Free Essay. Situational Assessment Approach

Published: 2023-08-03
Free Essay. Situational Assessment Approach
Essay type:  Process essays
Categories:  Risk Population Security Disaster
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 935 words
8 min read

Human society is increasingly being faced with disruptive or destructive events in its quality of life courtesy of environmental origin or as a creation of human activity. Faced with these challenges, different initiatives and approaches have been used to assess the possibility of crises evolving to disasters. One of the most effective measures for quick disaster response and recovery is a well-functioning communication system that provides accurate information in a safe and timely manner to the population at risk. This warning system provides the necessary time before the hazard or the event evolves into a disaster, allowing for such activities as the evacuation of the population, reinforcement of infrastructures, reducing potential damage, or preparing for a more coordinated and comprehensive emergency response. This paper presents the key characteristics to consider in assessing a disaster risk situation.

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Key Event Characteristics in Disaster Risk Situational Assessment

The main elements to guide the assessment process include:

  • Current situation (location, people affected, and how): The type of disaster risk exposure will depend on the area of the country or location in which it occurs.
  • Response procedures: those responsible for risk assessment should identify possible areas of cooperation and develop joint actions, such as quick training, resource mobilization, or support, with the adoption of specialists and equipment.
  • Social communication links with the media and provide information to the public. The basic communication team can be expanded, according to the needs, with professionals from other disciplines, such as, for example, structural engineering, specialists in accidents involving hazardous materials (chemical, radioactive, biological), food, and nutrition, among others.

Sequence and evaluation: Projected damages and loss of life are sequenced and evaluated against the capacity for existing resources to prevent the risk event from becoming a disaster.

Instructions that other Responders Could Apply in the Approach to Any Disaster Scenario

In imminent disaster situations, the first plan of action is to assess the needs and concerns expressed by the people involved, proposing a safe environment, regardless of age or place to be put into practice. The disaster response team should be able to work directly with the victims and their families, identifying demands through careful listening and interdisciplinary assessment of priorities. In this case, it ends up being the important information mediator to help people who need it, both in psycho-emotional support and permeating social issues (relocation, installation, basic care, security, mobilization of groups). Interventions can be made individually or in groups, allowing for the exchange of experiences and mutual support, possible in situations of collective 'mourning'.

First responders and emergency managers should ensure the following priority areas are considered in an imminent disaster scenario:

  • Identify the current needs of the affected population- disaster events such as fires, floods, and hurricanes are likely to result in damage to homes, water, and basic sanitation services, food among other essentials. First responders should formulate ways of addressing the immediate needs that protect the well-being of the affected population such as short-term accommodation, clothing, food and water supply, and medicine among others.
  • Designate meeting/rescue points and contact persons- Shock, confusion, and panic often accompany any disaster situation, so all members of the affected population must know how and where to meet again if they become separated or are not together when the disaster occurs. Emergency managers and first responders should designate rescue and meeting points in case the damage in their neighborhood were more extensive. They should also designate contact persons that everyone can call in case of an emergency.
  • Determine the remaining operating capacity- there should be an inventory of resources available for covering critical services as soon as possible after meeting basic needs. For instance, if the casualties are numerous, hospitals and other medical services are likely to need a greater water supply. For overloaded resources to continue to function efficiently, the extent of damage should be determined through damage and needs reports.
  • Calculate the resources necessary to carry out the repairs (personnel, equipment, and materials), and estimated the time to make repairs

Develop coordination actions for restoration and repair- Coordination actions and mechanisms are essential for restoration purposes. There should be mutual understanding and harmonization between the various actors in the response and recovery institutions according to their capacities and competencies as described below:

  • a) Intersectoral level: It is important to establish the command lines that connect the specialized and support departments.
  • b) State and municipal levels: They are essential for the harmonization of institutions in the health sector, civil defense, and NGOs working in health at the local level, including the private sector.
  • c) National level: They are particularly relevant in the coordination actions of the Ministry of Health with other national institutions, such as Civil Defense, the Army, and other important ministries, in addition to civil society organizations with a tradition of responding to disaster situations, groups of search and rescue and the media. All of these institutions must be familiar with the national disaster plan.
  • d) International level: Coordination with specialized organizations and agencies in the field of health-related to disaster management and care, such as FEMA/WHO, UNICEF, ISDR, etc., which actively cooperate with national health sector plans, as well as with other international institutions interested in cooperating with countries in disaster preparedness. Consider that the international dynamic has adopted clusters as coordination mechanisms for which the ministries of health must be prepared to lead, jointly with emergency management agencies in each country.

References (2020). Community Emergency Response Team. (2020). Emergency Response Plan.

US Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General. (2003). Review of the Critical Incident Response Plans of the United States Attorneys' Offices.

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