Stages of Disasters

It is also useful for the user of the IMP to understand the typical stages of a disaster situation so as to place the risk implications into a chronological sequence and time context. The following provides simplified explanations as to the different stages of disaster situations:

§  Add a note hereAcute Phase.: The acute phase—the disaster itself—is the phase when most casualties occur. In natural disasters this may be short—for example, minutes (earthquakes) to hours or a few days (floods, hurricanes) or long and drawn out (famine, epidemic). A war is effectively a continuing disaster, but since fighting often shifts around an area, parts of the country may be in the immediate postdisaster phase while others are still in the acute phase. The IMP typically addresses the effects of the acute phase.
§  Add a note hereImmediate Postdisaster Phase.: During this phase the high and immediate casualty rate is usually replaced by a steady but declining toll of injury and death. The main medical problems are generally the treatment of injuries. In earthquakes and hurricanes, the majority of those who are going to survive are found within 12 hours of the disaster. Most of those injured will have been treated in the first 24 to 32 hours. This period is typically when crisis response teams (CRTs) start to transition responsibilities from the incident response teams (IRTs).
§  Add a note hereIntermediate Phase.: In natural disasters (or individual events in a manmade disaster, such as a massacre), this typically begins after three to five days, and tends to peak at 10 days. It is the period when the diseases brought about by acute exposure (to heat or cold), lack of clean water supplies, and poor sanitation appear, as people are often crowded together in temporary shelters. It is characterized by a rise in acute respiratory infection and diarrhea. Toward the end of this period, diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis become more common. Measles may also occur, and the lack of food and the ability to cook it may begin to seriously affect the more vulnerable employees, leading to higher malnutrition rates and decreased resistance to infection. The CRT will typically be fully in effect by the intermediate phase.
§  Add a note hereLate Phase.: This is usually the phase in which actual business or operational recovery begins. The timing of the start of this phase and its duration are extremely variable and depend on many factors, such as the health care infrastructure and what damage has been suffered; availability of shelter, clean water, and food; and the diseases endemic to the area. It is in this period that business recovery starts and CRTs start to demobilize and typically transition responsibilities back to project management. It is also the phase during which post incident reviews might be conducted and policies and plans amended to reflect any shortfalls or necessary changes in response or requirements.
Add a note hereThis chapter is not intended to be inclusive of all risk types, nor how they might flow under different conditions, or how they might affect an organization within different environments, but is designed to illustrate some examples of risk natures that might form the educational or advisory section within a company's IMP. These should be succinct versions of those threats covered within a risk evaluation section (or risk register) within the Business Continuity Management Plan, but engineered to meet the needs of a wider user audience. Industryspecific examples should be incorporated to reflect the unique requirements of a company or specific business activity.

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