Disaster is a rude disruption of the normal operation of a community, causing extensive material, human or environmental losses which exceed the aptitude of the pretentious society to use the available resources. Community disaster plan covers the body of strategies and operational activities and administrative decisions, which pertains to the numerous stages of disasters at entire levels. The planning measures encompass pre-disaster functions corresponding to the level of alertness or upgrade operational abilities for emergency response. The measures taken before a disaster occurs, to predict it, to caution about it, or to take protections when it loom and place the most appropriate response such as organizing, stockpiling food provisions and evacuation are measures of planning and preparedness. This paper seeks to determine the disasters, their effects and how communities are prepared for them in advance.
Okwiri, (2012) noted that in every society there exists a probability of disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, lightening and many more. When such disasters strike a community, there are impacts associated with it which can be either positive or negative. The negative impacts include the loss of lives, properties destruction, environmental degradation, poverty and other minor complications such as diseases. The positive impacts are job creation, getting a chance to upgrade the community status and devising plans to prevent subsequent disasters (Kamau, 2012).
Disasters can be categorized depending on their speed of occurrence. They are categorized into either rapid onset disasters or slow onset disasters. Disasters can be predicted through the observing the characteristics of the nature and hazards. The main objectives of the community disaster planning are to lower or eliminate potential fatalities from hazards if possible, guarantee prompt rejoinder and appropriate support to victims when essential and to attain rapid recovery.
Kamau, (2012) highlighted that developed countries and some developing countries have a number of community disaster planning services operating with the purpose of dealing with disasters that occur. Many of these services are operated by government and paid from tax revenue as public services. In some countries, there are private companies which respond to emergency in return to payments. Some voluntary organizations provide assistance from funds raised from donations. Three core community disasters planning services include police, fire services and emergency medical services.
There are measures that can be taken to prevent or minimize injuries, death, or destruction. They can be classified as either engineering and construction strategies or non-engineering strategies which include physical planning measures, economic measures, management and institutional measures and societal measures (Okwiri, 2012). Government and non-government organizations are responsible for community disaster planning. Government can use its administrative organs to ensure appropriate plans and measures are taken to reduce or even eliminate impacts of a hazard.
The government and non-government organizations responsible for warning about the disasters have numerous ways of disseminating information and directives in instances of a disaster. Media are one of the main means of disseminating information in the community. Media are effective and efficient since they take a little time to pass the message to many people simultaneously. Community meetings are as well good in passing fundamental educations to societies in the event of a disaster. Other measures are also put in place for evacuating people. They may include securing meeting points where the train or evacuation vehicle will pass by picking them up. People must be made aware of these services. Visiting the community meetings they can be educated on how to avoid disasters or how to use some of the measures to reduce the effect of disasters such as erecting lightening arrestors in the buildings, setting rules and regulations on building codes and how to use fire extinguishers (Okwiri, 2012).
There are social and cultural factors, which need to be considered in disaster planning in the community. Such factors include religious beliefs of the community, social norms, security and morality of the community. It is important to consider these factors in order to achieve a comprehensive community disaster planning. There are vulnerable populations with special needs such as homeless, prisoners, mobility impaired, youths, women and children. During the emergency planning their special needs should be considered. This is because, for instance, in the case of physical impairment special means of transportation, medication and security should be used. Women as well are vulnerable since they are discriminated and violated during times of disasters (Kamau, (2012).
In times of a disaster, the community disaster plan helps to rescue lives. Community is motivated to use the available resources to fight the giant. The vulnerable groups are evacuated, injured are taken to the medical facilities and security is tightened in the whole community. Government and non-governmental organizations that are responsible for emergency response are motivated to react. Both the emergency medical dispatch and the advanced medical priority dispatch systems are mobilized to take part as a community emergency response (Okwiri, 2012).
In conclusion, disasters are natural occurrences, and it is not possible to avoid them. They are part and parcel of the communities. Therefore, we cannot avoid them and instead we should develop ways of reducing or eliminating their effects. Such means include setting up effective and operational community disaster planning. Therefore, community planning should take measures most appropriate before disaster strikes, usually to predict or caution against them, take defenses when disaster threatens and suggest the most appropriate retort such as evacuation, and organizing stockpiling food provisions.