This memo presents the steps that would be taken to conduct a post –mortem by discussing the success factors in the management of large, multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional response program, how to measure success in response and how drills and tests that evaluate the key success factors for response can be designed using situation assessment as a starting point. The emergency situation is assessed by the organizations that are involved in emergency response or the response teams for the purposes of choosing objectives before the implementation of response activities. This prevents the response teams from offering unnecessary assistance. There are three stages of an emergency response including situation assessment, selection of objectives and identification of intervention alternatives, and implementation of response depending on the chosen objectives and alternatives. A process of doing post mortem after an incident should be built to retrospect on things that could have gone wrong to work out how to prevent their future occurrences. To have an effective response for an incident, there is a need to have a proper methodology for planning that is founded on the assessment of the situation of the disaster. Therefore, there should be a feedback on the management process of the strategic emergency that organizations deploy to guarantee the protection of important organizational assets from any possible hazards (Jensen, 2011). The importance of conducting situational assessment is to get the required information necessary in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the strategies for emergency response that an organization deploys. Assessment of the disaster situation is done in a bid to plan for the response and get the required feedback, and it entails the determination of the needs and precedence of the strategies for responding to the emergency with an aim of mitigating the possible adversities and minimize risks. Management of the situation is a very important activity that is used in the process of sound decision making, arranging and controlling the measures of disaster response (Paton & Moore, 2006). Assessment of the disaster situation should encompass all identifiable stages of disaster to guarantee the effectiveness of planning and improvement strategies.
The main success factors in the management of large, multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional response programs
The most important success factors in programs for emergency response are useful in ensuring that the operations for emergency response meet the set goals of mitigating the incident, response and improvement. Incident response mainly aims at facilitating a fast and effective recovery from an incident, and reduces the effects of the threat as well as any functionality disruption of the organization. There should be a systematic plan in line with the set physical security standard procedures to minimize the probability of reoccurring in future (Rodriguez, 2007).
One of the most important success factor is the communication between inter-agency abut a complete agenda. This communication will lead to effective anti-agency collaboration to ensure disaster response. The communication should be flexible to guarantee a supple, dynamic and consistent framework that lead to collaboration between all sectors to ensure efficient management of domestic disaster regardless of the location, cause and extent. Public communication can be enhanced by the Joint Information System that offers information about the disaster accurately and promptly (FEMA, 2006). Through collaboration of inter-agencies, the communicators of the incident involve in frequent meetings to develop, coordinate and deliver incident messages that are unified. Therefore, effective communication during disaster response prevents delivery of messages that conflict through different government and private agencies during disaster. Other than offering coordinated efforts from various agencies, interagency communication also facilitates a framework for joint decision making, which depends on the already set goals and objectives during situation assessment phase. The decisions made also are based on the proposed strategies and planning, and priorities during an emergency (Rodriguez, 2007). Communication, therefore, enhances effective disaster preparedness by guaranteeing that the different agencies are ready to respond to the disaster. According to the definition that might be found through – academic writing company, Coordination between the many agencies is a significant strategy that ensures the success of incident response and its recovery especially in conditions that require increased manpower and equipment in such operations to curb the emergency.
Another main success factor in the management of large, multi-jurisdictional agency response programs involves effective incident reporting procedures put in place to respond to the disaster. Appropriate incident reporting procedures improves the effectiveness of response programs towards a security threat or any other emergency. The procedures for reporting are based on the basic elements of communication to ensure it gets to the largest audience as intended. Making sure that the reporting of incident is fast enough reduces the possibility of loss that might be ensued from the disaster. Effective channels for reporting the incident should contain reduced constraints, and should conform with the policies and procedures for evacuation that are set up in situations where parameters for physical security have been entirely overwhelmed. Responding to an incident involves incident communication, containment of any imposed damage and reduction of the possible risks through critical assets protection against possible attacks in the company (Jensen, 2011).
A third critical success factor required in response programs is the management of resources, which entails identifying resources that all agencies involved in the response can access. It ensures that resources are categorized, ordered, dispatched, tracked and recovered, which offers their prompt access as well as unimpeded reach to permit preparation, response and improvement of the incident. In addition, management of resources incorporates aid agreements between agencies using different response teams. Through resource management, the response teams achieve effectiveness in their operations as it allows interaction among and between the agencies responsible for responding to the incident (FEMA, 2006).
Another key success factor in programs for incident response is public communication, which ensures the success of response and recovery. Safety problems should be given a lot of consideration without necessarily underestimating the importance of the capability of media relations as it enhances the effectiveness of operations related to security. At the beginning of response and recovery activities, establishment of communication channels by the response team is essential to ensure that victims of the disaster get the information promptly (Jensen, 2011). Both low tech and low cost channels for communication should be deployed as they are accessed easily by the victims, and include Public Address System and community radio (Jensen, 2011).
How to Measure Success in Response
There are many variables that can be deployed to measure how successful an incident program is. An incident program is successful when it attains its goals and objectives of reducing the possible harms related to disaster on the lives of people and belongings by strengthening security (FEMA, 2006).
