Improving performance is very critical in responding to emergency whenever a disaster strikes. However, the successful outcome can only be achieved by incorporating a number of aspects in regard to the leadership skills trained in emergency workers to prepare them to handle the effects of the disaster. Moreover, improving the response of emergency workers is a dynamic process that needs continuous improvement as situations arise. However, this fact should not stop the organizations from equipping their emergency response teams with critical skills that will allow them to develop their professionalism as far as disaster response is concerned. Furthermore, health sector and medical institutions widely apply this approach when to implementing their programs for medical emergency response in order to curb infections that arise unsuspectedly.
This paper seeks to give a critical response to the SARS case study by outlining how performance of the emergency response team may be improved within an organization. In an attempt to provide the analysis, the paper will compare two scenarios of emergency response in Toronto, Canada and Pentagon in United States and give an opinion on the best methods of improving the level an organization’s reaction to critical situations. In addition, it will analyze the effects of SARS crisis on no-health-related emergency responders and challenges faced by the public health system as a result of Toronto’s SARS crisis. Moreover, this paper will give an opinion on what ought to have been done outside Toronto’s jurisdiction to curb the SARS problem. Finally, eight effective courses of action for improving an EOP will be identified, and advice on the better methods that ought to have been implemented by emergency workers to achieve better results will be proposed.
Challenges for Operational Capacity Created by Toronto’s SARS Crisis to the Region’s Public Health and Hospital Systems?
There were several challenges that Toronto’s public health and hospital facility faced as a result of the SARS crisis. These challenges interfered with operational capacity of the healthcare facilities present in Canada. Furthermore, the only medical facility that was available in the country became overstretched with patients visiting the hospital in large numbers that the hospital could not manage. In addition, long queues emerged, which increased the waiting time for the patients. Moreover, drugs and other medication that were available in the pharmacies ran out of stock as citizens rushed to buy any drug available as a way of preventing themselves from contracting a dangerous disease. Moreover, it was also intended to close down some medical facilities, which could have drastically reduced access to health-care facilities in Toronto.
Ways In Which These Challenges Were Similar Or Different From Those Created In The Aftermath Of The 09/11 Pentagon Attacks?
The challenges faced by Toronto healthcare facilities look quite similar to those faced by the Americans after the Pentagon attacks on September 11, 2001. The number of victims seeking medical care rose to the extent that the medical facilities available in the city became unable to handle. Many hospitals faced a problem of limited capacities. The demand for drugs also rose critically causing an extreme shortage of the medications in the country. Moreover, the Pentagon attacks also caused a problem of the lack of the low and medium labor force since most civil servants were involved in responding to the consequences of the attack. However, there are some differences in the two cases. The Toronto challenge was a disease outbreak that took time to respond to while the Pentagon incident was an act of terrorism that was responded to once within a short time.
How Did The SARS Crisis Affect Non-Health Emergency Responders?
The non-health emergency responders made part of the most affected sector, resulting in several implications that in turn gave rise to a wide discussion and raised conflicting views of the citizens. Moreover, after the severe outbreak of SARS, medical practitioners attending to the affected patients were infected too and had to seek medical treatment. It meant that they were not in a position to offer their services to the patients anymore. Thus, the non-health emergency response team had to be called upon to offer services to infected patients whose number was constantly increasing. Moreover, the movement of the non-health emergency responders was restricted, and little or no more admissions to the hospital were being allowed.
What the Jurisdictions Outside Of the Toronto Should Have Done as Toronto’s SARS Crisis Deepened?
The actions of the jurisdictions outside Toronto could have created a more active approach to SARS crisis and prevented its further deepening. The possible measures taken could have resulted in the earlier response to SARS crisis thereby preventing losses suffered by medical facilities and families of the infected individuals. To begin with, the jurisdiction outside Toronto ought to have taken preventive measures at the moment an alarm had been raised by WHO regarding the outbreak of the disease. Those suspected of being infected with the virus were to be barred from taking movements, especially any international flights, so as to reduce the spread of the disease to other countries and destinations. In addition, medical practitioners ought to have been given special instructions and training on the need to use protective clothing when attending to the affected patients. Moreover, it would have been wise to provide additional medical examinations and checks for all flights to curb further spread of the infection and put it under control.
The Implications that Toronto’s Experience with SARS Have for Jurisdictions Preparing for Future Incidents of Emergent Infectious Disease or Contagious Agents Dispersed by Bioterrorists?
Toronto’s experience with SARS provides a significant lesson for any jurisdiction or state authority that is preparing itself for possible future incidents of emergent infectious diseases or any other emergency that may need immediate response. Moreover, these lessons are also important for those jurisdictions aiming at achieving excellence in dealing with contagious agents dispersed by bioterrorists. Furthermore, the experience gained from the Toronto incident has helped to raise awareness among state authorities, forcing them to put action plans in place concerning emergency response in general. In addition, the implications of the incident have had both positive and negative impacts regarding jurisdictions’ handling of the emergency issues. The necessity to provide a timely and quick response to the situation has boosted an improved performance among the response teams being operational during the crisis. The SARS incident has demonstrated the need to improve performance through involving preliminary employee education and training, participation and quick response to issues to emergency response organizations as well as the healthcare and government sectors, especially before the issue becomes complex and the number of victims rises. . Furthermore, one of the most important lessons is to deal with the disaster retrospectively before it causes unrecoverable losses.
