The role of an emergency manager is to ensure that an emergency plan is implemented at the appropriate time. The plan should include appropriate contacts for different levels of emergencies. Emergency managers need to act as incident managers when a disaster strikes. The incident manager needs to deal with the three phases of emergency medical response. The first phase includes the loss or damage to medical facilities and medical personnel. The second phase is the emergency and isolation. In this stage, local medical services are used and the dead appropriately taken care of (temporary morgue and burial).
The third phase includes using the assistance of state and federal organizations. This is called the stabilization and recovery phase. The major role of the emergency manager is as coordinator of services. As a manager, he/she planned ahead how to most appropriately use available resources, educated the public about how to respond or care for themselves, and coordinated with service providers on how they would respond. Once a disaster is declared the manager becomes the coordinator of services by implementing the disaster response plan.
As an incident manager, the emergency manager needs to act a liaison between different agencies. Interagency coordination is required to manage all the assets needed to deal with large disasters. Interagency coordination takes the form of coordinating frequencies for agencies to effectively communicate with each other, coordinating flight paths for search and rescue helicopters, and coordinating law enforcement agencies responded to crime or looting as a result of a disaster. Emergency managers are often the primary contact when organizations such as FEMA and the Red Cross move in to provide humanitarian aid.
Infrastructure agencies can be of great help to emergency managers. Mail carriers are often the first to notice if there is a problem with an elderly person. Unplanned piling up of mail and newspapers on a doorstep is often good enough reason for a mail carrier to knock on a door and inquire as to the wellbeing of a resident.
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