First, it is important to evaluate the degree to which the disaster caused loss of life and injuries as well as the damage of property in the period of response initiatives. Identification of priorities of the people that the disaster affected as well as the complete extent of damage is very important in the evaluation of risk of an area towards a disaster. This is useful in the determination of the effectiveness of the approaches of disaster mitigation. Incident responses that are effective minimize the effects of the disaster to the possible maximum degree by guaranteeing safety from all hazards imposed by the disaster (FEMA, 2006).
Second, evaluating the extent of collaboration among and between different responses teams measures the success of an incident because effective operations during an emergency are based on collaborative efforts between the public and the responders. Effective coordination of local, state and federal responders at the response scene is very significant in guaranteeing successful response to main incidents. Local responders should understand the concept of an Incident Command System (ICS) for them to implement the management system as the first people that arrive in scene. This understanding is also very important for the state and federal organizations that join the ICS later. Every entity must play its part to make sure that the operations for emergency management are successful in bringing negligible damage to the human lives and property through high standards protection. Effective information management activities should be implemented together with systems and procedures that address the various operations for incident management across different agencies (Jensen, 2011). The implication of a successful incident response is that the responders have a common picture of the operation of the incident. Therefore, interagency collaboration should be seriously considered as it ensures the success of response and is dependent on effective communication between and among agencies, which enable exchange of ideas and resources. Interagency communication should be done promptly and regularly to update the external teams about the situation, which is a requirement that make responses successful (Jensen, 2011). To have effective management of resources, organizations should rely on communication and collaboration of the agencies, which in turn guarantee the management of the disaster through proper planning.
Another way to measure the success of the response in a situation of a disaster is the determination of the time of normalcy disturbance. If an incident response has to be successful, it must ensure that disruption of the working of the important facilities during the incident is minimal, which is based on the effective allocation and management of resources. Important facilities in an organization need deployment of increased resources in comparison to less critical facilities, which means that for an incident response to be successful, it must account the priorities of the plan to ensure restoration of normalcy in the shortest time possible. In addition, this makes sure that the strategies for recovery during the incident are effective (Jensen, 2011).
How to design drills and tests that specifically evaluate the key success factors for response
To evaluate the key success factors during a response, it is important to employ drills and tests, which must be tailored according to the objectives and goals of the response program (Jensen, 2011). The evaluation of interagency communication when responding to an incident entails the examination of the responsibilities of different teams that are involved in the response. When evaluation is done to the success of the interagency communication and collaboration, it is important to take into account the contribution of resources and personnel involvement. In addition, the communication platform should be evaluated to determine whether the agencies employed a single platform and common standard operating procedures. This gives information on whether each agency used independent communication during the response. When responders use a universal framework, they share a common focus that facilitates the reputation on the management of the incident (Jensen, 2011). The readiness and preparedness during a disaster response are very involving since the response teams and the government authorities make use of a universal language and common procedures, which is laid by the element of standardization. The evaluation of the effectiveness of communication and collaboration among and between interagency is based on the flexibility that rely of the development of a chain of command that various agencies, government and private, can adopt in the management of the incident if implemented appropriately (Paton & Moore, 2006).
Assessment of whether the response procedures and policies are founded on the appropriate forms of communication and if they conform to other policies and procedures for evacuation enables proper evaluation of the effectiveness of an incident response. Additionally, reporting of the incident should be done promptly and emphasize on accuracy of the procedures used as well as the conveyed information in the period of the incident. The number of the audience that is targeted serves as the basis on which the evaluation of this critical success factor is conducted. The communication channels that were utilized in the incident response should also be assessed to determine whether they were effective in conveying the message to the target audience (Rodriguez, 2007). Lastly, to test the effectiveness of public communication, it is important to assess the response of the public itself during the disaster as well as the correctness of the conveyed message. In addition, it requires the assessment of the establishment of how effective media relations are during the disaster and guaranteeing that the procedures for reporting of the incident are updated and accurate (Jensen, 2011).
This memorandum has discussed the critical success factors in the management of large, multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional response programs, how to measure success in response and how to design drills and tests employed in the evaluation of the success factors for response. The memo has established that inter-agency communication on a common agenda, reporting procedures for the incident, management of resources and public communication are the key success factors for response programs. Measurement of success in response is done using variables that include the analysis of the degree to which disaster impacted the lives by causing both fatal and non fatal injuries in the response initiative, the level of collaboration between and among different response agencies and the duration normalcy disruption during the incident. To evaluate interagency communication when responding to an incident, the response teams should analyze the responsibilities of each agency involved with the response. The effectiveness of the incident response policies and procedures should be evaluated through the assessment of whether they are founded on effective communication channels and whether they conform to the policies and procedures for evacuation. Lastly, the effectiveness of the public communication is tested through the assessment of responses made by the public during the disaster. In addition, the test should include evaluation of the accuracy of the conveyed information to the public during the disaster.