Nowadays, the advance of technology has a great influence and affect on any business operation. Emergency management is a field, which implements the new technology in order to protect organizations during disasters and emergencies. Nobody could be protected from different emergencies for 100 percent, especially if they are unpredictable. Natural disasters, such like hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., have become easier to be predicted and, therefore, managed according to the situation, which may occur using the new technology. Technology has changed the people`s life and work. That is why technology has brought the assurance and efficiency in the development and improvement of managing natural and human-caused emergencies. At work and at their homes, people can feel themselves secure because they realize that the effective and professional management is taking care of them. Furthermore, the efficient emergency management can protect organizations from hazard risks (Jaffin, 2008). The proper emergency management can protect businesses and organizations from bankruptcy, financial risks and catastrophes. Thus, this is a tool, which is really extremely important for any organization in order to provide a smooth and stable business flow. This research paper tends to overview the influence and the effect of technology on the emergency management and the ways how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the emergency management in business operations.
What is Emergency Management?
To better understand a main idea and a purpose of this research paper, it is worth to give a definition to the “˜emergency management’. Most professionals consider it as a discipline, which deals with organizational strategies providing professional management by the personnel and business operations with an aim of protecting them from different hazard risks. Most of business leaders realize that due to the professional emergency management, their organizations can face such business challenges, as unpredictable disasters, catastrophes, financial risks and others without the fair to lose their business. The proper management along with the proper planning can lead any organization to its prosperity and success. Emergency management has been actually provided by professional employees; and technology is used to improve this process due to different tools and abilities. Emergency management serves to solve organizational problems in case of emergencies, catastrophes and disasters (Alter, 1996). Emergencies are the events that may occur in the everyday business process. Organizations are involved in different business interactions with other organizations, customers, etc. That is why it is quite normal and natural, when emergencies happen. Emergency management is supposed to be available to cope with different abnormal or unusual situations. Only an efficient and effective emergency management may help an organization to make the proper decisions how to operate in a certain situation (Bedeian, 1994).
Those organizations, which hire the highly professional management staff, have all chances to be well-established and prosperous. Managers that are able to perform their excellent professional skills, knowledge and experience are very valuable for an organization. That is why in order to have the knowledgeable emergency management staff, business leaders must provide special courses and training, which may help managers in their work. Though professional skills and experience are extremely important, nowadays it is impossible to run a business without the modern technology. The modern technology has emerged in the everyday life; and emergency management is one of such spheres that cannot stay apart from this.
Emergency management is considered to be a strategic process, which does not have the direct power in the organization, but, as a rule, it plays a significant role in all business operations. Emergency management is dependent on a number of factors, which may influence on the proper decision-making. Among these factors, technology plays an important role because due to the proper use of technology managers are able to provide a better strategy in a given emergency.
Technology Is an Efficient Tool in Emergency Management
Computer Software Programs in Emergency Management
The arrival of modern technology and the information age make the use of digital components as the few ones of the most essential tools of emergency management. Electronic databases have substituted paper filing systems that make it possible for customers to get the information needed immediately (Wood, 1996). Computer software programs are used to ease the work of any organization, as well as their emergency management staff. Within the past century, a technological process has changed all spheres of life and business. Emergency management requires some certain appropriate tools for its successful operations. It is worth mentioning that in order to provide the proper decisions and policies, emergency management is supposed to investigate different data and to compare sources and results. It is important to figure out appropriate tools to fulfill organizational goals, once emergency happens.
The sufficient technological tools of emergency management can be the following ones: the Disaster Management Support Programs, Protective Measures and Design Tools Project, Integrated Data Processing and Analysis Project, Disaster Management Support Environment Project and many others. To achieve the objectives, an emergency manager must be a highly-skilled communicator in order to convey the information to the public (Alter, 1996). To be a good communicator means to coordinate the work of employees and to promote safety. When emergencies happen, it is important to communicate with the public, to provide leadership and to make a proper decision with the aim to solve a problem. Such technological tools, like cell phones, special systems, internet, various software devices, networks, institutional mechanisms, satellite systems, aerospace systems, etc., help to manage emergencies in a global scope. Emergency programs help preventing emergencies and provide the disaster managing support in the country (Wood, 1996). The disaster management support programs are designed with the aim to give the support and services in the case of such natural disasters, as flood, forest fire, earthquake, cyclone, using the digital database. The research asserts that the proper emergency management is available due to the help of the emergency communication equipment, communication networks supported by satellite facilities. Technological tools help to manage emergencies at the early stages of their development.
