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«Being Ready A Guide to the Emergency Preparedness Planning Process CARE Version 2 April 2005 A Guide to the Emergency Preparedness Planning Process ...»

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Being Ready

A Guide to the Emergency

Preparedness Planning Process


Version 2

April 2005

A Guide to the Emergency Preparedness Planning Process

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Why Plan for Emergency Preparedness – the Case for Planning

One: Planning for Emergencies Furthers CARE’s Mission to End Poverty

Two: Emergency Preparedness Planning Build CARE’s Credibility

Three: Established Plans Justify Actions

The Meaning and Measurement of Preparedness

Measuring Preparedness

The Process: How to Plan

Seven Steps to Successful Emergency Preparedness

Step 1: Gather Information

Step 2: Identify Risks

Step 3: Analyze Risks and Develop Scenarios

Step 4: Review Functional Operations and Management Procedures

Step 5: Gap Analysis

Step 6: Document and Distribute the Plan

Step 7: Monitor, Review for Impact and Update Plan

Integrating the Emergency Preparedness Planning Process

CARE Institutional Rationale

Community-Based Preparedness

Local Preparedness Partnerships

Tools and Resources

Assessment and EPP Impacts

The Written Plan: Outline of Key Components

Appendices A: Scenario Matrix, Operations Management Procedure Checklist, Gap Analysis B: Operations and Management Considerations C: Country Office Emergency Preparedness Capacity Inventory D: Emergency Preparedness Plan – Response Template Glossary

–  –  –

Being prepared for emergencies will help CARE International achieve its mission of ending poverty. Responding to disasters, mitigating risks and helping vulnerable communities become more prepared and more resilient to the effects of disasters are vital components of CARE’s humanitarian efforts. None of these objectives can be achieved without thorough, ongoing emergency preparedness planning at the Country Office level.

As such, emergency preparedness planning is a key strategic and operational imperative for every CARE Country Office.

This guide presents a practical, operationally useful process and framework for Country Office emergency preparedness planning. The recommendations found throughout this guide are based on detailed analysis of past emergency experiences, direct research with Country Offices and discussions with key field personnel. Through this new approach to

emergency preparedness planning, CARE aims to achieve the following objectives:

• To promote the understanding of the effects of disasters on the underlying causes of poverty and the importance of emergency preparedness planning to CARE’s overall vision, mission and objectives.

• To provide a practical roadmap of the emergency preparedness planning process and direction on developing an operationally useful emergency preparedness plan.

• To provide guidance on incorporating emergency preparedness as a standard component of CARE’s operational and strategic processes and ongoing programming.

Emergency preparedness planning is a complex, long-term undertaking. There are many steps in the process and great investment to be made on the part of Country Office staff.

As such, CARE recommends an iterative, or tiered, approach to emergency preparedness planning where Country Offices take incremental steps and investments toward being completely prepared. CARE has developed multiple Tiers of preparedness that are focused on the following: (Tier 1) internal analysis, scenario building and action planning; (Tier 2) response plans, partner development and shadow structures; (Tier 3) community capacity building, knowledge management and local government coordination; and (Tier 4) early warning systems, national government disaster planning and regional planning.

This document offers a practical, overarching guide to the emergency preparedness planning process. It focuses on the process of planning: if the process is right, an effective emergency preparedness plan will naturally follow. Training workshops and more detailed documentation will guide Country Offices through the four tiers of preparedness planning. Together, this overview and the workshops will provide Country Offices with the knowledge and tools needed to become prepared for emergencies.

The end result of this initiative must be effective mitigation, preparedness and response that saves lives and diminishes further suffering. And, to reduce the effects of disasters, CARE must address the underlying risks that exacerbate them. This guide serves as a starting point for achieving those goals.

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Why Plan for Emergency Preparedness – the Case for Planning CARE has invested considerable effort to develop programming approaches that integrate risk management into long-term programs that have the objective of addressing underlying causes of poverty and vulnerability. This means not only attacking causes of vulnerability, but also incorporating readiness to deal with the effects of acute vulnerability—in terms of protection from and mitigation of shocks, as well as response to the humanitarian emergencies they trigger.

CARE firmly believes emergency preparedness planning is a critical component for all development programming and is a necessary ingredient not only for effective emergency response but also for effective risk mitigation and reduction of community vulnerabilities before an event occurs. Based on its extensive experience in humanitarian relief throughout the world, CARE has identified three critical drivers of the need for emergency


One: Planning for Emergencies Furthers CARE’s Mission to End Poverty Responding to emergencies and disasters is central to CARE’s vision, mission and objectives as is addressing the underlying causes of poverty. The relationship between the effects of emergencies and poverty is direct and intimately tied. Repeated exposure of vulnerable populations to disasters is a major cause of poverty, and chronic poverty makes populations all the more vulnerable. Addressing both acute symptoms of poverty—like emergencies—and chronic underlying causes are integral to CARE’s mission. And, good preparation is necessary to do both well.

One of the most significant efforts CARE can make towards its vision is to reduce the consequences of emergencies before and when they happen. Helping people survive and recover from disasters, reducing community and household vulnerability and mitigating harmful effects of future shocks are key goals. These objectives can only be achieved through detailed emergency preparedness planning.

Two: Emergency Preparedness Planning Builds CARE’s Credibility In the 1990s, several global conferences triggered new ideas and new commitments to addressing disasters as an underlying cause of poverty. More and more, CARE will be held accountable for what it does to diminish the effects of disasters and how the organization coordinates with communities and local governments in these endeavors.

