The term “emergency” is used in the broadest possible sense. One person’s emergency
may be another’s mere incident, and disasters cause problems above and beyond smaller
emergencies. Nevertheless, the processes of emergency preparedness can be used to
develop systems and programs for coping with every scale of adverse events. Similarly,
the same preparedness processes can be used for enhancing the safety of a building, a
community, or an entire country.
This module explains the processes of policy development, vulnerability assessment,
emergency planning, training and education, and monitoring and evaluation for use in
a wide range of emergency management applications.
Decision-making for emergency preparedness
The increase in global vulnerability
Major emergencies and disasters have occurred throughout history and, as the world’s
population grows and resources become more limited, communities are increasingly
vulnerable to the hazards that cause disasters. However, since there is little evidence that
the actual events causing disasters are increasing in either intensity or frequency, it can
only be concluded that vulnerability to disasters is growing.
Emergencies and disasters do not affect only health and well-being; frequently, large
numbers of people are displaced, killed or injured, or subjected to greater risk of
epidemics or worst, pandemics just like what we are facing right now.
A disaster can be defined as any occurrence that causes damage, ecological disruption,
loss of human life or deterioration of health and health services on a scale sufficient to
warrant an extraordinary response from outside the affected community or area.
Disasters are causing greater harm to people, communities, and countries every decade,
affecting current populations and existing infrastructure and threatening the future of
Clearly, neither communities nor governments can afford to wait for emergencies and
disasters to occur before responding to them. The suffering caused by injuries and deaths,
social and economic disruption, and the destruction of the environment can be reduced
through various measures designed to reduce vulnerability.
2. Vulnerability reduction and the focus on communities at risk
Coordinated efforts are needed to halt emergencies and disasters by tackling the source
- the deteriorating environment, the hazards that bring harm to communities, the
vulnerability of communities to those hazards. Such efforts may be collectively termed
Vulnerability concerns the interaction between a community, its environment, and
hazards. A community is the smallest social grouping in a country with an effective social
structure and potential administrative capacity. The environment is the surrounding
support system and processes. Hazards are the potential sources of emergencies of
natural, technological, or social origin. A community interacts with its environment and its
hazards. This interaction can be positive, resulting in vulnerability reduction and in
development, or negative, resulting in a series of crises and emergencies, as well as
setbacks in development initiatives.
Vulnerability to emergencies and disasters is a function of the degree of exposure to
hazards and of people’s capacity to cope with hazards and their
Community vulnerability has two aspects: susceptibility, the degree to
which a community is exposed to hazards, and resilience, the community’s capacity to
cope with hazards. It is possible for a community to have either high or low susceptibility
Vulnerability is different from “vulnerable groups”, such as the aged, women, children, the
sick, and the poor. An assessment of vulnerability may identify and describe vulnerable
groups, but this is only part of the overall picture. Vulnerable groups have differing
degrees of susceptibility and resilience and exist within the context of communities that
themselves have differing degrees of susceptibility and resilience.
For example, many communities are susceptible to frequent severe earthquakes because
of their geographical position and geological environment, while others do not
This difference in resilience can be due to:
- different abilities of buildings, and various elements of the infrastructure, to withstand
- differences in emergency preparedness (i.e. the degree to which a community is
organized to cope with emergencies);
3. - the extent of the resources that can be applied to an emergency;
- the degree to which the province or nation can sustain economic and social damage.
Vulnerability reduction requires a number of coordinated activities, including:
- policy development;
- vulnerability assessment (to describe the problems and opportunities);
- emergency prevention and mitigation (to reduce susceptibility);
- emergency preparedness (to increase resilience).
Emergency prevention and mitigation involve measures designed either to prevent
hazards from causing emergencies or to lessen the likely effects of emergencies. These
measures include flood mitigation works, appropriate land-use planning, improved
building codes, and relocation or protection of vulnerable populations and structures.