Using technology in the emergency management increases the efficiency of the whole process, as well as its results. Natural and human-caused emergencies require the highly-specialized management and planning, which can be improved by using technology. The technical assistance is very important in emergency management.
The research asserts that networks are important in providing an essential basis for a better communication between individuals during emergencies (Alter, 1996). Being a part of the infrastructure, they are widely used by managers in emergency situations. The network is a necessary collection of elements, which help to provide telecommunication services being so important, when emergencies happen. They can be of different sizes and types, but all of them consist of the transmission equipment, switches, databases, operation systems and adjuncts. To connect to networks or to receive services from them is being possible through the access, which provides this operation to users. The communication networks may be damaged by disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which had been initially created to the responses of the disaster in the USA, helps in such situations by deploying the mobile communications centers. The communications provided by the FEMA can operate up to 144 shared telephone extensions or 48 circuits providing the full broadcast video, video teleconferencing, wire communication, local radio and the high frequency long distance radio. The unit also provides various support services, such as heating and air conditioning units, the tractor-trailer support, a variety of generators and water purification units.
It is worth to identify the main functions and benefits of networking as listed below (Coile, 1997):
- It installs the communication among staff coordinating the work of employees during emergencies;
- Networking gives an access to the information allowing to increase the productivity;
- Networking gives an access to the long-distance emergency management staff and connects the geographically distributed users;
- It provides the communication with the public in order to keep a situation under control and to prevent panic;
- Networking helps to monitor the database and provides the information to the public.
Using the digital transmission technology, emergency managers are prone to control software, to provide the communication among users and provide any information and support. The so-called “˜fiber-optics’ technology, which is one of the recent developments in communication, allows to get more connections due to its efficient values and opportunities (Coile, 1997). Another sufficient tool, which had been recently developed in technology, is fast digital switchers. These are the large-scale integrated circuit chips, which are specially designed for emergency situations for transmitting a large number of information. According to the research, various communication systems may be used in emergency management (Alter, 1996). They include teleconferencing, fax and electronic mail being essential in emergency management providing privacy and confidentiality. Though, on the other hand, there could be the danger of electronic junk mail, misinterpretation and overload of information. The increasing efficiency means overcoming all possible hardships and drawbacks in the process of emergency management.
Integrated Services as a Source of Successful Emergency Management
Emergency managers are constantly searching for the new approaches and methods in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. There are still some technological devices that are not considered new, but they are well-established and checked in practice by many users. One of the most productive devices is the communication systems, which include the telephone system, digital transmission services, satellite communication, microwave radio services and developing systems (Jaffin, 2008).
The telephone system is considered to be a traditional digital service, which has been in operation for many years and has won the reputation as the most reliable and established way of connection. Most users prefer cell phones in case of emergencies. Though, there could be the situations, when telephone connection may be limited or not available. This can occur during earthquakes and other natural disasters.
According to the research, the telephone system is supposed to be the most rapid and immediate service, which may be used in help for emergency management and employees. New digital switching machines, like the light wave systems and microwave systems with a simultaneous transmission of data, voice and video can handle all the necessities of emergency management. Digital transmission services are used to convert digital signals during the transmission into analog waves. Microwave radio services are utilized for the long distance telephone network, which has been widely used in the USA and Canada for a long time. These services are less used today, though due to the modern technology they are substituted by optical fiber systems. Such satellite communications, as the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) entail a round trip transmission at the speed of light. They are operating at an altitude of 36,000 km above the Equator.
Types of Emergency Management
Technology is the main factor, which can identify the difference between all business and casual operations in our modern era. It is practically impossible to find just one sphere of life, which does not deal with the modern technology. Emergency management is not an exception. The use of internet and different kinds of software programs and devices helps emergency managers to operate more effectively and sufficiently, when emergencies happen. Emergency management handles the technological disasters, natural disasters, terrorism, wars, mitigation, recovery activities and hostage situations (Alter, 1996). To handle these problems, emergency managers have to be well prepared professionally. In order to get the advantages from their work, it is essential for them to have the good knowledge in the emergency planning, crisis intervention as well as to be aware of the modern technology, which is related to the field. Along with the basic knowledge in the field, the current technology gives an advantage to professionals to improve the efficiency of their work.
