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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Essay on Chicago's Emergency Preparedness

discusses the emergency preparedness plans of Chicago,IL. Please include:
-name of agency responsible; -availability of the preplan; -appropriateness of preplan
-information available from the agency that helps families and people
prepare for disasters; -integration with other response agencies; -how do you feel after reviewing this information(more or less safe)?

Chicago’s Emergency Preparedness
            Emergency preparedness is one issue that has come into the consciousness of America as of late. The concept of emergency connotes both man-made and natural disasters. Cities should be especially vigilant because of the massive number of lives and infrastructure that are at stake. Chicago is a metropolis that is considered the third biggest in the United States. It has a population of over 2.7 million residents and wide array of infrastructure that is vital to the economy of America. As such it has an emergency preparedness system that is quite effective and accessible to its residents and responders alike.
            The agency responsible for the emergency preparedness needs of Chicago is the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). As the name implies, this agency is responsible for disseminating information and creating plans that people can use in case of emergencies, natural or otherwise (City of Chicago, 2013). It is in charge of coordinating the efforts of the police, fire, and emergency medical services. It is responsible for risk assessment and mitigation; preparedness; response; and recovery (City of Chicago, 2013).
The agency has a website called AlertChicago that has preparedness plans and alerts that updated regularly for the residents of the city. The agency identified three main aspects of preparedness in times of emergency. These are readiness for an emergency; responding to an emergency; and recovering from emergency. AlertChicago has a wide array of preparedness plans available for download in PDF form (AlertChicago, 2013). They have cover topics such as preparing for floods, fire, tornado, and winter among others.
These preparedness plans that were available were quite appropriate for the topic. In fact, upon downloading and perusing the brochures, it was found that they were quite simple and easy to understand. The brochures were also available in different languages such as English, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin (AlertChicago, 2013). The plans were quite concise on what to do and who to call in times of emergency. AlertChicago also has information available that contains real time information pertaining to information in and around Chicago such as traffic, street maintenance, safety, and others. The website also has links to other emergency preparedness agencies’ websites such as FEMA, Homeland Security, and IEMA.
The OEMC has made it possible for its services to be integrated with the law enforcement agencies and emergency response teams as well as other agencies such as human services, which are vital in responding to emergencies of all kinds. This allows them exert a coordinated effort so it can address all kinds of emergencies emanating from man made to natural disasters (AlertChicago, 2013). It is a fact that when emergency strikes, the act of responding to it requires a coordinated effort from different agencies. The website also provides information about the latest threats that the city face such as floods and thunderstorm and lighting (AlertChicago, 2013). This pertains to the timeliness of the information and how the agency is in tune with what is really happening in Chicago.
The information that was reviewed from the OEMC was quite comprehensive and yet still maintains its goal of providing simple and yet effective preparedness plans. If I were a resident of the Chicago and use the information provided I would be assured of the readiness of the city to prepare, respond, and recover from disaster. The use of a website for disseminating information is an indication of the level of commitment that that the city has in preparing for and responding to emergencies. It is also notable that the focus of the most of the preparedness plans was on natural disasters because they are what Chicago faces most of the time because of its location. 
AlertChicago (2013). At Home, At Work, On the Go – Are You Prepared? Alert
City of Chicago (2013). Alert Chicago - Emergency Preparedness. City of
Chicago. Retrieved from

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