Emergency preparedness requires that emergency plans be developed, personnel at all
levels and in all sectors be trained, and communities at risk be educated, and that these
measures be monitored and evaluated regularly.
Vulnerability reduction and development
It has been said that the purpose of development is to broaden people’s range of choices.
With this concept are three essential components:
- equality of opportunity for everyone in society;
- sustainability of opportunity from one generation to the next;
- empowerment of people so that they participate in and benefit from development
Emergency management and development are linked. Prevention and preparedness
measures should be integrated into development planning, in order to minimize the
disaster impact. Response and rehabilitation are humanitarian activities which should
contribute to sustainable development. Emergency management is a continuing process
which is relevant not only at the time of the disaster impact, but also as an integral part
of sustainable development.
5. What is emergency preparedness?
Emergency preparedness is:
“a programme of long-term development activities whose goals are to strengthen the
overall capacity and capability of a country to manage efficiently all types of emergency
and bring about an orderly transition from relief through recovery, and back to sustained
Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. People and governments need to be
prepared for the eventuality of a disaster happening.
The goal of emergency preparedness is to strengthen the capacity of governments,
organizations, institutions and communities to withstand a disaster or emergency
situation. Emergency preparedness can be achieved through:
national legislation and policy for disaster management
plans and procedures for disaster management and emergency response coordination
strengthening institutional and human resources for disaster management
establishing and managing stocks of relief supplies and equipment
identifying transportation options
public education, awareness and community participation in disaster management
collecting, analyzing and disseminating information related to emergencies and
disasters that are likely to occur in the region.
The development of emergency preparedness programmes requires that the
community’s vulnerability be considered in context. Emergency preparedness can be
ensured by creating a supportive political, legal, managerial, financial, and social
environment to coordinate and use efficiently available resources to:
- minimize the impact of hazards on communities;
- coordinate an efficient transition from emergency response to recovery, according to
existing goals and plans for development.
Thus, emergency preparedness and emergency management do not exist in a vacuum.
To succeed, emergency preparedness programmes must be appropriate to their context.
6. This context will vary from country to country and from community to community, but
some relevant aspects are shown below.
The context of emergency preparedness
There are a number of aspectsto anymanagementactivity;inthe context of emergency
preparedness programs they are:
- content (the elements of an emergency preparedness program);
- form (what the emergency preparedness program looks like, and how it fits into real
- principles (the criteria used when making decisions about emergency preparedness);
- process (the methods used to develop preparedness).
Emergency preparedness includes the following elements:
- legal frameworks and enabling policy for vulnerability reduction;
- the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information on vulnerability;
- strategies, systems, and resources for emergency response and recovery;
- public awareness;
- organizational and human resource development.
• Globally, the number of disasters is increasing with growing community vulnerability.
• Inappropriate humanitarian assistance can lead to reduced development assistance,
increased community vulnerability, and further social crisis.
7. • Community vulnerability is a function of susceptibility and resilience.
• Vulnerability reduction can decrease the risk of emergencies and disasters by:
- decreasing susceptibility (emergency prevention and mitigation);
- increasing resilience (emergency preparedness).
• Vulnerability reduction also requires policy development and vulnerability assessment.
• Vulnerability reduction can protect and enhance development.
• Emergency management can be described by:
- the comprehensive approach;
- the all-hazards approach;
- the multisectoral and intersectoral approach.
• The aims of civil protection, humanitarian action, and emergency management are very
similar, and the same preparedness processes can be used for each. The health sector
plays a key role, regardless of the system adopted by a country.
• Emergency preparedness is required at every level within a country, particularly at the
• Community participation in emergency preparedness is essential for its success.
• Emergency preparedness processes can be used for any community, organization, or
• Emergency preparedness should be developed to suit the context of the community.
• An emergency preparedness programme should be guided by project management
Emergency management is the managerial function charged with creating the framework
within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters.
Emergency management is the discipline of dealing with and avoiding risks, particularly
those that have catastrophic consequences for communities, regions, or entire countries.
