Comprehensive Strategic Emergency Plans

The comprehensive strategic plans will outline the strategic plan applied hypothetically in the collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the stakeholders in the S.C County in dealing with emergency situations. Emergencies can be diverse. An emergency could be either man made or a natural calamity. The Objectives of the collaboration on the emergency operations plan are many but the most important are:

To ensure faster response to emergency situations. This objective is the main objective of the collaboration on the emergency operations plan. The county of S.C and the Department of Homeland Security have to work together to ensure that emergencies are treated as such. Fast response can only be achieved when the stakeholders have clear cut roles in the handling of the emergency and no superiority wars should be present. The superiority wars among the agencies slow down the response to emergencies.  Immediate response to an emergency indicates efficiency and competence. It is also indicative of efficient collaborative systems among all the stakeholders involved.

To have an avenue of openly sharing information on emergency situation. This is a challenge the Department of Homeland Security faces many times. When the emergency is a matter of national security, the Department of Homeland Security is always at a loss on how to give enough information and keep the sensitive information air tight.  The stakeholders can thus agree to find a way to strike a balance between sharing enough, under sharing and oversharing of information.

To ensure proper coordination and collaboration of the Department of Homeland Security and the County of S.C’s security teams. All the departments have to have a joint body where they all meet and strategize. The S.C County and the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to ensure that when working on an emergency of any kind, the citizens are kept safe at all times. This means that the coordination of emergency response teams will have to be joint and not each department with its own coordination protocol. The representative of each department will come together and formulate a joint task force with input from their respective departments to be in charge of responding to emergencies.

To take into consideration the goals and respect for the perspectives of all stakeholders in the emergency operations plans. This will entail each department understanding how the other agencies work in order to find a common ground for information sharing. The goals of each department are different depending on what they were formed to do. For instance, the County of S.C has a department in charge of governance, security, medical facilities, and social services among others, each with a different goal. The goals are set with respect to the perspectives of the people in the taskforce of each department at its inception.

All these objectives have a common goal of ensuring the emergency situations are handled promptly and that the damage caused is the minimum possible. The objectives are in place to ensure that the departments are able to work without leaving sections of the emergency dynamics uncovered. For instance, all the stakeholders may be in coordination with each other but the transport department is not fully aware of the plans. Therefore, the transport system in case of an emergency will be compromised and the whole rescue operation will be slowed down or totally hindered. The objectives are supposed to ensure that such hiccups in the systems are prevented because already the emergency is enough trouble.

An emergency in the S.C County will call for the collaboration of all stakeholders that run the county operations effectively. This includes; the fire fighters department, the local security department (the sheriffs), the state security department (police department), the national security departments (the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Central Intelligence Agency), the funds management departments in charge of the budgetary allocation for the county operations form the national to state governments, the medical departments, social services, disaster management department and the energy sector as well as the housing programs and social services. These are the stakeholders in emergency operation planning in the county of S.C.

The local security department (the sheriffs). This department is closest to the people in the county at all times because the sheriffs are the ones who patrol to ensure the safety of the citizens. Therefore, the sheriff’s department is the best placed in giving information about the security status of the county. The collaboration will benefit the sheriffs’ department because they will be made aware of external dangers to the members of the county. The collaboration will, however, create challenges in the department because the sheriff’s department is not equipped to deal with high profile security cases. Some of the challenges that the department will face will be on how to handle security matters that are complex and require high level of intelligence to deal with. The sheriffs are not adequately trained for heavy duty emergency responses. The sheriffs cannot be compared to the national state police department in training and emergency preparation. They basically rely on the proper coordination of the emergency response teams like ambulances and fired engines to handle emergencies. The Sheriffs, therefore, will only be required to be to report the emergencies to the state security agencies for better assistance in handling emergencies. An emergency of such magnitude would be an earth quake or floods and even drought.

The fire fighters department, is a team of trained fire rescue team, fire extinguishing and containment as well as other basic fire management training skills. The department is often ready to respond to emergency calls to put out fires and save the victims of the fires. The department is also well trained on life saving skills in case of fire (Services O. o., 2017). The fire department will benefit from the collaboration by getting more funds. The funds will mean more fire fighters and fire engines in form of trucks and aircrafts to handle fire emergencies like forest fires in the dry parts of the S.C County. The challenges the department will face will be training the sheriff’s department on fire containment. This is necessary because the sheriffs are always the people closest to the people and obviously the first to be notified or note when a forest fire breaks out in the County of S.C. Handling emergencies with an understaffed fire department will make it difficult for the department to take on a new task of training the sheriffs. Communication may also be a challenge given that the stakeholders are ten or more, they all have to be on the same page about the strategy they should take in putting out the fire.

