Response and recovery are the final two phases of disaster management. As an agency, I would tell the chief that these phases are just as important as mitigation and preparedness and have subcomponents that need to be addressed. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I would advise the chief that in response and recovery the purpose is to save lives, which requires working together for the good of the people. Working together means with other agencies to include federal, state and local, as well as working with the stakeholders of the community. Coming together in these phases is our purpose to save lives.
As a department, I would instruct the chief that we need to be informed and follow the procedures of the national response framework (NRF), the national incident management systems (NIMS), and the incident command system (ICS). Training needs to be held to understand how NIMS and ICS work and are implemented in response to a disaster. All members of the police department and especially supervisors need to train and be able to follow ICS. This will prepare the department for responding. The chief should encourage redundancy in response and recovery. According to Nemeth (2016), redundancy means that the department will have multiple systems, subsystems, assets, or processes in case one fails, or one is lost (p. 548). It is important to have redundancy because Murphy’s law plays into effect in the most serious of times, and having a backup system can help reduce saving lives.
In recovery, resiliency is also very important. According to FEMA’s document on the national disaster recovery framework, “Resilience is the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions. Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring threats or incidents” (p. 8). The department should research and find resources that are available in our area to help in recovery. Leaning on the stakeholders in the community to help with recovery is a necessary component, as taking on this task alone will be difficult. The recovery phase includes “the reconstitution of government operations and services, housing and services for displaced families and individuals; and replenishment of stockpiles” (Lindsay, 2012, p. 3). The community the department serves must work together with the agency to be successful in this phase. I would instruct the chief the importance of community relations to help with recovery as they will be able to provide resources and possibly help cut down on the budget required to provide services.
Continuity of operations planning is another component that requires training and budgeting to accomplish, but is a fairly simple concept. The phases within the continuity of operations is readiness and preparedness, activation and relocation, continuity operations, and reconstitution (COOP, 2016). In this step, I would instruct the chief that we need to be prepared to move essential operations to a different location when a disaster strikes and be able to return to normal once it is over. For example, dispatchers and communication systems may need to be moved to the command post for easier communication to exist. After the incident, communications can then return to their normal location. Budget wise this may require purchasing a mobile communication vehicle that provides the necessary technology to operate. This would also require training by dispatchers and officers to make sure they know how the systems work and to check for any issues or problems before they arise.
Department of Homeland Security. (2016). Continuity of Operations: An Overview. https://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/org/ncp/coop_brochure.pdf
Department of Homeland Security. (2016). National Disaster Recovery Framework 2nd Edition. https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1466014998123-4bec8550930f774269e0c5968b120ba2/National_Disaster_Recovery_Framework2nd.pdf
Nemeth, C. P. (2016). Homeland security: An introduction to principles and practices 3rd ed. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis (CRC Press).
Lindsay, B. (2012). Federal Emergency Management: A Brief Introduction. CRS Report for Congress. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42845.pdf