While emergencies and disasters may be inevitable, the extent of devastation they cause can be greatly reduced by effective management. This can be done through the proper allocation of resources and responsibilities that involve all humanitarian aspects of emergencies and crises.
A management plan includes preparedness, response, and recovery that help in reducing the impact of the unforeseen events and this requires the contributions of many different areas — ranging from training and logistics to health care, recovery, livelihood to institutional development.
The best way to manage all the resources and staff members (paid and volunteers) is through asset tracking software , an automated solution that helps emergency bodies minimize damage through streamlined tracking of mission critical assets.
Types of Disasters and Emergencies
Any threatening event – announced or unannounced can be categorized as a type of emergency or disaster. Here are some commonly known natural and technological/man-made hazards:
The effect of any disaster on nearby people, buildings and society, is commonly known as an impact. These impacts can be far-reaching and even span over a long period of time.
For this reason, losses or impacts can be divided into direct and indirect consequences. Both these terms help distinguish between the delayed and immediate effects.
- Direct losses refer to losses that result from infrastructural or physical destruction. These include damage asserted by floods, high winds, and earthquakes.
- Indirect impacts are secondary losses that become visible after a disaster has occurred like the losses incurred from business or human life interruption.
Challenges of disaster management
An unreliable equipment tracking system can lead to delays in response time which can be hazardous for emergency and disaster management agencies. Due to a high supply of assets needed for rehabilitation, a robust support system is absolutely necessary.
Availability of such a software enables agencies to spend more time on the preparation of a response. To achieve this goal, agencies need to overcome the challenges faced by effective disaster control.
They can be identified as follows:
- Keeping an accurate equipment database: Various types of assets need to be deployed for assistance during disasters. The agency needs to ensure that they closely monitor how and where their equipment is being used. In order to handle such situations, it is important to know the location and condition of the tools being utilized.
- Sharing inventory information: Sometimes, it isn’t feasible for a single organization to provide support for a large-scale disaster. In these cases, the current equipment database needs to be shared with neighboring agencies and volunteering bodies. This is only possible if a streamlined program is used to track all disaster management activities.
- Tracking grants: Most of the emergency management agencies operate on government grants or funds provided by the public. To maintain credibility in their status, such organizations put in extra effort to maintain a record of all equipment purchased. This is useful during audit season and helps attain transparency.
Why do you need asset tracking software for disaster and emergency management?
Disaster mitigation actions such as clearing debris from landslide areas and containing earthquake-induced fires and waves, and hazardous materials before they can cause additional harm is extremely important. It is for these reasons that it is crucial to always be prepared in the event of both announced and unannounced circumstances.
However, if required resources and equipment are unavailable, then mitigating damages becomes difficult. The dangerous nature of delays in emergency response time can occur due to the following asset management problems:
- Inaccurate equipment database and where its located to be deployed during emergency situations
- Inability to manage mobile inventory/locations
- Failure to track equipment in an appropriate manner and generate reports as required by grant audits
Ensuring that all resources and equipment are available, up to date and in working condition in the event of a disaster can be a grueling and costly procedure. Managing and keeping track of all equipment manually may require time and resources and by the time the inventory is complete, it may already be out of date.
Asset tracking software provides an efficient way to track these assets and equipment throughout their lifecycle i.e. from the moment they are purchased until they are disposed of. Here are the five phases of disaster and emergency management and how an asset tracking software can help:
Phase one: Risk mitigation
Risk mitigation practices help businesses lessen the impact of a potential disaster or an emergency. This includes prevention measures like having safety equipment functional in case a disaster hits. For example in case of fire disaster, businesses should have smoke detection alarms and extinguishers operational and ready.
Here an asset tracking software for disaster management can help put together different assets needed in case of emergencies. Companies can create fire hazard, earthquake, and hurricane mitigation kits. Such kits can be compiled as groups and subgroups available at different locations to provide cover for multiple company offices.
Phase two: Preparedness
Disaster preparedness is a continuous and coordinated process which can require a vast variety of actions and does not pertain to one particular set of procedures.
For this reason, you must ensure that you have everything in stock for when and if the next disaster strikes. This includes everything from medical supplies or food items, equipment to carry debris from a certain place, and even volunteers that can be called out at the time of need.
All this and more can be added to the asset tracking software to help organizations track items, ensure steady team collaboration, and reduce the impact of disasters. Additionally, have vendors and suppliers on call so more stock quantity can be procured when needed.
Phase three: Response time
Emergencies are inevitable. Even if you are prepared, there is a high chance that a place can be hit with a natural or man-made disaster. This requires responding to disasters promptly.
Prompt response is also the most crucial requirement of disaster management. It’s also a big challenge if everything is handled manually An asset tracking software enables companies to automate and reduce response time in the following ways:
Create bundles and packages
Assign teams to different business locations and provide them with packages and bundles of required equipment in case of an emergency or disaster. You can create bundles to include medical items, food supplies, and first aid boxes. This makes multiple item checkouts easy. Some apps even allow you to add bundles to carts so one team of volunteers can be assigned hundreds of identical bundles to deliver to hundreds of families affected by a disastrous event. A slow response will only increase the impact of a disaster.
Track assets in real time
Emergency management facilities need to monitor custody of assets deployed in the field during drills, community outreach and shelter operations. Having access to real time data about assets enables you to take immediate action to lower disaster impact.
Real time tracking makes it easier to rotate asset stock and retire it in a timely manner. Doing so is extremely important as disaster management bodies cannot risk using obsolete equipment for recovery operations.
Phase four: Recovery period
In the event of an emergency, reducing the response time can play a decisive role in the recovery process and save lives. On the other hand, delays can be fatal and can drastically slow down the long-term recovery process. Companies can speed up the recovery phase as follows:
Streamline location and warehouse management
In the event of a disaster you need to ensure you have an accurate count of inventory and assets. An asset tracking software for disaster management enables emergency bodies to track items from a county, city or warehouse all down to a single shelf. By tracking available inventory, admins can easily update records and place purchase requests for replacements within time.
Run seamless audits
Fund accountability is extremely important for a disaster management agency. To ensure transparency of grants, emergency management facilities can run custom reports to track information like grant dates and corresponding asset acquisition details. Customized tracking and reporting can also be used to manage FEMA authorized equipment in one place.
Disaster management requires swift action
With the asset tracking software, equipment theft is reduced through robust accountability while the purchase of redundant or duplicate equipment is kept in check. This also helps to locate ghost equipment and improve financial viability
Trusting equipment with the lives and well-being of others at the time of disasters has become easier with equipment tracking software as it ensures that required equipment is always available and operational at its highest level of efficiency .
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