Expectations are often premeditated resentments.

Johnathan BernsteinCrisis Management Consultant

Emergency managers tend to focus their efforts on operational planning. The early chapters of this book explored some of the reasons for this, primarily the origin of emergency management in the civil defense program. It is an area where emergency managers feel comfortable. However, successful disaster management requires a response on all three levels: tactical, operational, and strategic levels. It is a sad fact that the perceived success or failure of a response is not always determined by what is done, but by how well public expectations are met.

When one compares immediate response to short‐ and long‐term recovery, it is obvious that response is only an initial stage of relatively short duration. Because it is an important stage, most emergency preparedness activities are focused on building response capacity. Nevertheless, recovery and reconstruction efforts ultimately determine the continued viability of a community and the length of time needed to return to some acceptable state of normalcy.

It is in these two areas of public expectation and perception and recovery and reconstruction that strategic response becomes important. Unfortunately, most emergency plans do not address strategic response beyond the formation of a “policy group” or consideration of federal recovery programs. There is a failure to recognize the need for organizing ...

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