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close this bookEmergency Management (United Nations Children's Fund, 390 p.)
close this folderWorkshop Session
View the documentSession 0: Opening Session
View the documentSession 1: Course Introduction*
View the documentSession 2: Perceptions of Emergencies
View the documentSession 3: Simulation*
View the documentSession 4: Principles of Emergency Management
View the documentSession 5: Early Warning & Pre-Disaster Planning
View the documentSession 6: Assessment
View the documentSession 7: Programme Planning
View the documentSession 8: Water & Sanitation
View the documentSession 9: Health
View the documentSession 10: Food and Nutrition
View the documentSession 11: Media Relations
View the documentSession 12: Supply and Logistics
View the documentSession 13: Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances
View the documentSession 14: International Relief System
View the documentSession 15: Funding
View the documentSession 16: Key Operating Procedures
View the documentSession 17: Applications of Emergency Manual and Handbook
View the documentSession 18: Training of Trainers

Session 4: Principles of Emergency Management

Learning Objectives

- Introduce the scope of emergency management.

- Understand the phases of emergency management, how each phase relates to the other and how actions in one phase set the stage for the subsequent action in another.

- Identify some of the sectors that are critical in different types of disaster.

- Describe skills needed to respond to disaster effectively.

- Identify the gaps in providing services in an emergency situation and role of the international disaster relief system in filling these gaps.

Learning Points

1. Emergency management in the full range of activities that focus on disaster and/or emergency situations that are designed to help the persons at risk avoid or recover from the impact of the disaster.

2. Emergency management deals with situations that occur before, during and after the emergency.

3. The role of the emergency manager is generally thought of mistakenly as a post disaster role. Increasingly, however, disaster management looks at pre-disaster activities as an important aspect of disaster management.

4. Patterns and indicators of emergencies allow us to make decisions before disasters occur.

5. Objectives of Emergency Management:

- To avoid or reduce human, physical and economic losses of individuals, families and society as a whole.

- To reduce the suffering or vulnerability to violence.

- To speed recovery (do you provide a tent for the victim or help the victim build his own house).

- To provide environmental protection.

- To prevent the recurrence of the disaster.

6. Essential Characteristics in an Emergency Manager:

- Knowledge: where to get information when needed, what is relevant, how to evaluation the information, what are the points of entry.

- Decision-making: in a disaster the manager is making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Given that, what should the manager do to incorporate decision-making?

- a) Understand what the implications of the decision are. (Sea shipment vs. airshipment of food and the cost and time needed for either; the earlier decision is made, the better.

- b) Make the decisions routine. There are very few decisions that are made in emergencies that somebody hasn't made before. On the basis of those decisions, standard operating procedures can be set that would guide decision-making.

- Leadership: having the knowledge and asserting oneself in the emergency.

7. Key Elements in Emergency Management

- Support local community and initiatives.

- Understand and build on Society's coping mechanism in an emergency: families, extended family, religious organization, tribe, social and cultural organizations, etc.

- Involve the victims in meaningful participation.

- Accountability not only to donors but importantly to victims.

- Focus on the process not the product: how to give the disaster victim an opportunity to make decisions and participate in a development oriented programme rather than providing a short-term relief assistance.

- Focus on opportunities that the disaster provides for long-term development goals.

- Move the decision-making process as forward as possible (take emergency decisions out of the emergency).

8. Role of UNICEF in the management of an emergency situation as relates to governmental organization and the international disaster relief system.

Possible Learning Methods

This session lays the foundation and defines many terms. Some amount of lecture will be needed...using overhead projectors.

Group exercise - "What do you think are the characteristics of a good emergency manager" and "where do you need them".


- Checklists of preparedness actions
- Lists of decisions that could be made routine
- Examination of the UNICEF Handbook

Required Reading

- UNICEF, "Assisting in Emergencies", Chapter 2.

Supplementary Reading

- UNICEF Field Manual, Book E, Chapter 5.

Speakers' Preparation Aids

- Management Institute, "Notes on Decision-Making".
- Frederick Cuny, "Principles of Emergency Management".
- Overview of Emergency Management Principles.
- Keys to Being a Competent Manager


Speaker’s Aid (1)

TITLE: Notes on Decision-Making
AUTHOR: Management Institute, University of Wisconsin




I. Analysis of the Problem

A. Statement of What is Wrong

1. Stating specifically what is wrong, the situation where improvement is needed, or the area where results might be better.

a. Often times it is a situation which is quite obvious such as a machine producing defective parts.

b. These are basic deviations from well defined standards and come to the attention of the manager rather automatically

2. Real challenge comes in more nebulous situations where manager just feels that results could be better or that something might be wrong: example, a department always seems to be "under the gun" in meeting schedules or production standards are being met but there seem to be a degree of negativism present.

a. These are not fires but sparks. Symptoms of larger problems. Often overlooked and/or ignored.

b. To identify them as situations needing improvement, manager must have (1) know specific standards of performance and (2) keen insight into actual levels of performance and ability to pinpoint deviations, (3) maximum results oriented.