Effective Courses of Action for Improving an EOP
An EOP has a number of courses of action namely; the intended purpose of the EOP, the scope through which the EOP will operate, the authority under which the EOP will carry out its operations, and the circumstances surrounding each situation under which the EOP will be operated. However, depending on the nature of the response needed, the course of actions may include either incident assumptions or plan assumptions. In addition, the management system that deals with national incidence also forms part of the course of the action plan. Moreover, operation concept and organization structure are also part of the course of actions that an EOP must meet depending on the complexity and size of the disaster or emergency being tackled (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2008).
How the Eight Courses of Action Were Implemented In Given Disaster
The implementation of these eight courses of action has been clearly demonstrated in the Toronto’s SARS incident. First, the State Department of health in Toronto came up with the purpose of EOP, according to which it had been planned to curb the continued spread of the SARS to new victims and eliminate the cases of SARS in Canada. This plan provided a tool for monitoring and providing emergency response to SARS. The scope of EOP covered the eradication, treatment and mitigation of future incidents of SARS in Canada and other parts of the world. Moreover, the authorities that were supposed to guide the EOP were the WHO, proMED, CDC, the National Government of Canada and the health facilities through the Ministry of health. In addition, the situation, under which EOP was to operate, was large-scale and covered a number of countries, where the emergency response was to be implemented. The air flights had to be brought into focus while at the same time controlling health condition of medical practitioners and non-health workers that had been infected by SARS.
There were a few hospitals and medical facilities in Canada that met the proposal to control the spread of the viral disease through possible demolition of the already congested ones that were considered agents of the disease. The situation was well handled with all the infected individuals being identified and taken to intensive care units where they could access better health care. Moreover, this move helped to reduce the risk of infecting the individuals who initially had no infection thereby providing a clear emergency response regarding the protection of healthy citizens (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2008).
The emergency workers also developed assumptions in Toronto’s SARS case asserting that the incident that affected one citizen was likely to affect others and even spread to neighboring countries. Certain government operations that provided essential services were to remain operational as the government planned for the next course of action to provide emergency response. In addition, there were plans to work with WHO, CDC, proMED and other health organizations to combat SARS. It was also assumed that the disaster could outburst at any time and bared a risk of becoming and international threat. Furthermore, the occurrence of the incident was assumed to be unpredictable despite the fact that Toronto turned to be more vulnerable to SARS than other parts of the world. It was also assumed that all operations were to be conducted under the EOP whenever SARS struck. There were also assumptions for plans to be implemented by the EOP response team. The response team was maintained according to the EOP, which catered for all sorts of emergencies that could arise. Further, all the relevant workers, citizens and agencies that were concerned with the emergency response had been defined. In addition, the response team ensured that all relevant individuals had their specific plans for emergency response tailored to their areas of work. Moreover, this plan was implemented once every year and subjected to review periodically.
The other course of the plan was the implementation of the management system in regard to national incidents, which provided a framework to deal with disasters and emergencies of high magnitude. In doing this, the response team came up with data that captured the spread and ways of infection through which SARS could be contracted. In addition, it provided directions on how to apply ICS that limited the scope of operation of the health workers who had the responsibility of responding to the SARS incident. Operational concept that was applied in this case was that of handling the matter at hand with preference being given to the immediate impacts caused by SARS. Furthermore, organizational structure used by the response team had proper hierarchy that helped to realize the main objective of mitigating the spread of SARS in Toronto.
How Well the Eight Courses of Action Were Implemented in the Case of Toronto Crisis
The implementation of the eight aspects of the course of action was effective and bore a positive result towards the emergency response to SARS in Canada. The success of the emergency response was due to the proper planning and implementation of the necessary actions headed towards the eradication of SARS in Toronto. In addition, the response team had a specific scope of action, which limited their operations to a number of specific actions being required, allowing them to achieve good results and raise the efficiency of their performance. This scope helped them to attend to the affected patients within and outside Toronto. Moreover, the health workers were well coordinated under the authority united by a noble mission of eliminating SARS from Toronto. Also, due to the problem being clearly defined and the correct assumptions made by the health workers, thy have managed to reduce the number of SARS-infected individuals. Finally, the operational concept applied in tackling the SARS disaster made a significant contribution to the success of the EOP during the SARS crisis.
How Emergency Workers Could Have Implemented the Eight Courses of Action Differently for Better Success
Despite the fact that the situation saw a particular success in the implementation of the eight courses of action, emergency workers had other alternatives for application of the emergency response aspects to achieve better success. To begin with, emergency response team could have elaborated a specific plan on how to effectively deal with the first issues arising. It could be made through encouraging health workers to evacuate people showing the symptoms of the virus from the rest of the public to prevent further spread of the infection. Furthermore, health workers had to wear protective clothing and seek shelter in areas that were safe from the infectious disease (Davis, 2009). Moreover, building a lockdown was another option that emergency workers could use to improve the given situation. Furthermore, proper communication was needed for the emergency workers to disseminate information and contact other centers of emergency response. This option could significantly improve the efficiency and response time during the emergency incident. In addition, emergency workers could take other actions like offering critical tasks, providing essential services, putting in place key systems of coordination, as well as introducing proper infrastructures that could help all the participants of the action plan to provide emergency response to specific cases and affected individuals (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2010).
The given paper has provided a critical analysis of various ways of improving performance during response to emergency. The case of SARS in Toronto has been used to highlight the importance of improving the methods and developing a set of preventive actions before a crisis strikes. In addition, the effective courses of action to improve the EOP have been discussed and alternative methods of implementing them recommended. Further, this paper has given opinions on the various measures that have been and can be taken to avert the critical point during an emergency in the future.