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close this bookCommunity Emergency Preparedness: A Manual for Managers and Policy-Makers (WHO, 1999, 141 p.)
close this folderChapter 4 Emergency planning
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAn emergency planning process
View the documentPlanning group review
View the documentPotential problem analysis
View the documentResource analysis
View the documentRoles and responsibilities
View the documentManagement structure
View the documentStrategies and systems
View the documentContent of community emergency plans
View the documentSummary
View the documentReferences

Management structure

Purpose of the management structure

The management structure defines the authority and reporting relationships between different organizations and sometimes the relationships within an organization. There should be a clear and shared understanding of these relationships to minimize confusion during emergencies. Each organization involved in the plan should agree on the management structure.

Some management concepts in emergency management

A number of management concepts are commonly used in emergency management, including command, control, coordination, and lead organization.

Command directs the members and resources of an organization in performing the organization’s role and tasks and operates vertically within the organization. Authority to command is established by agreement with an organization or in legislation.

Control is the overall direction of emergency activities. Authority for control is established by legislation or in a plan and carries with it the responsibility for tasking other organizations and coordinating their activities according to the needs of the situation. Control relates to situations and operates horizontally.

Coordination involves the systematic analysis of an emergency situation and available resources, and the provision of relevant information to organizations on the most effective actions to meet specific objectives.

The lead organization is the organization principally responsible for responding to a particular hazard or type of emergency.

Control of organizations during emergencies should be strategic and supportive in nature. The controller should consult with organizations as to what they should do, but should not tell them how to do it. The controller should also provide support by supplying organizations with information and resources.

In the event of an emergency occurring at the community level, local government organizations are responsible for taking appropriate action. If the scale of the emergency is such that the resources needed to control it exceed the community’s capacity, the local government organization should alert and refer to the next administrative level (e.g. province, region, or country). This level should be automatically placed on the alert when several communities are affected. If several provinces are involved, or the magnitude of the emergency exceeds their coping capacity, the national plan is activated, and international aid should be sought if national resources are insufficient. Figure 21 shows the different administrative levels.

A possible management structure for the provincial level consists of a task force and six sectors. The task force comprises the director of response and recovery operations (the overall emergency controller), and the heads of each sector. The sectors are shown in Fig. 22.

Fig. 21. Sequence of emergency response of different administrative levels (WHO 97562)

Fig. 22. A model for the multisectoral approach to emergency response and recovery (WHO 97563)

The task force may be responsible for gathering, centralizing, and disseminating information, coordinating activities, and deploying staff and resources. An emergency control centre will be required during emergencies to coordinate the activities of all sectors, and a dedicated public information unit will provide information to members of the public and to the media. Figure 23 shows such a management structure at the provincial level.

Community preparedness management structures should be designed to interface efficiently with the management structures at provincial and national levels. (See the section “Command, control, and coordination”.)