Community Disaster Essay
Community Disaster Essay
Disasters are occurrences that have adverse effects on the health and wellbeing of the global populations. The adopted interventions to mitigate the effects of a disaster influence the severity of a disaster. Nurses and other healthcare providers play crucial roles in ensuring disaster preparedness and adoption of evidence-based interventions that will minimize the impact of the disaster on the population. Nurses and other healthcare providers also collaborate with other stakeholders in ensuring the adoption of effective systems and processes to address unforeseen events. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore a disaster that is likely to occur in my community, community preparedness and responses available to the disaster.
A disaster that may strike Maryland is the snow blizzard. A snow blizzard is a strong, severe snowstorm with characteristics of strong winds and reduced visibility that lasts for a sustained period. Snow blizzards can stretch to extensive distances (hundreds to thousands of miles) alongside having immense sizes. The winds in a snow blizzard have at least a gust of 56 km/hr with drifting or blowing snow that cause a significant decline in visibility (Li et al., 2021). A snow blizzard is likely to strike Maryland due to its history of experiencing this disaster. For example, a snow blizzard with a height of 29.2 inches hit Maryland in January 2016. The disaster was the biggest compared to 2010 storms that had a combined height of 44.5 inches but spread several days apart (Dance, 2016; Katula, 2016). Besides 2010, Maryland was also been hit by snow blizzards in 2003, implying its increased risk of a similar disaster in the future.
A snow blizzard is associated with several health problems. They include increasing the risk of car accidents due to decreased visibility, frostbites, hypothermia, heart attacks, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Overexertion increases the risk of heart attacks. Extreme freezing, cold, snow, ice, high winds, and snow predispose the population to hypothermia, frostbites, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
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Effective responses to snow blizzards in Maryland were adopted. First, a state of emergency was declared before the disaster. The declaration enables the mobilization of the National Guard to provide the required relief efforts and implement interventions to mitigate, recover and promote the safety of the population. Schools were also closed to ensure safety of the students (Katula, 2016). Non-emergency vehicles were also prohibited from the roads since the snow blizzards increased the risk of accidents due to reduced visibility. Baltimore and Washington also collaborated in providing disaster management teams the systems and resources they needed to respond effectively to the disaster (Dance, 2016). The media coverage of the disaster was also effective in informing the population about the disaster and its response efforts.
Besides the above interventions adopted in Maryland to respond to snow blizzards, additional strategies should be considered. The American Red Cross provides insights into the preparedness strategies that should be considered in snow blizzards disasters. They include protecting families from harsh environmental conditions by keeping house warm and wearing warm clothing, protecting homes by installing recommended heating sources and storing adequate fuel for heating purposes. The organization also recommends interventions that include keeping animals indoors and creating safe spaces for them to protect them from the disaster. Travelers should also carry with them emergency medical kits in their cars to manage any incidents should they occur (American Red Cross, n.d.). Communities should also be educated before the disaster for them to implement effective strategies to minimize disaster impacts on them.
States have a disaster plan for use in case of snow blizzard disasters. For example, Maryland has a disaster plan for snow blizzards on its website that provides information for effective response in the state. The plan provides information about the key stakeholders involved in disaster response, safety precautions, and ways in which the population should promote safety in disaster response (Maryland.gov, n.d.). Baltimore also has a disaster plan for snow blizzards. The plan provides information about preparation, response, mitigation, and recovery from the disaster (Baltimorecity.gov, 2015). Other institutions such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also have disaster plans for snow blizzards. The plan equips the population with the effective strategies they need to minimize the disaster’s impact on their livelihoods (CDC, 2022).
A comparison made between my community’s disaster plan and evidence-based practice guidelines shows it lacks some essential aspects of effective disaster response and management. First, the community’s disaster plan has minimal incorporation of modern technologies for forecasting and mitigating snow blizzards. The community could consider adopting advanced methods such as spatial information analysis techniques to aid in accurate processing of storms, floods, and snow damage risks in diverse populations. Such approaches to disaster response and management would promote the adoption of evidence-based guided strategies in disaster management (Lee et al., 2019). Despite this weakness, the disaster plan adopted in my community had strengths that include focusing on the mobilization of community resources, use of policies that align with national disaster management plans, and minimizing the severity of disaster impacts on the vulnerable populations (Sullivan & Dowds, 2018).
My community is prepared for snow blizzard disasters. The state has put in place an effective disaster response plan that focuses on inter-stakeholder collaboration in responding and minimizing the effects of the disaster on the population. The state also has effective response mechanisms such as the National Guard that can be mobilized with ease to provide the required disaster response, management, mitigation, and recovery strategies in case of snow blizzards. Maryland has experience with snow blizzards. As a result, the state has implemented robust disaster plans based on its previous encounters, making it ready for future snow blizzards. Consequently, it is anticipated that future snow blizzards will have minimal impact on the communities in Maryland.
American Red Cross. (n.d.). Winter Storm Preparedness. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm.html
Baltimorecity.gov. (2015, December 10). Preparing for Winter Weather. Office of Emergency Management. https://emergency.baltimorecity.gov/potential-hazards/winter-weather/prepare
CDC. (2022). Preparing for a Winter Storm|Winter Weather. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/preparehome.html
Dance, S. (2016). Maryland weather in 2016: Snowstorm, flooding, drought. Baltimore Sun. https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/bs-md-yir-weather-20161218-story.html
Katula, P. (2016, January 23). Blizzard in Baltimore, Jan. 22-23, 2016. Voxitatis Blog. https://news.schoolsdo.org/2016/01/blizzard-in-baltimore-jan-22-23-2016/
Lee, I., Lee, J., & Ham, S. (2019). A Study on Storm and Flood Insurance Management Mapping: Case Study of Incheon Metropolitan City. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 8(11), 485. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8110485
Li, H., Xi, W., Zhang, L., & Zang, S. (2021). Snow-Disaster Risk Zoning and Assessment in Heilongjiang Province. Sustainability, 13(24), 14010. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132414010
Maryland.gov. (n.d.). Home. Maryland.Gov Enterprise Agency Template. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://chart.maryland.gov/StormInfo/URL_TO_THIS_PAGE
Sullivan, J., & Dowds, J. (2018). Emergency Operations Methodology for Extreme Winter Storm Events. Transportation Research Center Research Reports. https://scholarworks.uvm.edu/trc/22
Select a potential natural or man-made disaster that could happen in your community. Then, write a 3- to 4-page paper about the disaster from the community nurseâ€™s perspective.
A Maryland Snow Blizzard, which is a natural disaster, could happen that is comparable to the January 22 to 26, 2016 Snow Blizzard where as much as 29.2 inches of snow was measured in Baltimore, Maryland, USA in three days.
Section 1: The Disaster, Man-Made or Natural
â€¢ What disasters may strike your community and why? For example, do you live in â€œTornado Alley,â€ or has climate change resulted in unusual cold weather snaps or blizzards in your community? Are you located in a flood plain? Include possible diseases that may result from a natural disaster, such as tetanus or cholera.
Section 2: The Nursing Response
â€¢ Formulate responses to the disaster, considering systems and community levels of intervention.
â€¢ Review websites where a disaster plan may be available for the public, or if one is not currently available, call the public health department to see if a disaster plan exists for your community and what the plan contains.
o In addition to reviewing websites for information about your local disaster plan, you will need to locate best practice/evidence-based practice guidelines in the professional literature to determine whether your communityâ€™s disaster plan is as sound as it might be or if there is room for improvement.
Section 3: Is My Community Prepared for a Disaster?
â€¢ What conclusions can you draw about your communityâ€™s preparedness plan from having completed this evaluation?