B. Getting the Facts

1. Too often decision is made and action taken before getting facts. The REAL PROBLEM is not correctly identified and decision falls short of accomplishing our objectives.

2. Must ask the questions, what, when, where.

a. Identify all key factors surrounding the situation and crystallize our statement of the situations.

b. With respect to the defective parts, we should now be able to say the holes are being drilled off center, they are appearing on the 2nd shift only, the number of defects is the same as the number of good ones.

C. Investigation of Possible Causes and Identification of the Real Problem.

1. Event or occurrence arousing our attention initially is more often than not, not the real problems.

a. If deals with only the apparent difficulty we get only temporary relief. Real problem not being solved will cause same symptom to re-occur.

b. Series of symptoms which are unrelated on the surface may have as a common route the same basic problem. As long as we treat each symptom independently or as a problem in itself the total situation will not improve.

2. Must avoid quick action by asking what are all the possible things that could have caused the situation to arise and in light of the fact do they actually apply.

a. Sometimes cause is suggested by the fact and investigation verifies this. However, facts may suggest a cause which does not get at the real problem.

D. Requirements of a Satisfactory Solution Stated as Objectives

1. Insures remainder of process has direction.
2. Focal point for getting additional facts.
3. Insures objectivity in phase two.

II. Developing and Analyzing Alternatives

A. Developing alternatives

1. Our own past experience
2. Experience of others
3. Creativity

B. Analyzing alternatives

1. Setting forth advantages and disadvantages

a. Will the alternative eliminate occurrence of the situation.
b. Does it meet requirements of a satisfactory solution.
c. Does it fall within any restrictions or limits.
d. Other specific benefits.

2. Areas where difficulties might be encountered.

(See worksheet handouts)

III. Implementing the Decision A.

A Plan of Action

1. Developing procedures - steps or actions to be performed, sequence, specific duties and responsibilities, follow-up and control.

2. What must be done, when or in what order, who should do them, how can they be cost effectively completed, why necessary, what difficulties likely to encounter.

B. Communicating the Decision

(What, when, to whom, and how)

C. Participation


Speaker’s Aid (2)

TITLE: Principles of Emergency Management
AUTHOR: Fredrick Cuny



Principals of Emergency Management

I. Introduction: What are we going to do in this hour and one-half?

A. Introduce the scope of emergency management
B. Divide emergency management into segment and phases
C. Explore how one phase affects others
D. See how sections in a phase sets the stage for subsequent
E. ID sectors involved
F. ID skills needed and who provides them
G. ID management skills needed
H. ID where the gaps often occur
Set first - we are going to define emergency management

II. What do we mean by emergency management?

A. Most people think of post-disaster. See also pre-disaster.

B. Definition: the full range of activities that focus on disaster and emergency situations that we designed to help the persons at risk avoid or recover from the input of the disaster. Emergency management deals with situations that occur prior to, during, and after disasters. Avoid control

C. Objectives of emergency management:

- to avoid or reduce human, physical and economic losses suffered by individuals, families and specific persons at risk, society, country

- to reduce suffering

- to speed recover - explain time concept

- (In conflicts) protection - we define protection much broader than HCR environmental sanctuary

- prevent recurrence

III. Who are emergency managers and where do you find them?


They are specialists sent in by emergency - everyone must become emergency oriented.

IV. What are the key elements of emergency management?


Decision Making



A. Knowledge: The _______, without knowledge you're ________

- what kind of knowledge do you need:

expert generalist
pilot bag concept - where to go, when to ask, how to evaluate

B. Decision-making

- Always making decisions under conditions of uncertainty

1. Understand implications - EDM
2. Move decision-making forward
3. Make decision routine - how SOP'S, policies, standards

C. Leadership

There are different types of leaders - from dictators to facilitators

How do you get to be a leader?

- position - formal, traditional
- national popularity - opinion leader
- knowledge
- command presence - ex mr. work


Speaker’s Aid

TITLE: Overview of Emergency Management Principles
AUTHOR: Philip Sargisson



Overview of Emergency Management Principles


A. What skills we want to develop

1. Our technical skills and knowledge
2. Our management skills
3. Our decision-making skills

B. Goal: To make us more effective emergency managers

C. What is emergency management?

1. 10% estimating or forecasting
2. 20% planning
3. 30% leadership
4. 40% decision-making


A. Estimating and Forecasting:

From the beginning we have to be able:

1. to predict events
2. to forecast the results

We do this by:

1. Monitoring events - not all, just the key ones
2. Identifying and recognizing patterns
3. Determining when thresholds have been reached/exceeded
4. Reacting to events based on known patterns/past performance

How do we know what to do?

In (1) Monitoring: certain events or actions trigger an alert.

These triggers we learn from:

- studying past operations
- experience

In (2) Pattern Recognition:

- study past events
- develop awareness of patterns
- identify the indicators of a developing pattern

In (3) Thresholds:

- We can indicate what some of the thresholds are.

In (4) Reaction:

- That we get with experience. Personal interpretation.