It is the dynamic process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from
an emergency. Planning, though critical, is not the only component. Training, conducting
drills, testing equipment and coordinating activities with the community are other
important functions. Effective emergency management relies on the integration of
emergency plans at all levels of government and non-government, including individuals
and community organizations.
Emergency management seeks to promote safer, less vulnerable communities with the
capacity to cope with hazards and disasters.
Emergency Management protects communities by coordinating and integrating all
activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to mitigate against,
prepare for, respond to, and recover from threatened or actual natural disasters, acts of
terrorism, or other man-made disasters.
Emergency Management must be:
1. Comprehensive — emergency managers consider and take into account all hazards,
all phases, all stakeholders and all impacts relevant to disasters.
2. Progressive — emergency managers anticipate future disasters and take preventive
and preparatory measures to build disaster-resistant and disaster-resilient communities.
3. Risk-Driven — emergency managers use sound risk management principles (hazard
identification, risk analysis, and impact analysis) in assigning priorities and resources.
10. 4. Integrated — emergency managers ensure unity of effort among all levels of
government and all elements of a community
5. Collaborative — emergency managers create and sustain broad and sincere
relationships among individuals and organizations to encourage trust, advocate a team
atmosphere, build consensus, and facilitate communication.
6. Coordinated — emergency managers synchronize the activities of all relevant
stakeholders to achieve a common purpose.
7. Flexible — emergency managers use creative and innovative approaches in solving
8. Professional — emergency managers value a science and knowledge-based approach
based on education, training, experience, ethical practice, public stewardship and
THE FOU R STAGE S OF E ME RGE NCY MANAGE ME NT:
Mitigation (the action of reducing the seriousness or severity of something)
Mitigation is taking action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial
consequences later. It involves analyzing risk, reducing risk, and insuring against
risk. Effective mitigation requires that we all understand local risks, address the hard
choices, and invest in long-term community well-being. Mitigation is achieved through
regulations, local ordinances, land use and building practices.
Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, managing, organizing, training,
equipping, exercising, creating, monitoring, evaluating and improving activities to ensure
effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities of concerned organizations to
prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, create resources and mitigate the
effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters
Response includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first
responders. This is driven by the type and kind of emergency and is likely to include a first
wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police and ambulance crews. They
may be supported by a number of secondary emergency services. A well rehearsed
emergency plan makes rescue and response more efficient.
The aim of recovery is to restore the affected area to its previous state. It differs from
response in its focus; recovery efforts deal with issues and decisions that must be made
after immediate needs are met. Recovery efforts are primarilyconcerned with actions that
involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment, and the repair of essential
infrastructure. Efforts should be made to "build back better," with a goal to reduce risks
inherent in the community and infrastructure.
12. Mitigation This phase includes any activities that prevent an emergency,
reduce the likelihood of occurrence, or reduce the damaging
effects of unavoidable hazards. Mitigation activities should be
considered long before an emergency.
For example, to mitigate fire in your home, follow safety
standards in selecting building materials, wiring, and appliances.
But, an accident involving fire could happen. To protect yourself
and your animals from the costly burden of rebuilding after a
fire, you should buy fire insurance. These actions reduce the
danger and damaging effects of fire.
Preparedness This phase includes developing plans for what to do, where to
go, or who to call for help before an event occurs; actions that
will improve your chances of successfully dealing with an
emergency. For instance, posting emergency telephone
numbers, holding disaster drills, and installing smoke detectors
are all preparedness measures. Other examples include
identifying where you would be able to shelter your animals in a
disaster. You should also consider preparing a disaster kit with
essential supplies for your family and animals.
Response Your safety and well-being in an emergency depend on how
prepared you are and on how you respond to a crisis. By being
able to act responsibly and safely, you will be able to protect
yourself, your family, others around you and your animals.
