Saturday, 28 June 2014

Emergency Preparedness - 6


For the life at sea, emergency preparedness becomes a part of the everyday life! People may be at sea as seafarers or as the passengers but they are all ‘at sea’ and need to be emergency-prepared - always!   

The prudent and philosophical approach to the emergency-preparedness is mainly about doing everything what can be done when not in an emergency – physically, emotionally, materially, procedurally and monetarily as a minimum!

It is said that the puritan settlers in the 17th century USA used the 4-‘I’s frequently, viz. considering “Information – Investment – Innovation – Incentive“ in whatever they did. To be better prepared for the emergencies these principles apply at all times even today!

Information: This needs to be available during the appraisal of the scenarios to come, during the monitoring of the situations & processes, during the emergencies themselves and during investigations too! Its accuracy and speed making a huge change in shaping of the response to the emergencies! Human minds respond to the information along a number of emotional planes which may affect their emergency responses. The solution to this is in using the technology to avoid the hurdles of emotional ‘fight-or-flight’ situations.

Investment: Investments in emergencies related talent, time, R & D, sustainability, environmental considerations, security areas, simulations of possible emergencies, pre-emptive technological and hardware factors are a must! These days some of the best handled large events are not without such careful application of these important factors! With investments in insurance one also ropes in the standards and procedures of emergency preparedness at least at a minimum level!

Innovation: The earth is always moving in one direction, that we call the forward one, around her own axis as well as the orbital levels. There is no question of stalling, pausing or reversing! Emergency preparedness being no exception to this! Innovation is a constant process. Innovations are not technological alone! When one or more entities at sea or ashore connected to the processes and lives at sea identify the need for the innovation in the first place the journey to the technological innovations begin! At times this is based on the unfortunate losses from the earlier emergencies. The innovations can be in simple approach to the emergencies or about a complex use of new products at the planning-building-monitoring-response-improvement stages. An innovation could also be about a tactful approach to the first response or could be about deciphering accurate information from a distressed caller!

Incentive: For ages incentives have worked and will continue to work! Incentives can be about being content with a safe outcome or a monetary reward or a promotion! A negative incentive such as a reprimand also works at times. Incentive is a part of the ‘cause & effect’ factors embedded deeply within the make up of the emergencies. In these days of media-development and exposure, the beautiful and the ugly of the sea have both come to the limelight! It should be taken in a positive sense. A person’s emergency-response however, may be affected by the earlier negative stories of the seafarers. The intuitive and instinctive emergency responses are held back at times because the emergency responders may be afraid of the negative media coverage. However this is part of the development we have to live with. Media coverage is a double edged phenomenon, it helps in improvement and may also bring some negatives. We can not stop getting better-prepared everyday because there is never any going back to the yester-era in this career!

Safe sailings!

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