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Running head: DISASTER CHARACTERISTICS AND MANAGEMENT STAGES1Disaster Characteristics and Management Stages Danica HageyOhio University
DISASTER CHARACTERISTICS AND MANAGEMENT STAGES2Disaster Characteristics and Management Stages Nurses are often seen at the forefront of a disaster alongside other healthcare and emergency personnel, but it is important to understand that the nurse role expands far beyond disaster response. Nurses are heavily involved in every disaster management stage and play a key role in the disaster preparedness. Although many may think that disaster preparedness and management it the responsibility of public health nurses only, the truth is that it the responsibilityof every nurse despite the setting. The purpose of this paper is the discuss the role and responsibilities of nurses in relation to disasters and evaluate a current disaster focusing on disaster characteristics and management styles. Disaster CharacteristicsDisaster is defined as “any event that causes a level of destruction, death or injury that affects the abilities of the community to respond to the incident using available resources” (Nies & McEwen, 2019, p. 590). Disasters can be natural (ex. avalanches, hurricanes, and heat waves),man-made (ex. terrorism, pollution, and toxic spills), or a mixture of both natural and man-made.A current disaster I want to discuss in this paper is the Palisades fire in Los Angeles, California. The fire started on Monday morning, October 21, 2019, in the Pacific Palisades area and burned more than 40 acres of brush (Vera & Vercammen, 2019). According to Los Angeles fire officials, the fire was determined to be terrain-driven and the cause remains under investigation. According to Nies & McEwen (2019), there are six different types of disaster characteristics: frequency, predictability, preventability, imminence, scope and number of casualties, and intensity. Let’s examine these characteristics through the lens of the Palisades fire I described earlier and other recent disasters. In terms of frequency, wildfires happen quite frequently. According to the Insurance Information Institute (n.d.), California ranks as the state
DISASTER CHARACTERISTICS AND MANAGEMENT STAGES3most at risk to extreme wildfires and is ranked as the state with second greatest number of wildfires in the nation (first is Texas). As one may surmise, wildfires are a big problem in California, which is why the state works diligently on disaster planning and management for this scenario. When looking at the preventability of California wildfires, research shows that over 90% of California wildfires are started by people (Kertscher, 2019). Although there are some factors that cannot be controlled, such as wind patterns, there are many ways that wildfires are man-made.For example, a few common and preventable ways that wildfires are started include: campfire that was not extinguished completely, cigarettes and smoking materials that were not discarded properly, and not following local rules and regulations when it comes to burning yard waste.

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