Taking cover and holding tight in an earthquake, moving to the
basement with your pets in a tornado, and safely leading horses
away from a wildfire are examples of safe response. These
actions can save lives.
Recovery After an emergency and once the immediate danger is over, your
continued safety and well-being will depend on your ability to
cope with rearranging your life and environment. During the
recovery period, you must take care of yourself and your animals
to prevent stress-related illnesses and excessive financial
National Disaster Risk Reduction and
National Disaster Risk Reduction and
Pambansang Tanggapan para sa Pagtugon ng Sakuna
Formed May 2010
National Disaster Coordinating
(established October 19, 1970)
Type Strategic Emergency Management
Headquarters Camp Aguinaldo, EDSA cor. Boni
Serrano, Quezon City, Philippines
Usec. Ricardo Jalad, Executive
Parent agency Department of National Defense
15. Website ndrrmc.gov.ph
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), formerly
known as the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), is a working group of
various government, non-government, civil sector and private sector organizations of the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines established by Republic Act 10121 of
2010. It is administered by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) under the Department of
National Defense (DND). The Council is responsible for ensuring the protection and
welfare of the people during disasters or emergencies. The NDRRMC plans and leads the
guiding activities in the field of communication, warning signals, emergency,
transportation, evacuation, rescue, engineering, health and rehabilitation, public
education and auxiliary services such as fire fighting and the police in the country. The
Council utilizes the UN Cluster Approach in disaster management. It is the country's focal
for the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER)
and many other related international commitments.
In February 2010, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) was renamed,
reorganized, and subsequently expanded. The following heads of agencies compose the
Chairperson - Secretary of Department of National
Vice Chairperson for Disaster Preparedness -
Secretary of Interior and Local Government
Vice Chairperson for Disaster Response - Secretary
of Department of Social Welfare and Development
Vice Chairperson for Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation - Secretary of the Department of Science
Vice Chairperson for Disaster Rehabilitation and
Recovery - Director-General of the National
Economic Development Authority
o Secretary of the Department of Health
o Secretary of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources
16. o Secretary of the Department of Agriculture
o Secretary of the Department of Education
o Secretary of the Department of Energy
o Secretary of the Department of Finance
o Secretary of the Department of Trade and
o Secretary of the Department of
o Secretary of the Department of Budget and
o Secretary of the Department of Public
Works and Highways
o Secretary of the Department of Foreign
o Secretary of the Department of Justice
o Secretary of the Department of Labor and
o Secretary of the Department of Tourism
o The Executive Secretary;
o Secretary of the Office of the Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process
o Chairman, Commission on Higher
o Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the
o Chief, Philippine National Police
o Commandant, Philippine Coast Guard
o The Press Secretary
o Secretary-General of the Philippine Red
o Commissioner of the National Anti-Poverty
Commission - Victims of Disasters and
o Chairperson, National Commission on the
Role of Filipino Women
o Chairman, Housing and Urban
Development Coordinating Council
17. o Executive-Director of the Climate Change
Office of the Climate Change Commission
o President, Government Service Insurance
o President, Social Security System
o President, Philippine Health Insurance
o President of the Union of Local Authorities
of the Philippines
o President of the League of Provinces in the
o President of the League of Municipalities in
o President of the League of Cities in the
o President of the Liga ng Mga Barangay
o Four representatives from the Civil Sector
o One representative from the Private Sector
o Administrator of the Office of Civil defense
Local DRRM Offices
According of Republic Act 10121, various local governments throughout the country
should establish Local DRRM Offices at the regional, provincial, municipal, city and
barangay levels. As functional arms of the local governments, these Offices are
responsible to create a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan according to
the Framework of the NDRRMC covering 4 aspects including disaster preparedness,
response, prevention and mitigation, and rehabilitation and recovery.
Local Offices usually have a Chief DRRM Officer supported by Administrative and Training,
Research and Planning, Operations and Warning Officers. Some of these Offices have
advanced to organizing their own search and rescue and emergency medical services
squads and command-control-and-communications centers.
