|Community Emergency Preparedness: A Manual for Managers and Policy-Makers (WHO, 1999, 141 p.)|
This manual is designed to assist those concerned with preparing for emergencies at the local level. It explains what emergency preparedness is and how to achieve it in an effective, appropriate way. It is intended principally for:
- local organizations and managers responsible for emergency planning (e.g. health sector administrators, directors of public works organizations, hospital administrators, and heads of volunteer organizations); and
- national and international officials involved in emergency management.
National civil protection bodies, emergency management organizations, and sectoral departments, such as public health authorities, are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of a nations people, resources, and environment in the face of hazards. It is at the community level, however, that the full effects of emergencies are felt, and it is there that definitive achievements in emergency preparedness can be made. It is difficult for national and international emergency organizations to form an effective working relationship with a community that is unaware of its hazards and unprepared for emergencies.
The key to emergency preparedness is the involvement and commitment of all relevant individuals and organizations at every level - community, provincial, national, and international. This multisectoral approach means that many organizations accept clearly-defined responsibilities and the need to coordinate their efforts. Without their involvement and commitment, emergency preparedness becomes fragmented, inefficient, and poorly coordinated.
Self-evidently, one of the principal effects of any emergency will be on the health of the population. Preparedness within the health sector was felt to be beyond the scope of this manual; a separate WHO publication devoted entirely to health sector preparedness is planned.
The term emergency in this manual is used in the broadest possible sense. One persons emergency may be anothers mere incident, and disasters cause problems above and beyond smaller emergencies. Nevertheless, the processes of emergency preparedness can be used to develop systems and programmes for coping with every scale of adverse events. Similarly, the same preparedness processes can be used for enhancing the safety of a building, a community, or an entire country.
This manual explains the processes of policy development, vulnerability assessment, emergency planning, training and education, and monitoring and evaluation for use in a wide range of emergency management applications.