Homeland Security Policy Paper (20% of final grade – 20 points)
Students will prepare a policy paper in the assigned format (on Moodle) providing a
recommendation to the director of the assigned organization on how to improve crisis response.
The papers will be 5-7 pages, using proper in-text citations works cited using the APA Style
Guide. The paper is due Thursday, November 14th.
1. The paper should be a concise policy recommendation structured in the following format:
— TO: Specific person (e.g. Commandant, USCG)
— FROM: Specific person (e.g., Commander, USCG Station Georgetown)
— RECOMMENDATION: A short title (e.g. The USCG Station Georgetown is ill-
equipped to deal with immediate response to a large natural disaster, due to its limited resources. Additional ship and air assets are required to support search and rescue
— BACKGROUND: Historical context which led to development of a current policy or
issue (e.g. how the USCG Station Georgetown is currently equipped and what is lacking)
— DISCUSSION: current context of the policy or issue that is generating the
recommendation (e.g., why the current ships and air assets are inadequate)
— RESTATED POLICY RECOMMENDATION: The specific recommendation to include
enough detail of what needs to be done and why (e.g., The USCG Station Georgetown
needs at least two 47 ft. patrol craft and three MH-65 helicopters to perform immediate
search and rescue operations during a large scale disaster)
— IMPLEMENTATION: specific actions needed by the agency to enact the new policy
recommendation (e.g., the USCG should conduct a needs assessment of the local area and
determine the right mix or personnel and equipment needed due to the large tourist
population and potential for catastrophic damage during a natural disaster).
— WORKS CITED: a list of references used to support the development of the policy
recommendation. These should be formatted using the APA Style Guide.
2. Format of paper is that of a policy recommendation and needs to address all of the items
noted above. Papers should have a title page, name, course title, date, and subject. Do include
in-text citations. Also provide a Works Cited at the end, listing sources used in researching the
topic. The body of the policy recommendation should be 5-7 double-spaced pages of text
To: Homeland Security Advisor to the Governor, South Carolina State
From: Emergency Management Coordinator, South Carolina Government
Recommendation: The current State of Crisis response to Hurricanes in South Carolina is not perfect, public Communication strategies and Information from other State Governments should be included
South Carolina is among the most affected and vulnerable states in the United States (U.S.) that is impacted by tropical storms and hurricanes (South Carolina Emergency Management Department, 2019). Being a natural disaster, hurricanes only need preparedness and a strategic crisis response system to prevent some of its damages and effects especially to human beings and their property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has done a good job based on its current state in fighting against Hurricane Florence. Firstly FEMA has positioned “Incident Management Assistance Teams” at operation centers of state emergency in South Carolina. These teams support response and readiness activities to make sure all needs for good responses are met. FEMA also has ‘Urban Search and Rescue’ teams in the state to ensure that the searches and rescues are done in case of requests by the state.
FEMA does also have units of ‘Mobile Emergency Responses Support (MERS)’ which ensure that communication services in South Carolina are secure during the times of tragedy. Such a strategy ensures that the communication needs of the state are well catered for during the time of the tragedy. To enhance the strategy, resources of mobile communication are positioned in the state towns to ensure that the people would have good communication concerning the tragedy and other local communication. Apart from communication services, food challenges are normally encountered during such hurricanes (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2018). To counter the challenge, the Agency has a “National Food Insurance Program” (NFIP), which monitors the situation during the time of tragedy and ensures the need of people are met. This Program works in close association with the insurance commissioners situated in South Carolina. The NFIP has always been working relentlessly to ensure claim services that are customer centric care delivered This is achieved by partnering with private sectors to ensure that services easily get to all the people.
Clearly, FEMA is doing a great job in ensuring that Hurricanes are under good control in South Carolina. The only deficiency in all outlined positivity is the inclusion of relevant communication strategies to the public. Lack of best means to involve the public is basically futile since they are the ones who would be affected directly by the Hurricanes. The state government, therefore, has a responsibility of ensuring the communication strategies are adopted to enhance public awareness and consequently their response.
Crisis response for Hurricanes in South Carolina needs to be improved based on how events turned out to be, upon the occurrence of Hurricane Florence in September, 2018. In spite of the Hurricane loosing its strength and only moving at the speed of approximately two to three miles per hour, unforgettable occurrences were unfolded during the tragedy (Americares, 2019). Rivers in the state broke their banks and water overflowed through the entire community. The threats of the floods continued for so many days and the rains were dumped on the Carolinas. From the 2018 case it could be feared that the effects of Hurricanes are currently on the considering the intensity. In addition to this, response teams should be keen to note the various forms of effects that result from hurricanes and act upon them professionally. To illustrate this, the hazard caused by hurricanes should be well understood.