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)
The NDRRMC was in charge of gathering and reporting data in the wake of Typhoon
Haiyan. On November 15, 2014, the agency reported 5,632 deaths, 1,140 people missing
18. and 12,166 injured. The agency has reported the rose of death toll to 6,190 deaths, 1,785
missing and 28, 626 injured. They also estimated that the typhoon cost ₱36.6
billion damage to the infrastructure and agriculture of the Visayan Region. As of April 17,
2015, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council confirmed total of
6,300 deaths including 5,877 of those taking place in the Eastern Visayas.
Mount Pinatubo Eruption
When the population was put into a state of alert during the first phases of
the Pinatubo crisis, authorities from the NDCC showed indisputable efficiency in
managing the people.
Precautionary Measures Before Sensing an Eruption
Prior the eruption, no precautionary measures were taken until signs of activity were
observed in 1991. This could be attributed to the absence of any oral or written records
of volcanic activity for the past 400 years in the surrounding areas.
Precautionary Measures After Sensing an Eruption
By April 3, 1991, PHIVOLCS, after having concluded that the volcano was reawakening,
decided to evacuate Aetas villages that were lying within a radius of 10 km around the
summit. On May 13, 1991, a 5-level warning and evacuation system was constituted. This
system included a concentric danger zone surrounding the volcano, continuously fixing
four radii of evacuation from 10 to 40 kilometers between June 7 and 18, which mostly
depended on the evolution of the threat. On the day of June 26, 1991, orders of
evacuation were conveyed to local authorities or Coordination Councils (DCC). During
those times, the entire zone located within the 10 km radius around the crater
of Pinatubo has been decreed as permanent high risk sector by PHIVOLCS prohibiting all
human occupation of the zone.
In the time of Pinatubo’s eruptive phase in June 1991, most of the population reacted
favorably to the evacuation orders due to the early preparation and coordination efforts
the authorities on the field have demonstrated. However, there were still some Aetas that
changed their minds and decided to return to the mountains seeking refuge in caves and
spiritual comfort from their God. There were also others that refused to leave, having been
convinced that the expected eruption would not be extreme enough to reach their homes,
and having been scared at the thought of having to abandon their belongings and crops.
By the time the second warning was given out in July 1992, the population, having been
more aware of previous events, were much more prepared. Despite the PHIVOLCS
frequent pleas and the population’s positive response to it though, a total of
300 Aetas families still refused to evacuate.
19. Under the DRRM Act, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is
designated as the lead agency for the recovery. NEDA is mandated to coordinate the
recovery support functions of national government agencies, local governments, and civil
society organizations (CSOs). However, during the recovery from super typhoon Haiyan,
NDRRMC was caught unprepared due to the typhoon’s overwhelming impacts. It was in
this context that the government, through the President’s Memorandum Order 62 of
December 2013, created the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and
Recovery (OPARR) to focus exclusively on coordinating the recovery process. OPARR aims
to unify efforts of the government and other institutions involved in recovery. It has
special power to mobilize the full resources of the country and to expedite the decision-
making process under the direct authority of the President. OPARR was dissolved after
What is an emergency plan?
An emergency plan is an agreed set of arrangements for responding to and recovering
from emergencies; it describes responsibilities, management structures, strategies, and
Why develop plans?
People who do not believe planning is necessary argue that:
- everybody knows what to do;
- emergencies are unpredictable and impossible to plan for;
- people do not follow plans in emergencies;
- developing emergency plans will worry the public.
These arguments are considered in the following paragraphs.
Everybody knows what to do
In a well prepared community or organization, all those involved in emergency
management may be aware of their role, but that role may not have been considered in
the overall context of what needs to be done. It is possible that the roles of some people
may conflict with those of others.