The state security department (police department), has a wider jurisdiction compared to the sheriff’s department. The department, therefore, can handle bigger emergencies and can help when they spill over counties and the sheriffs in both counties operate differently. The main job of the state security department at this point is to help the county security and emergency teams work with bordering counties when need be. The state security is very important in handling the logistics issue that arise when emergencies go beyond the counties. The challenge that the state police department faces is mobilizing the officers from various departments into one joint task force to handle an emergency. Without proper communication, all the departments tend to slow each other down. The points of contact of the state police department and the other emergency planning stakeholders differs. The state police department comes in only when the county department cannot handle the pressure. It also come in to help with disasters that touch on more than one county for jurisdiction purposes.

The national security departments (the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Central Intelligence Agency). These three departments are in charge of the security of the United States. In the Case of a natural cause emergency, the homeland security is in charge. The Federal Bureau of Investigations is in charge when the emergency arises from a deliberate action of man within the United States while the Central Intelligence Agency has no boundaries in investigating the source of emergencies affecting the United States (Agency F. E., 2002). The collaboration of these three organizations is difficult to achieve given that they always deal with high profile cases (Agency C. I., 2003). When the three agencies come together, there has to be a fourth central agency to be in charge of their collaboration. The fourth Central Agency then links the three to the other ten stakeholders in safeguarding the safety of the citizens in the county of S.C. the collaboration of the three means information will be sourced faster and more efficiently due to the high training and funding ability of the agencies. The three will have their points of contact at the level where they have to ensure the safety of all the other stakeholders in the process of responding to emergencies. The collaboration will present a challenge in the collaboration of the three agencies because they are used to working independently and sharing information will be difficult (Dillon, 2002). The Homeland Department has previously tended to overlook the importance of the local security enforcement systems which means that they have to build this trust afresh (York, 2017).

 The funds management departments in charge of the budgetary allocation for the county operations form the national to state governments. The treasury has to find means of creating emergency funds for the county of S.C because it if prone to many emergencies especially given its proximity to the ocean, the terrain and weather conditions. It is exposed to both the man inspired emergencies, and emergencies occurring as acts of God. The natural emergencies are like forest fires and floods as well as drought. The county of S.C has a section of with very bad spells of drought and at the same time another section prone to floods due to too much rain. These situations have to be catered for in the budget so that in the event that they occur, the stakeholders will be in a position to respond appropriately. The points of contact will be when requiring the estimated expenditure for handling a specified magnitude of an emergency. The challenges that will face this stakeholder is knowing how to appropriately distribute the funds when the emergency occurs. The stakeholder on the other hand will have a challenge in sourcing for the emergency funds adequate for all stakeholders to handle the emergency.

The medical department operating within the emergency situations has a certain capability of handling only a small scale emergency situation. In the case where many causalities have to be taken care of, then the medical department will have to find alternative means (Services E. M., 2017). This is where the state department come. The state’s emergency response medical team is much bigger than the county medical team in terms of staffing and equipment. Therefore, the state will have to commandeer additional ambulances from the neighboring counties to save as many lives as possibly from the emergency area. That is the point of contact for this department. The challenge facing this department is funding, staffing and infrastructure. The department has to be in constant communication with the sheriffs’ department and the national security department in the cases where there is a viral outbreak in the system.

Social services, have to be stakeholders in emergency planning. This is because they have to give information about the status of the government. The social services will get a chance to improve their skills in handling the social work they do. The social services take care of the social welfare and wellness of the citizens in the counties. The challenge social services of the county will experience in the collaboration will be handling more people than they are funded to. The social services department has to be encouraged to relay information about the homeless people to the housing department in cases where floods occur as an emergency.

Disaster management department in the county will be the most important stakeholder. This is because the disaster management department has been trained and funded to handle disasters. When the disasters occur, this is the stakeholder that is supposed to give direction on how the emergency will be handled. The challenge would be on the management of the collaboration of the ten stakeholders that it was not previously used to working with other agencies in such a close collaboration. The department will, however, benefit from the collaboration because it will be provided with more sophisticated equipment and training on disaster management because of the availability of funds by the national treasury.

Insurance companies are supposed to be in the collaboration of emergency responses. There are many factors the insurance companies have to take into consideration. Again it is more important to have the insurance companies understand the dynamics of selling insurance covers to citizens. The people have to be covered as per the agreement. Therefore, the insurance has to liaise with the hospitals to adequately cover the patients that have been affected by the emergency.

The energy sector has the capability of managing electrical emergencies from technical faults within the plants, however, when the electrical faults are caused by forces from outside the plant, the department has to know how to deal with it. For instance; when a forest fire is too close to electricity poles, the energy department has to find a way of preventing the fire from destroying the power supply infrastructure. The energy department has to liaise with all the other stakeholder when the power supply is cut. The department has to find a way of handling the threat to power and prevent the emergency from creating another problem of fire caused by electrical faults.

