Ethics in Emergency Management: Practices and Values Managing emergencies entails the consideration of several elements that may hinder the delivery of quality emergency responses. It is a multifaceted discipline that can affect and be affected by different factors from its environment, which include ethics and moral conduct from its human face. The lack of ethics and ethical decision making in emergency management will result to inefficiency and defeat of its very purpose (Crowe, 2013). It simply means that ethics should also be at the center for the deployment of emergency management since it is a vital key for the success of the discipline.
However, the process of applying these principles is not simple. Hence, this paper will probe on the different aspects of emergency management with regard to ethics and identifying strategies that may enhance the discipline. The paper will discuss ethical practices, accountability methods and the values from the IAEM Code of Ethics. Standardized Actions and Ethical Practices in EM Implementation of Human Rights in EM The United Nations contends that the humanitarian concerns in the deployment of emergency management in risk areas should ensure that human rights are safeguarded.
It is vital that there should be a well-planned and well-executed implementation of human rights for all victims (Jenson, 1997). The implementation of this common ethical practice is vital to ensure the professionalization of the field because it has numerous and serious implications. Primarily, this will mean that the victim’s rights, as human beings, are well respected wherein ensuring his or her full recovery. This should include the physical, emotional and mental well-being. This involves the protection of life, liberty, security and even property as a part of the emergency response.
It may also entail the organization to respond vastly, inclusively and with no discrimination on gender, age, ethnicity and religion as to ensure quality effects of the responses. In this regard, it can be observed that the emergency response and management have a long-term effect on an individual's well-being. The safeguarding of human rights is the ultimate goal of emergency responses. Thus, in ensuring that it is protected in the management of emergencies, it augments the professionalization of the practice.
Respect for Cultural and Traditional Differences In the wake of the emergencies and disasters, the cultural practices, beliefs and traditions may not be a priority among the matters to take into consideration. According to Soliman and Rogge (2002), disaster responses disregard the opportunity for the victims to have “individual autonomy, ” wherein the organizations and authorities were taking control over the situation and the even the people. This means that the victims have minimal freedom to solve the problem through their means and ways based on their values and beliefs. The duo provided the example; the Muslim community may not appreciate shelters and housing, wherein the both gender will be sharing one space.
This is a form of cultural violation of the Muslims since this is opposed to their practices. As a result, these Muslim victims may only develop more anger and frustration. Hence, professionalization of the discipline is jeopardized. This disruptive flaw in emergency management hinders quality and promotes unprofessional emergency management. This is the case because the only aim of the organizations and authorities is to alleviate the people from the situation.
However, the response is not helping with regard to the emotional and mental conditions of the people affected, which, as mentioned above, is also a primary concern for emergency management. Based on the foregoing, the respect for cultural and traditional differences is deemed to be a part of ethical practice in emergency management. Accountability Methods in EM Procedures Handmer and Dovers (2013) have identified several measures to ensure accountability and transparency in emergency management. Two of the most common methods are: providing feedback mechanisms and representation from community and interest groups.
Feedback mechanisms in emergency management will require the solicitation of information (i. e. comments, suggestions, opinions, observations, etc. ) on an emergency responses and actions from the stakeholders. This may include victims, response teams, volunteers and other individuals witnessing and participating in the different phases of emergency management. Handmer and Dovers (2013) deemed that with the advent of social media, it helps in widening and diversifying those individuals that provide feedback. However, other means may include surveys, interviews and evaluation of the responses being delivered. The importance of having feedback mechanisms in emergency management is, first, it allows the organization to review the responses being provided.
Therefore, it can help in identifying the mistakes and deficiencies in the responses, which can be improved and resolved. However, this can also be applied to the entire cycle of the management of risks (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], 2013). The effectiveness of feedback mechanisms lies on the continuous improvements that can be acquired from the review and feedback of the stakeholders. It is evident on SINAPROC, wherein the effectiveness of the implemented General Law on Civil Protection was a result of the feedback mechanisms.
