The Role of Technology in Disaster Management Emergency Management: The management of emergencies concerning all hazards, including all activities and risk management measures related to prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Blackbody radiation: Refers to an object or system which absorbs all of the electromagnetic radiation that falls onto it; the object or system then re-radiates this energy. The energy that is reradiated is characteristic of the radiating system from which it is emitted, not its original source. Electromagnetic spectrum The electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is the range of all possible electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic wave Method of travel for radiant energy, so called because radiant energy has both magnetic and electrical properties. Infrared radiation Electromagnetic radiation whose wavelengths lie in the range from 0.75 micrometer to 1000 micrometers. Infrared sensors This is an electronic device which measures infrared light radiating from objects in its field of view. LandSat A series of satellites that produce images of the earth. Microwave radiation Electromagnetic radiation composed of photons carrying less energy than infrared photons but more energy than radio photons. Radiation Energy that is radiated or transmitted in the form of rays or waves or particles. Sensor An electronic device used to measure a physical quantity such as temperature, pressure or loudness and convert it into an electronic signal of some kind. Wavelength The distance between identical points in the adjacent cycles of a waveform signal propagated in space or along a wire.
What is Emergency Management? Emergency management is a discipline that involves the avoidance of risks, while simultaneously putting plans in place to deal with disasters and emergency situations if and when they do occur with a view to rebuild and restore society to a functional level in as short a time as possible after a disaster. Emergency management is therefore a shared responsibility between government and citizens of a country towards building a sustainable, disaster-resilient society. The ultimate purpose of emergency management is to: • save lives • preserve the environment • protect property • protect the economy What are Emergency Management Systems (EMS)? Emergency management systems are technological aids that facilitate the effective management of disasters. EMS technology can assist in several areas that are critical to effective disaster management, such as: • Drafting and testing of evacuation and general disaster plans (Evacuation Plans). • Establishment of shelters as well as informing the public of shelter locations, items that should be taken to the shelter and general “shelter behaviour”. • Training personnel in effective shelter management, basic first aid and other “response” skills (Manpower). • Establish a national warehouse and ensure that it is stocked with items for national survival in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, before the arrival of overseas help (Materials). • Setting-up reliable communication systems, such as, the traditional two-way CB-type radios (Communication). • Putting transportation plans in place, which should include air transportation to facilitate air-lifts and rescues, delivery of food supplies to severely affected areas cut-off from vehicular traffic and comprehensive damage assessment activity (Transportation).
How useful is EMS? EMS can also add tremendous value to disaster management in the following generic areas: • Hazardous Materials Management • Emergency Medical Services • Response and Recovery
EMS and the Disaster Management Cycle: It is important to note that the proper usage of technology can improve the effectiveness of disaster management systems to aid the process of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Prevention and Mitigation Effective disaster management seeks to prevent hazards from developing into “fullblown” disasters and further reduce the impact of disasters if and when they occur. Inventory systems, Tracking, Detection, Driver authentication and Route planning software are technological tools that can be used to aid in the process of disaster prevention and mitigation. i Inventory systems: Databases exist to help monitor inventory levels of critical supplies and equipment on a continuous basis to ensure that adequate supplies are available to cover the upward surge in demand that generally accompany disaster and emergency situations.