Disaster Response Details

Disasters happen unexpectedly, and because of this, there are laws that businesses must follow to ensure a proper disaster response. The buildings they operate must have smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, fire exits, etc. Whatever the case may be, businesses usually prepare for any of the four types of disaster: meteorological, climatological, geophysical, and hydrological.

Businesses may have their own separate disaster response plans as well, especially businesses that deal with combustible materials, keep archives in a flood-prone area, or handle other high-risk processes—as with nuclear plants. When disaster strikes, they may have to open certain drains to let water out, make sure gas tanks are sealed, or contain any hazmat leaks that could damage property or contaminate water and food supplies.

A business can ensure the effectiveness of its disaster response is through regular drills conducted by professionals. This way, every staff member will know how to properly respond in a disaster scenario before emergency services can get there.

Disaster Response Example

You are an employee in a chemical plant that makes detergents and soaps. Your workplace handles abrasive, flammable ingredients. To prepare for any disaster, your company has installed some emergency hoses and eye wash stations. Employees have easy access to the emergency exit doors and lead straight to the outside of the building. On top of that, employees go through a mock worst-case scenario drill every year.

One day in the mixing labs, the worst-case scenario comes true. An earthquake sends exposed chemicals flying off the shelves in the mixing lab. One employee accidentally spills chemicals from a glass tube that mixes with another spilled chemical. The gas from the mixture reacts violently to the oxygen in the air and sparks a flame. This flame simultaneously causes a chain reaction that catches other chemicals in the lab and causes an explosion, fire, and crumbling of major support walls. The fire alarm goes off, and employees quickly grab a gas mask near the emergency exit and exit the lab. A previously designated team goes in, shuts down the equipment, and attempts to extinguish the fire from a safe distance until the firefighters arrive.

Unfortunately, a dozen people in the mixing lab passed away from the initial explosion. However, hundreds of lives were saved thanks to expedient disaster response.

Disaster Response vs. Emergency Response

A disaster response refers to anything considered a disaster, a catastrophic event that disrupts society. This could be an earthquake, fire, flood, wildfires, tornados, or even large-scale accidents cause by humans. An emergency response is an action taken in direct response to anything that endangers or harms people and society—a car accident, acute onset of a health issue, etc.

An emergency response can be a disaster response, and emergency responses can stem from disasters. However, if you describe types of emergency responses based on category, disaster response is mostly for large-scale natural disasters and weather events as opposed to individual danger.