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An emergency management plan is a sequence of actions developed to mitigate the effects and damages of an event or a hazard that can jeopardize the normal functioning of a community or lead to heavy losses. This process includes all the measures that cater for the safety of personal property, land and even the lives of people living in that particular location (Paul, 2011). Emergencies happen without warning, and the community is usually the one that suffers the consequences. Hence, there is the need to involve the community members in the planning process of the mitigation of hazards
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Some hazards cannot be prevented, especially those that are caused by Mother Nature. When the planet presents such occurrences to the community, the latter only has the option of putting an effort in trying to lessen the damages caused (Carrivick, 2011). Hazards caused by humans can be rendered less severe with proper planning done in advance. When proper measures of mitigating the catastrophes are not planned beforehand, the community bears much of the damages necessitating the need to enlist it to the planning. The purpose of an outreach plan is to involve the community in the planning process of hazard mitigation and sharing of information. Reaching these goals lots of advantages.
Once the community gets involved in the planning process of mitigating the hazards and sharing information about them, there is a sense of preparedness created in its members. This notion is in terms of financial and psychological status. The psychological preparedness is very important since one is always in a position to think straight and act fast when the hazards hit (Cencerrado, Rodriguez, Cortes, & Margalef, 2012). Involving the community in the planning process also ensures that there is sharing of information among its members which is very important, especially, in the time when catastrophes happen. When people learn to share information, it becomes easier for them to deal with the calamities (Gwee, Shaw, & Takeuchi, 2011). This is true because people will spread the information about the hazard to others and warn them in advance. Sharing of information also brings the community closer to promoting harmony.
To achieve the goal of the outreach plan that is to involve the community in sharing information and planning for mitigation, several strategies are used. They are:
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1. Establishing the level of knowledge about the hazards the community can face and how it has dealt with such issues before.
2. Having the people express their viewss about the way forward in mitigating the hazards.
3. Having the community identify the areas which are the most prone to the hazards.
4. Educating and creating awareness in the community about the hazards
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Establishing how much the community knows about the hazard is the first step in involving its members in the planning process of mitigating the calamities (Smawfield, 2013). They should have the knowledge of what causes the hazards, their effects and how to deal with them. Then, the community is educated on everything there is to know about the catastrophes, their causes and how to properly respond to them. When they are aware of the hazards they are then in a position to propose very good and practical ideas in the planning process. Lastly, the areas prone to the calamities are identified in advance so that proper measures are put in place
In conclusion, it is of vital importance to involve the community in the planning of the mitigation of hazards and sharing information because, as seen above, its members benefit a lot. It creates preparedness in people and also promotes togetherness among them. Sharing information, in its turn, ensures that whenever an emergency happens, the community can respond to it fast.
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