In order to implementing technology using various devices mentioned above, emergency management professionals are specializing in different fields, such as:
- Emergency Management — this is a field of emergency, which deals with the disaster risk mitigation, response, preparedness and recovery. It is essential to be aware of the management complex organization, planning preparations, emergency-decision-making, humanitarian interventions, risk assessment and recovery challenges.
- Terrorism Emergency Managementrequires dealing with the situations in case of terroristic behavior or attacks, their consequences and recovery. After 11 September terrorist attacks in the USA, Terrorism Emergency Management has become extremely important because many people are threatened by terrorism and its horrible consequences.
- Crisis Intervention – this is a kind of emergency management, which needs professional management in such dangerous social events like economic crisis, fraud, financial break downs, etc.
- Disaster Response is a field of emergency management, which requires managing the various types of disasters dealing with searching and rescuing, urgent healthcare of victims and their recovery.
The research asserts that all types of emergency management would not be efficient without technology. It is used in the emergency planning, mitigation efforts, recovery, response, etc. Technology serves to maintain a better operation and problem solution at all levels and divisions of emergency management (Coile, 1997). It is worth mentioning that technology is a backbone of the effective emergency management planning during various disasters, interventions, mitigation efforts, response and recovery. Technological skills are required to operate with special computer programs, technological systems and devices. To enhance the emergency management process, organizational leaders must provide the special training to their management staff with the aim to help them in operating different technological devices and programs (Bedeian, 1994).
Important Knowledge, Abilities and Skills
In order to succeed in emergency management, one should be well aware of the fact that the results of the emergency management work depends on his/her professional knowledge, abilities and skills. According to the research, it is important to be aware of the current practices in emergency management, to be computer literate, to have the deep knowledge in main principles and trends in the emergency safety and preparedness, in the state emergency programs and policies, in basic security protocols and emergency management operations. Emergency managers are supposed to work without a direct supervision, thus, they are prone to make decisions immediately due to different emergency situations (Wood, 1996). A good emergency manager is considered to be a person who can work on his or her own initiative, be an effective leader with good communicative skills and the one who stays on the cutting edge of technology. It is essential for the emergency manager to be a strong leader in order to organize staff and maintain the productive work while supporting the people. Each industry requires the special training and abilities, thus, the various training and professional courses are needed.
One of the main objectives in the work of the emergency manager is to make a task easier to perform. This is possible to achieve using technology along with professional and personal skills, abilities and knowledge. Though technology and inventions have a lot of advantages, one should keep in mind that there could be some disadvantages in case if the manager is not well equipped or has the lack of knowledge. Technology makes tasks better, easier and quicker, but, on the other hand, technology makes people lazier; so it is not permitted to be lazy for the emergency manager. Besides, there is always a risk to lose the information, which is stored in computers. One should consider all advantages and disadvantages of technology in the effective emergency management.
Emergency management is a strategic process, thus, managers are required to provide some coordinating or advisory functions in the organization. According to Jaffin (2008), emergency management resides at the executive level, and it usually relies on the integration of emergency plans. It is, therefore, obvious that being a hierarchical structure, emergency managers at a lower level are responsible for managing the emergency, while the upper level managers give additional resources and assistance. As a rule, the upper level managers are more experienced and knowledgeable employees who have overcome all levels.
The emergency management training is provided by private, local and government organizations in various disciplines, which are essential in an emergency management cycle. Specialized courses and trainings range from media relations and public information to higher levels dimensions, such as controlling the emergency processes. There are about 180 institutional affiliations in the United States, which provide training and give undergraduate and graduate degrees to emergency managers. There is only one doctoral program among them (Jaffin, 2008).
The emergence of technology in the modern life has influenced on all types of businesses and industries. It is also an important tool in emergency management. Natural and human-caused emergencies require the immediate reaction and operations in order to prevent or recover the situation. Technology serves to minimize risks and to help people in various disasters and risky situations. Thus, it is rather important for a good emergency manager to be well-aware of various types of technological devices and services in order to provide his or her working professionally and quickly. Emergency situations happen unpredictably, and it is very important to have the quick and proper reaction on everything what is going on. Only highly professional managers with good skills, abilities and knowledge can handle the emergency on time with the minimal risk to the people`s life, health and wellbeing. There is no doubt that technology serves to help people in various ways, which have been highlighted in this research paper.