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Emergency Operations Centers

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Diaster Operation Center

An Emergency Operations Center is a central command  and control facility responsibie for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management.

First Responders/First Recievers

A first responder is a person with specialized  training who is among the first to arrive  at the scene of an emergency and provide assistance. 

A first receiver is a person with specialized  traning  in receiving contaminated victims  in the emergency center. 

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What is a disaster?

Even in today’s modern world it is difficult to define a disaster. For centuries; man has responded to disasters reactively; now more than ever communities are becoming increasingly proactive in preparing for an extreme crisis (Perry, 2005). In order to provide an overview & explanation and better understand the perceptions of the contributors to the research; we must first attempt to define, what is a disaster?  This thesis will provide research from a group of international disaster researchers and present their definitions of disasters.

By defining: “what is a disaster;” researchers can address the close affinity between research and application. This clears the way for researchers and practitioners to distinguish their differences in defining; what is a disaster. As our understanding of a disaster becomes more clearly demonstrated; in areas of disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response; will allow for better preparedness, with a fuller deeper meaning, and provide greater understanding for researchers and the community. As we sharpen our conception of a disaster, definitions provide an explanation for certain concepts of a disaster (Perry, 2005).

The way we identify and manage disasters in the future is contingent upon our collective understanding of the meaning and dimensions of the concept (Perry, 2005). “Disaster has adversely affected humans since the dawn of our existence” (Coppola, 2015). As a result, citizens and whole communities have made advances in decreasing their exposure to the consequences in the event of extreme crisis. Researcher and practitioners have received increased funding from the government to develop measures in considering the initial impact of a disaster as well as the aftermath.

Actually; the motivating strategies developed by emergency management is designed to reduce harm to life, property, and the environment (Coppola, 2015). However; the question is how accomplish this mission? Whether due to political, economic, cultural or other reasons, the unfortunate reality is that some regions in the world are more capable than others (Coppola, 2015). Increasingly, more nations around the world are developing strategies that are producing the necessary infrastructure to ensure the safety of its communities.

Moreover, the emergence of the global economy makes it difficult to contain disaster events within country borders. “This especially relevant to the issue of comprehensive emergency management, integrated emergency management systems, that is promoted in the United States“(Coppola, 2015). This explains the need to understand the complexities in different types of disasters and the need for systems implementation for preparedness, mitigation, response or recovery that works in a crisis event. In evaluating these authors, their definitions of a disaster, along with reactions and results offered by them.

Wolf Dombrowski, a German Sociologist by training, was tasked to respond to papers created by four different experts in various areas of research. Dombrowski reviewed thesis from geologist, geographer, architect, social scientist and experts in areas of disaster research. These experts all have broad applied experience at national levels in disaster management. His critique; provides a discussion to each author’s thesis.

Disasters are considered fast moving targets, thus; calamity is a recurrent feature in human existence (Perry, 2005). On an average day two or three disasters are occurring and in different stages of the emergency plan. There are about 12 conflict based emergencies in progress around the world every day. Some disasters can be considered routine once spatial patterns can be studied and to certain extents predicted. Disaster can be interpreted in different ways; impact from failure to mitigate hazards, corruption exposed by bringing consequences to light, and increased levels of socialization that occur in the aftermath of a catastrophe. As a result, cultural traits may be accentuated and subjected to scrutiny by outsiders (Gherardi, 1998).

Culture plays an important role in the way communities respond to calamity. Advanced civilizations; with a high level culture that is progressive in science, industry, and government can continually alter their opinions based on revelent concepts controlling the parameters of a disaster. Our perceptions of a disaster are based on the perceptual, symbolic, socio-economic and strategic interpretations of a calamity in relation to world events with paying attention to current developments in society (Perry, 2005). Culture is shared by learned behaviors and meanings that are socially transferred in various life-activities settings as they shape and construct our realities with ideas, morals, and preferences (Marsella, 2005, p.265). Culture constructs our realities and shapes they way we receive and experience reality. There are many cultural variations in the use of words, feelings and images as a means for handling reality content and purposes.

Rohit Jigyasu; a scientific researcher, provides the perspective from the “east” of how space is defined in an eastern way of thought. Physical manifestation; is reality as the way in which human since perceive a disaster, irrespective of social, cultural, or religious backgrounds. Is there such a thing as construct in reality? Well that depends on who you ask. In eastern though, space; its elements and processes are no longer real but in fact construction can represent different levels of conscientiousness.

However, there are limits to the way we measure our scenes just as there are limits on the tools available to measure the individual ability to comprehend the calamity. Today; disasters are no longer limited by physical boundaries but extends beyond physical barriers shaping our thoughts and behaviors in response to a disaster. Actually, “reality” is nothing but a “construct;” however, there needs to be unification between “reality” of disaster constructed and one created by the victims based on world views (Campanelli, 2015).

The respondents play an important role in academic discussions and are important in the understanding response after a disaster event. Learning how respondents comprehend questions and do their answers match disaster definition. The respondents must first interpret the questions as related to the calamity, remember the facts and provide an honest answer. Errors may result if respondents don’t understand the questions of the interviewer and cannot recall key concepts related to the event (Campanelli, 2005). Another important value that respondents add is during debriefing in the aftermath of a disaster event, the respondent is asked specific questions about specific salutations in terms of their own understanding. 


Perry, R. W. (2005). What is a disaster? New answers to old questions: International Research Committee on Disasters.

Coppola, D.P. (2015). Introduction to international disaster management (3rd; ed.) US:      Butterworth Heinemann.

Campanelli, P.C., Rothgeb, J.M., Martin, E.A. (2005). The role of respondent comprehension interviewer knowledge in CPS labor force classification: US Bureau of the Census; Statistical Research Division: Washington D.C.

Gheradi, S. (1998) “A cultural approach to disasters,” Journal of Contingencies and crisis         management.

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