Describe the evolving role of the federal government. Talk about the unique role of the Red Cross. What factors have encouraged the development of the field, and which have discouraged the development of the field
The discipline which deals with risk and avoidance of risk is simply called as emergency management. Emergency management may term as the management of responsibilities and resources to deal with the aspects of humanitarian of emergencies such as preparing for dealing with the emergency situation, responding to the emergency situation, and recovering from the emergency situation (Haddow et al., 2017). The main aim of emergency management is to mitigate or reduce the impact of or harmful impacts of hazards. Emergency has been defined by the World Health Organization as the situation in which the normal life of the people of a particular region interrupted, and there is a need to take immediate measures to prevent the situation turning into a hazard or disaster (Haddow et al., 2017).
There are some historical disasters that shaped the field of emergency management. Before these disasters the field of emergency management was not so evolved. These disasters fetched the concentration of the government towards the management of the emergency situation (Cresci et al., 2015). These disasters were Spanish Influenza (1918) which cost 20 to 40 million deaths, North American Smallpox Epidemic (1775), North Korean Famine (1994), Yangtze River Floods (1931), Haiyuan Earthquake (1920), New Zeeland Earthquake (2011), Tangshan Earthquake in China (1976), Hurricane Andrew (1993), Hurricane Harvey (2017), etc. (Cresci et al., 2015). These all disasters have shaped the field of emergency management throughout the world.
Evolving Role of the Federal Government
The role of the federal government is being changed towards emergency management. The Federal Response Plan which was formulated to deal with the emergency situation in the country has been revised into another plan named the National Response Plan (Olshansky et al., 2014). The positive features of the Federal Response Plan have been retained in the new plan that is the National Response Plan. But the focus of the National Response Plan has been shifted from natural disaster and terrorism to only terrorism. So, because of the shift in focus, the role of federal government has also changed significantly (Olshansky et al., 2014). The National Response Plan has placed the lead role in responding to a natural disaster or terrorist attack in the hands of the federal government. The federal government is solely responsible for dealing with emergency situations. The change in the role of the federal government has given authority to the federal government to respond to any event without a request by the governor.
Historical Trends in Emergency Management and the Role of Federal Government
A Congressional Act was passed in 1803 for providing financial assistance to a New Hampshire town which was devastated by fire. For the first time federal government involved in a local emergency situation in this incident. The Bureau of public roads and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1930 were given authority for providing a loan for repairing and reconstructing the public facilities after disaster (Wilhite et al., 2014). The next phase of the evolution of the emergency management took place during the 1950s due to the cold war. During the 1960s, the United States of America was affected by a series of natural disasters. In 1962, over 600 miles of shoreline on the East Coast was devastated by the Ash Wednesday Storm. Later in 1964 destructive earthquake struck the Prince William Sound in Alaska. The speed of the earthquake was 9.2 on the Richter scale. After this, in 1965 Hurricane Betsy, in 1969 Hurricane Camille took place. All of these natural disasters affected the federal government at the ground level and induced the government to think about effective emergency management system (Wilhitte et al., 2014). All of the disasters were dealt with the ad hoc legislation, and there was no any standard legislation to deal with such incidents. The federal government then formulated a plan called the National Flood Insurance Program under the National Flood Insurance Act 1968 to provide financial assistance to the affected people (Knowles et al., 2014).
During the 1970s the government called for a National Focus to Emergency Management. Since then the federal government regularly monitor the requirement of the emergency management system in the country and bring legislation if required to deal with such emergency situation in the country.
The Unique Role of Red Cross
The American National Red Cross Governance Modernization Act was passed into law in May 2007. The Red Cross is a tax-exempted organization which works closely at all levels of the government (Irwin, 2017). The organization is working for more than 125 years to provide support to individuals and families affected in an emergency. The functions of Red Cross are unique which provides its services into five major areas. The unique role of Red Cross (Irwin, 2017);
1)Helping the victims of disaster: the main role of the Red Cross is to assist the victims of the disaster. The organization provides space to stay, emotional support, and food to eat to the victims which are urgent for those to recover.
2)Providing support to the families of American Military forces: the organization also provides support to the members of the families of the American military to cope with and respond to the military emergency.
3)Lifesaving blood: the organization is one of the largest suppliers of blood in America. More than 4 million people donate blood through Red Cross every year to provide support to the needy.
4)Health and safety services: the organization also provides health and safety services to the people of the country. It trains more than 9 million people every year through its training program.
5)International services: the organization also provides its support to the international services through its network all over the world.
Factors Which Have Encouraged the Development of the Field
There are various factors which have encouraged the development of the field of emergency management. The following are the factors which encourage the development of the field (Haddow et al., 2017);
Increasing possibilities of natural as well as human-made disasters
The degree of impacts of the disasters
Loss of life as well as property
Intension to reduce the effects of disasters
Increase in standard of living and
Right of the people to have safe life
Factors Which Have Discouraged the Development of the Field
There are some factors which have discouraged the development of the field of emergency management, and those factors are (Haddow et al., 2017);
Challenge of change
Complexity of the program
Need for high level of skills
Inefficiency of public sector to deal with disaster
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Haddow, G., Bullock, J., & Coppola, D. P. (2017). Introduction to emergency management. Butterworth-Heinemann.
Cresci, S., Tesconi, M., Cimino, A., & Dell'Orletta, F. (2015, May). A linguistically-driven approach to cross-event damage assessment of natural disasters from social media messages. In Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web (pp. 1195-1200). ACM.
Olshansky, R. B., & Johnson, L. A. (2014). The evolution of the federal role in supporting community recovery after US disasters. Journal of the American Planning Association, 80(4), 293-304.
Knowles, S. G., & Kunreuther, H. C. (2014). Troubled waters: The national flood insurance program in historical perspective. Journal of Policy History, 26(3), 327-353.
Irwin, J. (2017). The American Red Cross in Great War-era Europe, 1914–1922. The Tocqueville Review, 38(2), 117-131.
Wilhite, D. A., Sivakumar, M. V., & Pulwarty, R. (2014). Managing drought risk in a changing climate: The role of national drought policy. Weather and Climate Extremes, 3, 4-13.