The housing programs are crucial stakeholders because they have to deal with the problem of housing victims of an emergency like floods. The point of contact, therefore, is where the department informs the other stakeholders on the housing situation of the county people. The challenge will be finding grounds for hosting the emergency victims before a permanent solution is found. The points of contact of this agency is wide spread. They provide a report and avail it to all the other stakeholders.

The county will have to involve all the stakeholders in designing the strategic development collaboration platform. The first move will have to be developing adequate communication and information sharing systems. There will also have to be the provision in the county of S.C to host the new body that brings together all the ten stakeholders in emergency preparation system.

The methods and approaches that foster collaborations are many, inclusive of having executive support, creating a culture of collaboration, focusing on improving the Human resources practices and ensuring the skills being acquired in the collaboration are adequate. Previously, these methods have been applied in business collaborations (Gratton & Erickson, 2007). There is no indication that the same could not be included in the emergency preparation collaboration of the required stakeholders.

The strategies should bring about the effective collaboration of the parties involved without prejudice. There are many ways of linking the national security department to the county security towards the common goals of securing citizens in the event of an emergency. The numbers of agencies that support this collaboration are supposed to ensure lives are saved. The strategic emergency planning systems is supposed to ensure the response and management of emergencies is more efficient and effective. The agencies have to be in agreement that they need to work together so that they are more effective in responding to emergencies. The second step is to ensure that their systems that allow the collaboration. The systems will the result in the development of a separate emergency management program.

The partners in this strategy will have to be incorporated in various ways. The partners will either fully collaborate, partially or share the responsibilities of the emergency management programs. The full cooperation will mean the information will be shared in its entirety. The procedure for responding to an emergency will be linked in such a way that any of the stakeholders can enlist the services of any of the other stakeholder depending on what they need help with. For instance, the fire department can decide to ask for the help of the energy sector in managing the problem presented by the forest fires being too close to the electric poles. The energy department can also ask for the help of the national security and intelligence agencies for help when they suspect that their systems have been compromised in a way that endangers the society. This type of cooperation can only be possible where there is full cooperation. This makes it easy for all the stakeholders to respond to an emergency situation when it occurs without requiring to go through other avenues to help.

The Partial cooperation means that the stakeholders are working together but at the same time, they have to ensure that they operate within the parameters of their individual organizations. It is also a way of ensuring that the collaboration does not compromise the integrity of other operations of the stakeholders. This form of incorporation is made possible by the ability of the agencies in the strategic emergency planning to take part in the process while maintaining their independence. In this case, when an emergency occurs, the stakeholders have to follow a certain information sharing protocol. This effectively slows down the response time.

The final method of incorporation is where the agencies independently come together to respond to an emergency. In this case, each agency is operating independently and working its own portion of the emergency. The fire department puts out the fire, the medical team gives first aid to the victims, the security teams ensure the security of the people working in the emergency area and the others also follow suit in dealing with their individual specialization of the emergency. What this form of incorporation achieves is aimless crowding in the emergency areas. This form of incorporation has little if any chances of success because the command points are as many as the stakeholders who have responded to the emergency.

The strategic planning for emergency preparation is supposed to ensure that no loopholes are left in as far as responding to an emergency situation is concerned. There is no way in which the various stakeholders can handle the problem without having an agreement to do so. The agreement is not enough without there being a system to effect the program and spell out points of contact of each other stakeholders with the others. The strategic planning on emergency preparation is thus very important and necessary for the county of S.C to run an effective emergency response procedure.

References

Agency, C. I. (2003). National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. Washington Dc: Central Intelligence Agency.

Agency, F. E. (2002). Managing the Consequences of Terrorist Incidents. Washington Dc: Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dillon, D. (2002, April 10). Breaking Down Intelligence Barriers for Homeland Security. Retrieved from The Heritage Foundation: www.heritage.org/homeland-security/report/breaking-down-intelligence-barriers-homeland-security

Gratton, L., & Erickson, T. (2007, November). Eight Ways too Build Collaborative Teams. Retrieved from Havard Business Review: hbr.org/2007/11/eight-ways-to-build-colaborative-teams

Services, E. M. (2017, January 31). County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency. Retrieved from Emergency Medical Services: www.santacruzhealth.org/HSAHome/HSADivisions/PublicHealth/EmergencyMedicalServices.aspx

Services, O. o. (2017, April 3). The Santa Crus Fire Department Services. Retrieved from Office of Emergency Services: oes.ucsc.edu/fire-agreement/SCFD-services.html

York, J. A. (2017, March 21). Santa Cruz Efforts to Restore, Maintain Trust and Safety Disrupted in Homeland Security Raids. Retrieved from The Mercury: www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/15/sante-cruz-efforts-to-restore-maintain-trust-and-safety-disrupted-in-homeland-security-raids

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