Have all the tasks required for effective, efficient, and appropriate emergency response
and recovery strategies been allocated? Without emergency planning, it is probable that
many fundamental and necessary responsibilities will not have been allocated, and this
may be realized only during or after the emergency event. While people may know their
own role, they may be unaware of the responsibilities of others with whom they must
interact. Without emergency planning and appropriate training, it is unlikely that people
will understand how they should work with others.
Have all the management functions been decided and the potential problems solved?
Without emergency planning, confusion will arise over management arrangements during
an emergency and this may result in minor crises.
21. How are people newly appointed to a job going to be informed of their emergency
management role? A written plan is the best way to begin their education.
Emergencies are unpredictable and planning for them is impossible
It is precisely because emergencies are difficult to predict and the effects are uncertain
that vulnerability assessments are performed and emergency plans developed.
“The aim is to reduce uncertainty through anticipation of what the situation requires ...
planning is not a cure-all. All emergencies present in some measure unanticipated
contingencies and difficulties. In those cases, action has to become innovative and
emergent. However, planning will clearly improve any organized response effort by
identifying what in all probability must be done, how it should be done, and what
resources will be needed. In this manner, organized response can be made more highly
predictable and efficient.” (1)
People do not follow plans in emergencies
It is common for people not to refer to written emergency plans during the more critical
moments of emergencies. However, if they have a basic understanding of the content and
intent of a well prepared emergency plan, their actions are more likely to be appropriate.
It is not just the written plan that is important - the planning process itself is important
because it is a tool for problem-solving and education.
The development of emergency plans will unduly worry the public
The arousal of public anxiety is a common political objection to emergency planning.
However, if there is a realistic threat to life and the environment, something must be done
about it. The planning process is designed to achieve this end.
What can emergency plans do?
Emergency planning is about protecting life, property, and the environment. Evidence
proves that planning increases this protection. Figure 18 illustrates one aspect of the value
of emergency planning, that of effective warnings. The horizontal scale indicates the
number of people at risk from a dam failure; the vertical scale indicates the number of
actual deaths from recorded dam failures. The two curves on the graph represent the
number of deaths due to dam failure for a given size of the population, with and without
sufficient warning. The data for this graph come from actual events. The warnings were
22. the result of emergency planning, and the graph clearly demonstrates that emergency
planning reduces harm to people.
An emergency planning process
The process of emergency planning is of major importance: if this process is not rational
and appropriate, it is unlikely that the plans produced will be of value.
The planning process described here is a series of rational steps for producing an
emergency plan; each of these steps involves standard management methods. This
process can be applied to any community, organization, or activity, e.g. the health sector
in general, hospitals, and search and rescue organizations. It is intended primarily for
preparedness, but can be used equally well for planning during response and recovery
Each step of the planning process is defined briefly here (see Fig. 20), and discussed in
greater detail later in the chapter. These steps must be documented, and the written
emergency plan will consist of the results of each step.
• Project definition determines the aim, objectives, scope, and context of an emergency
plan, describes the tasks required and the resources needed to perform these tasks (see
Chapter 1 and Annex 1). Recommendations based on the vulnerability assessment should
be used in the planning process.
• A representative planning group is essential for emergency planning. Without such a
group it will be difficult to gather the required information and gain the commitment of
key people and organizations. There may be a need to review any existing planning group
to assess its appropriateness. The composition of the planning group may change during
the planning process.
• Analysis of potential problems examines in more detail the hazards and vulnerabilities,
their causes, possible preventive strategies, response and recovery strategies, and trigger
events for these strategies. It will provide information for later steps of the process.
• The resource analysis asks what resources are required, what is available, what is the
variation between requirement and availability, and who is responsible.
• A description of roles and responsibilities outlines who does what.
• The management structure involves the command of individual organizations and
control across organizations.
23. • Development of strategies and systems is concerned with response and recovery
strategies and the systems that will support them.
Some planning groups may choose to alter the sequence of these steps, perhaps
analysing resources before potential problems, or describing the management structure
before describing roles and responsibilities.