Firstly, it should be known that a combination of tropical storms and Hurricanes cause torrential rains which could go beyond a six inches. This would result to floods which are heavily destructive to property and could even lead to the loss of lives of individuals. On the other hand, winds originating from hurricanes are dangerous as they could destroy buildings, and homes. It should be observed that objects found outside could act as weapons of destruction of the buildings and houses. With such knowledge, response teams should take action by ensuring that dangerous items are positions which would cause no harm in case of the winds.
Additionally, the response teams should be keen to deal with the tornados that result from the interaction between hurricanes and tropical storms. With improvements aimed at each segment intensively, the response teams would have extra attention on each challenge making the response better. The current teams normally combine their efforts in dealing with all the challenges, consequently lowering the performance. Additionally, it is clear that teams from different organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, for instance Americare and FEMA both normally participate in dealing with the outcomes of the Hurricanes. Consequently, this could result in unnecessary conflict, limiting the performance, hence a poor crisis response outcome. Therefore, to ensure that the focus is always directed toward then service of the people, a joint cooperation of organizations such as FEMA and Americare coordinates in their operations to ensure that the common goal is achieved. Finally I would consider a need for improvement because of the observations established on the steps that the neighboring State, North Carolina has taken in a way to suggest superior future preparedness in dealing with then challenge (Mary, 2007).
Restated Policy Recommendation
According to National Governors Association (2019), hurricanes normally affect the general public, therefore, the best way to deal with the disaster would be ensuring that the public is prepared to tackle it. In each state that is normally affected by the Hurricanes, South Carolina being a major state in this case, governors should ensure that they communicate to the citizens on how best to prepare for the disaster. This would be the best way of improving the response towards hurricane crisis in the state. To effect the work of the governors as far as communication to citizens is concerned, all governors have three key responsibilities to take care of; identifying the most important message to pass across to the public, Learning from other states depending on the extent in steps they have taken to improve public awareness on disaster preparedness and using incentives and campaigns to raise awareness to the public.
In the case of the first strategy, the office of the governor should find essential means to educate the public on how to be ready to encounter the hurricane disaster. The effort in this case should go beyond just theoretical communication as practical illustrations should be used where possible. The information should be passed in a simple way that ensures everyone gets it easily; for this purpose, material from FEMA could be used. A good example should be emulated from the federal government on how to pass the information to the people, the message from the Federal government is shortened to ‘Prepare, Plan and stay informed’ (National Governors Association, 2019). The people in this case are advised to always be keen in ensuring their own safety in times of disaster due to possible delays that could occur before the government is involved. Awareness on essentials to ensure survival during disaster should also be made known to citizens. They include, knowledge on disaster kits and their location and also an address to special needs should be given to the government prior to the disaster.
The second responsibility would be learning from the other states about the strategies they have adopted to prepare for disaster. South Carolina could, for instance, learn from the steps North Carolina has taken since they are normally faced with the same challenge. North Caroliahas maintained a comprehensive website over the years that ensures that potential threat, recovering, rebuilding and planning. The site has videos that give citizens tactics of escaping from tragedy situations. The aftermath of disaster occurrences is also well taken care of in the program. In addition to the basics of preparedness, some states have gone to further concentrate on incentive and awareness programs to stretch citizens’ minds on disaster preparations. The government of South Carolina should as well be able to take such steps that would, by a large extent, ensure that citizens are equipped with information to survive tragedy.
The implementation of the identified, restated policy recommendation is not an easy task to do since they involve tragedy. Even with the best level of preparedness, communication during the real tragedy occurrence is usually a challenge. The State government should, therefore strengthen their communication with the public to ensure that the prior preparedness works. A good example would be using emergency communication during the time of the disaster (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2014). This communication would be used to trigger the minds of citizens to ensure that they engage in the prior obtained information to handle the situation. Other strategies such as evacuation and curfews could also be done, but they should come after the citizens are actively informed of the operations prior to their implementation.
Currently considering the level of technology in then world, it would also be very bright for governments to use platforms such as social media to ensure that information reaches the public precisely. The message could also be printed out and posted upon detection of then tragedy. With all the platform of communication considerations, it should always be ensured that the message communicated is precise and easy to understand. This would enable each citizen, regardless of their intellectual state to understand the message and act upon it (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2014). To learn from other states about the steps that they have taken to ensure that disaster management is under control, South Carolina should take a step of getting the information from the internet or alternatively focus on exchange programs. In the exchange program strategy, representatives could be sent to states like North Carolina to experience and learn the way strategies have been actively implemented. The knowledge obtained should then be made to conform to the situation at hand and applied effectively.
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