Emergency Response – What Are We Missing?
Post by Philip Keshiro
MD/CEO Disaster Recovery Technologies Limited & DRI Nigeria
Many times I wonder about the foundation of our emergency response in our beloved country – Nigeria.
From the response of security agencies from herdsmen attacks to other emergencies in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria you can feel that it is not only about responding.
This same question does apply to most countries in Africa. We travel to developed countries, we witnessed how emergencies are coordinated, we wonder, we decide to replicate what we have seen such as the emergency vehicles, colorful dresses worn by the responders but we forgot to copy the underlining off camera and unseen competencies, reasons behind the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response and disaster management.
What are we missing?
Resilience within the system
We failed to notice that all agencies of government have plans against disasters or government inability to perform called Continuity of Operations, COOP. It helps to ensure trouble-free operations through unanticipated events. Other forms of Continuity of Operations planning involve planning for individual business processes and applications to continue directly after a crisis. Planners can create systems for moving data and operations off site during crisis.
Can we safely say that our various agencies have plans, a form of preparedness for events such as widespread flood, fire to headquarters of agencies if impacted from incidents or disasters?
Involvement of the Private Sector
In developed countries the private sector are active participants in all aspect of business continuity, from mitigation, response, restore and return business back to normal. In our environment, preparation is largely at the mercy of the public sector that is also grappling with governmeent bureaucracy. Major companies in all sectors of the economy should be compelled to have safety and business continuity plans because most incidents that require the assistance of the agencies do emanate from the private sectors.
Appropriate Response Equipment
Purchases of response equipment should not be based on feeling good or recommendations from friends but should be from information collated, analyzed showing the resources requirement for response purpose. What is the information gathered saying? Ability to develop local home grown equipment to help in our environment should also be encouraged.
As part of disaster management, creating awareness, warning and passing out information prior to disaster is very critical. Disaster related news or awareness should be constant, repetitive and educative – giving out tips to avoid injuries or death, helping in reducing shocks and saving lives.
Practice – Exercises and Testing
Overseas, exercises and testing are constantly being held to develop state of readiness to mitigate and respond to emergencies based on potential threats unearthed during the information gathering stage.
You exercise the people based on policy and procedures while you test the equipment to ensure responders are familiar with the tools and can make effective use of it during emergencies.
Exercises and testing of equipment are important factors that help greatly to save lives timely.
It is a bad workman that complains about his tools.
Our own peculiar problem
We should not only copy what we see when we travel abroad, but we need to know the underlining principles which is the knowledge of BUSINESS CONTINUITY. Those assigned to manage disaster in our various State Emergency Management Authority (SEMA) and National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) without this concise knowledge of Business Continuity, which should guide decision making process; allowing concerned officials to undertake assignments in a methodological way, will always work haphazardly, using unplanned approach that we are all witnessing across the nation.
Philip Keshiro, MD/CEO Disaster Recovery Technologies Limited & DRI Nigeria.
GSM 08054561141. keshirophilip@dri-nigeria; firstname.lastname@example.org