Response Capability

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It is essential that communities understand their risks, respect and follow the warning and know how to react. Education and preparedness interventions play a key role in increasing knowledge.It is also essential that contingency and disaster management plans be in place, that roles and responsibilities are clearly stated among community members, that resources including human resources are allocated and that standard procedures are well practiced and tested. All community members should be well informed regarding warning messages, when and how to react to the messages, steps to take to prepare themselves and their family, options for safe behaviour, available escape/evacuation routes, and best ways to avoid damage and loss of properties. In Sierra Leone the general measure in responding to disaster adopts the following approach.
i. Stakeholder emergency meeting
ii. Formulation of Sectoral Task Forces (STFs) to execute specific duties
iii. Activation of Disaster Management Committee Emergency Operation Centres
Information is cascaded from top to bottom or vice visa in times of emergencies and this is applicable to all types of disasters that affect the country.

The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police and ambulance crews. They may be supported by a number of secondary emergency services, such as 
specialist rescue teams. A well-rehearsed emergency plan developed as part of the preparedness phase enables efficient coordination of rescue.

There is a need for both discipline (structure, doctrine, process) and agility (creativity, improvisation, adaptability) in responding to a disaster. Combining that with the need to on-board and build a high functioning leadership team quickly to coordinate and manage efforts as they grow beyond first responders indicates the need for a leader and his or her team to craft and implement a disciplined, iterative set of response plans. This allows the team to move forward with coordinated, disciplined responses that are vaguely right and adapt to new information and changing circumstances along the way.