinical units of an acute tertiary care hospital and focuses on ensuring plans are easily instructive, fillable, and adaptable. In addition, the evacuation toolkit will assist clinical units in developing an evacuation plan, increasing preparedness, and increasing communication in the process.

Relevant stakeholders within healthcare are often underprepared for the implications of preparing for and implementing an evacuation. Individually, the toolkit will ensure that preparing for an emergency necessitating a full-facility hospital evacuation is possible while the needs of each department are addressed. Creating a versatile resource for an acute tertiary care hospital can lead to advances in emergency management as it will provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches at a departmental and organizational level. In the growing field of emergency management, evidence-based research and implementation are necessary to address informal networks and communication concerns.

The authors would like to extend a special thanks to Rosemary Thuss and Gary Minder for their supervision and guidance in writing this short article.

References:

Hamlin, L. (2022). Tips to successfully prepare for an emergency. The Hearing Journal, 75(1), 22-23.  https://doi.org/10.1097/01.hj.0000812716.51486.cb

Reifels, L., & Murray, V. (2022). Digital health emergency management—Pandemics and beyond. JAMA Network Open, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.0218

Onukem, M. (2016). Assessment of emergency/disaster preparedness and awareness for animal owners in Canada. International Journal of Emergency Services, 5(2), 212-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-07-2016-0012

Mitcham, D., Taylor, M., & Harris, C. (2021). Utilizing social media for information dispersal during local disasters: The communication hub framework for local emergency management. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(20), 10784. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010784

 Mamuji, A. (2014). Understanding donor behaviour: Actors and processes in disaster-relief decision-making. Revue Gouvernance, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.7202/1038882ar

Weichselgartner, J., Norton, J., Chantry, G., Brévière, E., Pigeon, P., & Guézo, B. (2016). Culture, connaissance et réduction des risques de catastrophe : liens critiques pour une transformation sociétale durable. VertigO, 16(3). https://id.erudit.org/iderudit/1039993ar

Recommended Readings

Canadian Journal of Emergency Management Operations Section

Tips to Successfully Prepare for an Emergency

Being prepared for emergencies means making plans that match your needs, including hearing loss. There are several resources that may text emergency alerts or provide visual captions so that you can stay informed in real time. Think ahead and be ready to take care of yourself for several days after the emergency including food, water, medication and heating and/or cooling.  Emergency preparedness requires thinking ahead and gathering what you need before an emergency happens.

Digital Health Emergency Management—Pandemics and Beyond

Public health emergencies are opportunities for existing health care systems to innovate. The authors identified fives key themes to implement recommendations from the Riyadh Declaration on Digital Health (2020): team, transparency and trust, technology, techquity, transformation. The risk of health care emergencies can be mitigated through global policy and data science using the World Health Organization’s guidance to help simplify data collection and reporting.

Assessment of emergency/disaster preparedness and awareness for animal owners in Canada

Canadian pet owners without emergency plans for their animals are more vulnerable than non-pet owners in disasters. A review of emergency preparedness strategies from different countries were compared to Canada’s current emergency preparedness. Communities should consider engaging pet owners in proactive emergency planning to mitigate challenges in the event of a disaster.

Utilizing Social Media for Information Dispersal during Local Disasters: The Communication Hub Framework for Local Emergency Management

The trend to use social media for information for its quick access to information during a disaster has risen in popularity. Existing frameworks for social media use as a channel for crisis communication can provide guidance across all levels of government except for the local level. Due to the different means to access communication resources and unique relationships at the community level, this article provides a framework for local emergency management agencies to consider when using social media to communicate with their citizens.

Understanding Donor Behaviour: Actors and Processes in Disaster-Relief Decision-Making

This paper seeks to understand who and what determines the scope and magnitude of international disaster-relief interventions. Donor behaviour is affected by macro-institutional, meso-contextual and micro-foundational factors. Through an interview series, this paper explores how political actors have a determinative role in shaping humanitarian assistance decisions.

Culture, connaissance et réduction des risques de catastrophe : liens critiques pour une transformation sociétale durable

Culture and knowledge are critical in reducing disaster risks, but both are seldom addressed systematically in disaster studies and policy programmes. This article presents a conceptual approach for capturing different qualitative levels of understanding how disaster mitigation can be improved through culture and knowledge systems research using examples from Viet Nam.

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