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The purpose of this handbook
Disaster planning
World wide trends
National response
Principles of Disaster Management

The 9 step process
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Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9

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Principles of Disaster Management

The principles of disaster management are:

1. Disaster management is the responsibility of all spheres of government.
  No single service or department in itself has the capability to achieve comprehensive disaster management. Each affected service or department must have a disaster management plan which is coordinated through the Disaster Management Advisory Forum.
2. Disaster management should use resources that exist for a day-to-day purpose.
  There are limited resources available specifically for disasters, and it would be neither cost effective nor practical to have large holdings of dedicated disaster resources. However, municipalities must ensure that there is a minimum budget allocation to enable appropriate response to incidents as they arise, and to prepare for and reduce the risk of disasters occurring.
3. Organisations should function as an extension of their core business.
  Disaster management is about the use of resources in the most effective manner. To achieve this during disasters, organisations should be employed in a manner that reflects their day-to-day role. But it should be done in a coordinated manner across all relevant organisations, so that it is multidisciplinary and multi-agency.
4. Individuals are responsible for their own safety.
  Individuals need to be aware of the hazards that could affect their community and the counter measures, which include the Municipal Disaster Management Plan, that are in place to deal with them.
5. Disaster management planning should focus on large-scale events.
  It is easier to scale down a response than it is to scale up if arrangements have been based on incident scale events. If you are well prepared for a major disaster you will be able to respond very well to smaller incidents and emergencies, nevertheless, good multi agency responses to incidents do help in the event of a major disaster.
6. Disaster management planning should recognise the difference between incidents and disasters.
  Incidents - e.g. fires that occur in informal settlements, floods that occur regularly, still require multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional coordination. The scale of the disaster will indicate when it is beyond the capacity of the municipality to respond, and when it needs the involvement of other agencies.
7. Disaster management operational arrangements are additional to and do not replace incident
  management operational arrangements
  Single service incident management operational arrangements will need to continue, whenever practical, during disaster operations.
8. Disaster management planning must take account of the type of physical environment and the
  structure of the population.
  The physical shape and size of the Municipality and the spread of population must be considered when developing counter disaster plans to ensure that appropriate prevention, preparation, response and recovery mechanisms can be put in place in a timely manner.
9. Disaster management arrangements must recognise the involvement and potential role of non-
  government agencies.
  Significant skills and resources needed during disaster operations are controlled by non-government agencies. These agencies must be consulted and included in the planning process.

A key factor worth remembering is that a Disaster Management Plan should be part of the day-to-day planning, establishment and management of local facilities and resources and therefore should be developed to link with other land use and disaster plans for the Municipality and Province.


























This work is a product of the Australia South Africa Local Governance Partnership and the Intellectual Property Rights herein are jointly owned by the Governments of Australia and South Africa.  You may use, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only (acknowledging the source) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation.  All other rights are reserved.

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