Preparedness and Response Capabilities

Preparedness and Response Capabilities

Institutions and people enabled to act early and respond to a warning through enhanced risk education

It is essential that people understand their risks, respect the national warning service and know how to react to the warning messages. Education and preparedness programmes play a key role. It is also essential that disaster management plans include evacuation strategies that are well practiced and tested. People should be well informed on options for safe behaviour to reduce risks and protect their health, know available evacuation routes and safe areas and know how best to avoid damage to and loss of property.

Key Actors

National and local disaster management agencies; scientific and technical agencies such as meteorological and hydrological organizations, health authorities, ocean observing organizations and geophysical agencies; military and civil authorities; humanitarian and relief organizations (e.g. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies); schools; universities; informal education sector; media organizations (e.g. television, radio and social media); businesses in vulnerable sectors (e.g. tourism, care facilities for older people, marine vessels); non-governmental organizations, community-based and grassroots organizations; international and United Nations agencies

The Checklist

1.     Are disaster preparedness measures, including response plans, developed and operational?

  • Disaster preparedness, including plans or standard operating procedures, developed in a participatory manner, disseminated to the community, practiced and underpinned by legislation where appropriate
  • Disaster preparedness measures, including plans and standard operating procedures, account for the needs of people with different degrees of vulnerability
  • Multi-hazard risk assessments utilized to develop and design evacuation strategies (evacuation routes, demarcation of safe areas and location of temporary shelters, use of vertical evacuation if needed)
  • Community’s ability to communicate in response to early warnings assessed
  • Contingency planning developed in a scenario-based manner following forecasts or likely scenarios across different timescales and informed by climate projections and scientific research
  • Early action and response options across time and geographical scales are linked to the provision of funding to support them
  • Strategies implemented to maintain preparedness for longer return-periods and cascading hazard events
  • Protocols incorporated in the plans or standard operating procedures to reach emergency and health services that need to be ready to respond to events promptly
  • Protocols established to activate and mobilize last-mile operators (e.g. local police, firefighters, volunteers, health services) who disseminate warnings to the public and decide public measures, including issuing orders for evacuation or sheltering in place
  • Regular exercises undertaken to test and optimize the effectiveness of early warning dissemination processes, preparedness and response to warnings

2.     Are public awareness and education campaigns conducted?

  • Ongoing public awareness and education programmes on hazards that could impact the population, vulnerabilities, exposure and how to reduce disaster impacts built into school curricula from primary through university
  • Public education provided to recognize hydrometeorological and geophysical hazard signals and disease signs and symptoms in order to contribute to community surveillance and to allow and promote robust no-regret response measures
  • People educated on how warnings will be disseminated, which sources are reliable and how to respond
  • Utilization of the most effective media (e.g. established broadcasting media, social networks, alternative media) to improve public awareness
  • Public awareness and education campaigns tailored to the specific needs of vulnerable groups (e.g. women, children, older people and people with disabilities)

3.     Is public awareness and response tested and evaluated?

  • Previous emergency and disaster events and responses analysed, and lessons learned incorporated into preparedness and response plans and into capacity-building strategies
  • Public awareness strategies and programmes evaluated regularly and updated as required

Linkages with Other Elements

Understanding the risk profile of the country provides critical information for the other multi-hazard early warning system elements, namely:

  • Risk knowledge: Feedback from lessons learned and exercises to test and optimize the effectiveness of the early warning system should be considered/incorporated when developing risk assessments.
  • Detection, monitoring, analysis and forecasting: Feedback from lessons learned and exercises to test and optimize the effectiveness of the early warning system should be considered when developing/improving warning messages and operational forecasting processes.

Warning dissemination and communication: Feedback from lessons learned and exercises to test and optimize the effectiveness of the early warning system should be considered when developing/improving communication dissemination agreements and protocols among agencies, institutions and the public.