Hence, the feedback mechanism can provide for sustainable developments in emergency management. Another method for accountability is to ensure the participation of the community (or the people involved) and interest groups. This will be essential in ensuring that the interests and welfare of the stakeholders are considered in formulating the policies, different perspectives on evaluation of responses and communication of interest from different sectors (Handmer & Dovers, 2013). This means that members of those affected by the emergency response and management are given their voice and value, especially because it is their welfare that is at stake.
It is also important that this type of accountability will be implemented to ensure quality response and effective management. Without the input from front-liners and the victims, there may be a gap in the response and the actual scenario, thus, resulting to ineffective management. This method will be effective in professionalizing the practice because it provides a response that is needed by the victims and not deliver an insignificant and short-term effect. IAEM Code of Ethics (Values) Code of ethics formulated by the International Association for Emergency Managers (IAEM) is geared towards providing set of guiding principles that will improve the working standards for the emergency management professionals (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012).
Three of the values of this Code of Ethics are the establishment of respect, commitment and professionalism in the practice. Respect pertains to the respecting colleagues, official, and the public through one’s compliance to the regulations and laws involve in the application of the organization’s objectives and purpose.
This means that the statutes and policies from the areas affected will be considered as a demonstration of these values. For instance, in the organization’s project on “Building Disaster Resilient Communities, ” the organization ensures that the culture, tradition and individual autonomy of the people affected (specifically in Peru) are given and respected in the development of calamity responses and prevention project (“Building Disaster Resilient Communities, ” 2007). This demonstrates that the organization shows respect for the people they are serving. The commitment of the members of the organization is focused on the establishment of trust, faithful execution of responsibilities, accuracy and resource use and conservation to enhance lives (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012).
IAEM implemented an awareness campaign in Afghanistan through radio drama that showcases their commitment for their responsibilities to many communities through the use of different technological resources and accurate information sharing (“Building Disaster Resilient Communities, ” 2007). Through this campaign, the organization can help better understand hazards and improve capabilities of responding to them. Professionalism, on the other hand, refers to the “faithful” delivery of the manager’s duties and fostering good reputation for securing the confidence of the public through education, liberty, life and safety (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012).
This will imply that every action and activity of the members of the organization is grounded on ensuring a conscientious execution of one’s job and responsibility to promote the purpose of the organization and the people. One of the activities developed by the organization is the skills training and development of organizational members for psychological recovery (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) for those affected by the incident. This is applied to the survivors, witnesses and even those who responded to an emergency (“Skills for Psychological Recovery, ” 2010).
Through these types of skills development and training, the managers are capable of providing professional methods of handling people in the incident. Conclusion The above discussion exhibits the importance of applying ethics in the emergency management practice due to its impact on the welfare of humanity. It has a multifaceted scope, in which different ethical practices and actions can be implemented to improve the practice. However, awareness on these ethical values and principles is not enough to augment the professionalism of emergency management.
It is equally important that these will be embedded into the real life practice. Therefore, the above discussion is only few of the strategies that can be utilized as an approach to improve emergency management. References Building Disaster Resilient Communities: Good practices and lessons learned. (2007). Retrieved from http: //www. iaem. com/documents/BuildingDisasterResilientCommunities. pdf Crowe, A. (2013). Leadership in the Open: A new paradigm in emergency management. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Handmer, J., & Dovers, S. (2013). Handbook of disaster policies: Improving emergency management and climate change adaptation (2nd ed. ). Oxon: Routledge Jenson, E.
(1997). Disaster Management Ethics. Retrieved from http: //www. disaster-info. net/lideres/spanish/mexico/biblio/eng/doc13980.pdf Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2013). OECD review risks management policies: Mexico review of the Mexican national civil protection system. France: OECD Publications. Phillips, B. D., Neal, D. M., & Webb, G. (2012). Introduction to emergency management. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Skills for psychological recovery: Field operations guide. (2010). Retrieved from http: //www. iaem. com/documents/Skills-for-Psychological-Recovery-2010.pdf Soliman, H. H., & Rogge, M. E. (2002). Ethical considerations in disaster services: A social work perspective. Electronic Journal of Social Work, 1(1): 1-23. Retrieved from http: //www. centerforurbanstudies. com/documents/ electronic_library/disaster_planning/ethics_in_disasterplanning. pdf