Response addresses immediate threats presented by the disaster, including saving lives, meeting humanitarian needs (food, shelter, clothing, public health and safety), cleanup, damage assessment, and the start of resource distribution. As the response period progresses, focus shifts from dealing with immediate emergency issues to conducting repairs, restoring utilities, establishing operations for public services (including permitting), and finishing the cleanup process.
The response phase includes the mobilization of necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This would include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police, and ambulance crews. Examples of response actions include activating the Emergency Operations Center, evacuating threatened populations, opening shelters, providing mass care, emergency rescue, medical care, fire fighting, and urban search and rescue.
Key points of Response:
- Takes place DURING of the emergency.
- Immediate action steps to save lives and prevent further damage.
- Puts your preparedness plan into action.
- Seeking shelter from a tornado or turning off gas valves in an earthquake are examples of responses.
Protective actions for life safety include:
- Business re-entry into the economy begins during this phase. Businesses initially may face issues with access to their site, preliminary damage assessment, and communications with staff, vendors, suppliers and customers. Ongoing issues may include access to capital and workers, the repair of damaged property or inventory, and a diminished customer base. It is in this phase that long-term future of a region’s business base will be saved or lost.
- Business Recovery Centers are quickly set up in a community to centralize small business recovery resources (e.g. SBA, SBDC, SCORE, CDFI, etc), local bank officers, technical assistance providers, and other critical assistance for maintaining business continuity and/or get businesses up and running.
- Federal resources from SBA, FEMA, HUD, EDA, USDA, etc., as well as state programs, start to arrive; temporary housing goes up; and the planning for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, facilities, and areas begins. The response phase typically continues through the sixth month, again depending on the nature of the disaster.