This means that CARE needs to demonstrate to its stakeholders how it has reduced emergency consequences not only during a response but also beforehand through mitigation and preparedness. Effective planning in these areas enhances CARE’s credibility in the international community—it allows CARE to respond confidently to questions raised and puts the organization in the driver’s seat when communicating to its stakeholders when and how it plans to respond to crises. In addition, evidence of detailed preparedness planning gives CARE the credibility it needs to quickly raise funds to help support emergency response in the event of a disaster.

Three: Established Plans Justify Actions Planning shows forethought. A plan can protect Country Directors and senior staff from scrutiny and skepticism during an emergency—and to some extent, protect CARE International from external scrutiny. The plan can act as a Country Office policy statement, establishing triggers and parameters for CARE’s engagement. In the event that a Country Office elects not to respond or to respond in a more limited or robust manner than expected, the Country Director can speak convincingly to how the plan determined the scope and scale of actions.

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How do we know we are prepared? What does it mean to be prepared and how should preparedness be measured? Preparedness is much more than having a documented plan. To put it simply, preparedness is a state of mind and a level of readiness. Being prepared means being ready—ready to save lives, ready to save livelihoods, ready to minimize suffering, ready to prevent destitution, and at times, ready not to respond.

For CARE, preparedness encompasses all aspects of disaster management—from addressing underlying causes to responding in times of emergencies. First and foremost, preparedness must focus on mitigation—taking pre-emptive measures to help communities avoid emergencies and become better equipped so that disaster consequences are lessened. But because some risks cannot be completely mitigated, Country Offices should always remain in a state of readiness to respond to crises. Good Country Office preparedness includes the right mitigation and response processes that

are integrated into all development. Ultimately, a well-prepared office should be:

• Able to identify high-risk situations and design programmatic interventions to reduce the effects should the situation unfold.

• Able to strengthen community capacities to articulate efforts at reducing the effects of identified risk situations and be better prepared to respond.

• Confident enough to “raise the alarm” in the event of an emergency (to CARE and the international community) and to provide best estimates of the situation.

• Able to categorize any emergency, factoring in scale, speed of onset and typology of causal factors.

• Able to realistically recognize its own capacity and limitations to respond.

Measuring Preparedness

Measuring preparedness starts with evaluating the quality of mitigation efforts and how well Country Offices have integrated preparedness planning into ongoing development programming. If risk mitigation is successful, communities should be more resilient to disasters and more equipped to manage the consequences of an emergency with limited assistance from CARE. If efforts at improving community-based preparedness are effective, a limited response to a disaster from CARE would be evidence of competence rather than deficiency.

Secondly, if an emergency response from CARE is warranted, the measure of CARE’s preparedness is the quality of response—not the possession of a plan or the process used to develop it. The ultimate measure of the quality of its response is impact, which comes from competent performance. Not necessarily the timing or scale of the response.

But, did CARE save lives, improve livelihoods, minimize suffering and prevent destruction.

Criteria defining minimum levels of preparedness are being developed and long-term expectations of preparedness are still under discussion, including the higher-level impacts CARE’s emergency preparedness planning must aim for. The overarching end result must be effective mitigation and response that saves lives and diminishes further suffering. And, to reduce the effects of disasters, CARE must address the underlying risks that exacerbate them.

–  –  –

For emergency preparedness planning to have the best chance of organizational success, it is imperative that Country Offices get the process right. The process must be kept simple and focused. Too many steps will reduce the effectiveness of even the best manager and facilitator.

The process of emergency preparedness planning is more important than the plan. A participatory, thoughtful, focused and regular planning process airs issues and concerns, clarifies roles, responsibilities and procedures, hones analytical skills, builds confidence, strengthens teams, and can inform ongoing programming.

Based on careful and detailed analysis, direct research with Country Offices and discussions with key field staff, CARE has developed a set of practical guidelines for conducting emergency preparedness planning. This guide provides an overview of the planning process, including a set of steps Country Offices can take to improve their level of preparedness. Through formal training workshops, CARE will provide more detailed information and instruction on the planning process—including a tiered, or iterative, approach to emergency preparedness—as well as instruction on developing the actual plan document.

Seven Steps to Successful Emergency Preparedness

CARE recommends a planning process that incorporates the following seven steps:

–  –  –

Information is required to make clear decisions on risk scenarios CARE can or will have to address in the future. Review of past responses to events, historical data from communities and government centers, early warning systems, etc. can provide inputs for identifying the primary risks in a country or region.

Critical to the analysis of the information is the ability to know when enough information is available to make an informed decision on critical risks for CARE to focus on. For example, civil unrest may be a critical risk. However, in-depth political analysis is less important to the analysis of impact. If the risk is confined to a small part of the country where CARE does not work, it may not be the most critical risk to address.

–  –  –

While existing information is useful, fresh thinking is most valuable to developing new approaches and plans for emergency preparedness. Participants in the planning process should avoid redundant thinking and reliance on existing plans and documents.

–  –  –

In either a workshop or team forum, the Country Office should discuss, analyze and evaluate potential risks and identify those risks most likely to occur and those with the highest consequence levels. These risks will be the basis for risk analysis and scenario development to follow.

When identifying risks, Country Offices should consider the following equation R=HXV/C:

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