Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Disaster Preparedness and Response


Disasters have been a major concern in human lives. In response, people have attempted to minimize their exposure to the outcomes of these tragedies, devising measures of addressing the initial impact and post disaster recovery procedures. Irrespective of the method used, all of the struggles are geared towards the same goal: managing disaster. The notions guiding disaster management, which includes reducing harm to human life and environment, are normally the same globally.  Nevertheless, the capacity of carrying out this mission varies due to administrative, social and economic reasons. Vulnerability is significant when looking into disasters within the broader arrays of society since natural hazardous occurrences usually causes disaster in case of a tragic impact on society (McEntire, 2014).

Nature of Hazards, Disasters and vulnerabilities to society

Disaster can be defined as a severe interference of the functioning of a society that involves extensive human, property, fiscal or environmental damages which surpasses the capability of the affected individuals to manage using the available resources. Contrary to a hazard, which had the capability of bringing about losses and distractions, a disaster is described by the loss that occurs and the impact on individuals, which is dependent on the level of vulnerability. There can never be a disaster if there are hazards but no vulnerability. Thus, natural disastrous occurrences are normally viewed as an interaction of both the natural forces and individuals’ actions (McEntire, 2014). All kinds of hazards can generate consequent disasters subject to their locality and extent. For instance, seismic activity can prompt tsunamis, which as a result can interfere with livelihoods within the affected regions. This can result in massive social as well as fiscal losses and destroy settlements, which can further result in negative impacts on psychosocial health. Therefore, in most cases disasters are not single, distinct occurrence, but numerous conjointly acts and at times instantaneous blows to individuals, settlements and livelihoods (McEntire, 2014).

 In underdeveloped counties with high poverty rates and poor disaster deterrence and mitigation plans, these recurrent shocks generate hazardous situations which overwhelm whatsoever efforts put in place for the purpose of improving safety conditions. Disaster is known to push many affected individuals into poverty while the already underprivileged are pushed deeper into hardship. By vulnerability, it implies that, the nature of individuals and their situation greatly influences their capacity of coping with, resisting and recovering from the consequences of natural hazards. Therefore, vulnerability approach to calamity would suggest that disparities in exposure to resources can disadvantage certain individuals making them more vulnerable to the effect of natural disasters (McEntire, 2014).

Emergency Preparedness, Response and Disaster Management

Disaster risk management mainly entails the systematic development and application of guidelines and practices of minimizing vulnerabilities and hazards. This is to help avoid and minimize the adverse effects of hazards on people. Sustainable development, poverty mitigation, proper governance and hazard reduction are jointly supportive objectives. In order to overcome the challenges in implementing national development program, immediate efforts should be made in improving the necessary skills at local and national levels for management and risk reduction (McEntire, 2014).

The key factor of disaster preparedness is ensuring that in episodes of disaster, proper governmental, judicial and technical actions are initiated. These processes and resources are significant in helping the disaster victims and enabling them cope. The main objective of disaster preparedness is to decrease the adverse outcome of a hazard by ensuring proper preventative measures through well-timed, suitable and proper organization as well as availability of disaster aid services (McEntire, 2014). While there available funds for affected persons, a greater percentage of the funding is normally meant for revamping and reconstructing community amenities and infrastructure. Supplemental seizures are also normally utilized in funding greater investments in hazard reduction. A program in FEMA that takes care of this; however, its funds are inadequate. While organizations like FEMA offer some subsidy immediately after a disastrous occurrence to help in response and short-term repossession, most of the funds are  meant for long-term reconstruction (FEMA, 2011).

Challenges and overcoming the typical challenges

Challenges that faces individuals who work at the strategic level differ in content and context from the challenges that face individuals that work at planned and operative levels. Management of out of scale emergency occurrences presents increased extents of intricacy and ambiguity for strategic emergency management groups. Disasters are largely becoming politicized; as a result, this can unite the individuals with mutual complaints in questioning government about improper recovery procedures or missing mitigating action before a disastrous occurrence. The recovery time can prompt numerous political tension. For instance, re-zoning plans in an area hit by a disaster may infuriate property owners. The value of their properties may reduce and they might be unable to rebuild their property to pre-hazardous conditions. With increasing responsiveness of probable cost of disastrous occurrences, there is an increased pressure for leaders to take the lead during emergencies (McEntire, 2014).

Risk assessments, training personnel and facilitation of resources can greatly help managers in handling the particular hazardous occurrence to which their areas are prone to hazardous occurrences. Advancement in technology can help in mitigation, though in some cases it is not satisfactory. Technological tools are offering disaster managers an increasing capability of foreseeing the effects of natural hazardous occurrences and in some cases in foreseeing the calamity itself. This improved knowledge can increasingly improve how a community moderates calamity during peaceful periods and patch the repossession efforts after the occurrence of a disaster (McEntire, 2014). Science and technology can be very useful in all aspects of calamity management, which includes modeling to help in developing mitigation and preparedness guidelines. For instance, flood models can be established by the use of elevation data to assist in predicting storm and interior flooding situations.


Disaster, which is a compound of a hazard on one side and on the other side social, economic, cultural and political factors result in vulnerability. The two should to be examined in relation to each other. The main causes of vulnerability are mainly embedded in factors determining accessibility of opportunities, authority and control over resources. On numerous levels, emergency managers should take the lead in disaster planning. They should be able to predict the vulnerabilities, the calamity likely to strike and the likely decisions that can help decrease the impact of a calamity within a community. Disaster management entails measures seeking to mitigate the outcomes of calamities and make sure that individuals are prepared for disasters in case they happen. Advancement in technology has also contributed much in disaster management in numerous ways.


FEMA, A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action. FDOC 104-008-1 2011, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

McEntire, D. A. (2014). Disaster response and recovery: Strategies and tactics for resilience. John Wiley & Sons.