B. Planning: Planning consists of process, procedures, and technical know-how.

1. Process

2. Procedures: They simplify what we do by:

a. giving it structure and order
b. making it logical
c. putting it in sequence

Procedures put things in place so that everyone knows the rules and what to expect.

- Make things routine
- Reduce the necessary supervision/re-inventing the wheel

3. Technical Know-how: We have to know:

a. what to do
b. when to do it
c. how to do it

In theory, technical know-how is easiest:

- Books and manuals are there.
- We can't know everything. Be a knowledgeable generalist.

Instill a pattern of behavior (e.g. pilot checklists)

We must know:

- where to go to get information
- how to evaluate it in light of our immediate needs and situation
- what to do if the information is inadequate

Technical knowledge consists of information, or data.

- Some is hard, i.e. it is fact, quantifiable
- Some is soft, i.e., experience, unverifiable or qualitative

Distinguish between the two because:

- The first, we can believe and use
- The second, we react to and have to decide based on patterns and experience
- In emergencies, 90% are in the latter category

Technical knowledge forms the basis of our response. To prepare our response, we need:

a. Baselines
b. Standards

What are baselines? To know what is abnormal, we have to know what is normal. E.g., death rates, malnutrition, etc.

What are Standards? To judge and control performance, we need a point of reference (above = good; below = bad).

- need for monitoring
- need for evaluation

Both standards and baselines data are hard information, facts; e.g., water; calories per person per day, etc.

Technical Interrelationships

(e.g., water, sanitation, hygiene; supplemental feeding and immunizations)

C. Leadership;

1. We can't teach how to lead, only improve the peripheral skills

2. Everyone has their own strengths/weaknesses

3. Different styles:

- command
- knowledge
- reverent/friendship
- sheer physical presence

4. One thing for certain, just because we are appointed responsibility does not make us leaders.

5. You may even identify your style

- Improve it
- strengthen the weak areas
- home certain leadership skills
- give you knowledge
- help you be more creative

6. Only you can make yourself a leader, and that comes from practice and experience

D. Decision-making:

1. "I don't care what you decide, but decide something."

2. You finally made a decision and someone up the chain of command reversed it.

3. Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty:

How do we make the right decisions?

- information is incomplete, confusing, contradictory
- resources are scarce

We have to look for, and recognize, patterns

4. Very little in emergency operations is that new; the time and place change, but little else.

- We have to learn what has happened before. There is little collective memory. Find it.
- Past is prelude.
- Those who don't study the past are doomed to repeat it.

5. Decision-making is the very crux of emergency management

a. on all levels
b. we have to make

- the right decision
- at the right time

c. How do we make the decision?

- on the basis of knowledge
- on the basis of training
- on the basis of preparation

i.e., we are not making the decision with our eyes open.


1. Accountability
2. Foresight and planning
3. Knowledge
4. Systems and the System
5. Patterns
6. Intelligent behavior
7. Management skills

- leadership
- decision-making
- ordering information

8. Creativity
9. Interrelationships and balance
10. Time
11. Experience and practice
12. Learning lessons


Speaker’s Aid (4)

TITLE: Keys to Being a Competent Manager
AUTHOR: Disaster Management Center

SESSION: Principles of Emergency Management



1. Write a plan of operations. It is a tool as well as a necessary step to organize your response, to set priorities, goals and objectives.

2. Implement a command and control system. Many emergency operations are set up with many ad hoc arrangements. A command and control system will eliminate ambiguities of authority and lines of communication.

3. Establish a strong logistics team. Getting relief supplies to the beneficiaries must be done quickly, efficiently, and with minimum loss of goods. This activity must be in the hands of experienced professionals who know the logistics chain and how to manage it.

4. Place a strong decision maker in the forward point. The critical issues of management are found in the relief camps and the zones of conflict. Instead of assigning inexperienced recruits to those posts (as is frequently the case) they should be run by the most experienced field staff who know what to do and can provide clear direction to the rest of the organization.

5. Be able to act quickly. The difference between life and death may be time. A good program is one that can be set up quickly and respond to changing condition quickly.

6. Create a unified team at all levels. For a program to be run coherently and effectively it must be managed by a team that "has their act together", that is, they must know how to work together and share a similar set of priorities.

7. Install an information management system. Implementing a program is dependent on communications at all levels. A communications system is necessary to expedite decisions, clarity priority actions, and to ensure that all parties are fully informed of key information.

8. Look for patterns. A good manager will always be looking for patterns that will give clues to critical issues. These are demographic patterns, physical observations, rate of change of the way beneficiaries are behaving, etc. Recognizing the patterns may be essential to be able to modify and respond the changing conditions.

9. Rely on basic experience. In general, place people with field experience in key positions.

10. Take preventive action. Anticipate problems, implement solutions before a crisis develops.


Day _______________
Session ____________

1. In your view, what were the key points learned in this session?

2. Comment on the application of these within UNICEF and your situation.

3. Suggest any additional critical points that should have been covered.

4. Do you have comments on the suggested reading?

Suggest any additional information sources for sessions of the day.
Case Studies:

5. Comment on the learning methodology (lectures, group work, films) used in the session.