When disaster strikes, government agencies and humanitarian organizations must act quickly to minimize its impact and facilitate recovery. Modular disaster relief buildings are one of the most affordable ways to provide safety, security, and organization after a catastrophe. In this blog, we’ll explore emergency management, common natural disasters, and the benefits of choosing modular buildings for response and recovery.
What is Disaster Relief?
Also known as emergency management, disaster relief is the process of responding to a catastrophe and providing assistance to affected communities. Humanitarian organizations and government agencies are tasked with limiting the impact of a disaster, but this can be difficult depending on its size and scope.
Post-incident hazards must be continuously managed and mitigated, and rebuilding should be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. This involves coordination at every level among both government and non-government entities, which can be very complicated. However, well-executed disaster relief and emergency management are crucial to the recovery and rehabilitation for victims.
Four Phases of Disaster Relief
There are four distinct stages of disaster relief: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. You can learn more about each of these phases below:
Mitigation. This can take two forms. First, mitigation can be preventing situations from developing into large-scale disasters in the first place. Second, it can be reducing the effects of disasters when they do occur.
Preparedness. This refers to creating a plan of action before disaster strikes, including establishing a chain of command and practicing coordination across agencies. You should also implement common terminology and establish roles within incident command.
Response. This is the deployment of emergency services within the affected area, including firefighters, police, ambulance crews, and specialty rescue teams.
Recovery. This involves restoring the impacted area to its pre-disaster state. Recovery focuses on employment, rebuilding destroyed property, and repairing key infrastructure.
Common Disasters Requiring Emergency Management
Understanding what natural disasters are and where they typically occur is an important aspect of emergency management. This information also plays a key role when selecting the modular disaster relief buildings you may need to lease or purchase. We’ll take a closer look at the most common natural disasters in the following sections.
Drought occurs when there is lower-than-average precipitation over several seasons. Droughts can vary in duration and intensity depending on their location and are not as sudden as other types of natural disasters. However, a diminished water supply can have a significant negative impact on both people and the environment.
Earthquakes are caused by a shifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates that produces a sudden shaking that can last from seconds to minutes. They range in intensity and magnitude and can happen without warning at any time of year. While earthquakes may occur anywhere, the West Coast is particularly vulnerable to them.
Floods take place when land that is typically dry experiences a damaging overflow of water. They’re typically caused by tropical storms (like hurricanes), flash floods, and failed dams or levees. While coastal areas are particularly prone to flooding, it can happen virtually anywhere and often causes extreme damage.
Hurricanes, Tropical Cyclones, & Typhoons
Collectively known as tropical storms, these weather patterns involve a rotating system of thunderstorms and clouds over subtropical or tropical waters. The name used to refer to these systems varies based on where they take place:
Hurricanes form in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific Oceans.
Tropical cyclones form in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Typhoons form in the Northwest Pacific Ocean.
Tropical storms are typically caused by preexisting weather disturbances, warming oceans, moisture, and light winds. They start as tropical depressions (maximum sustained wind speeds of less than 39 miles per hour) and are upgraded to tropical storms once wind speeds are between 39-78 miles per hour. Once wind speeds reach 79 miles per hour or more, they become hurricanes, tropical cyclones, or typhoons.
Pandemics are infectious disease epidemics that spread rapidly across multiple countries, continents, or worldwide. Pandemics affect large segments of the population and often have devastating social and economic consequences. A few of the most well-known pandemics include the Black Death, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19.
Tornados are outgrowths of strong thunderstorms that take the form of rotating, funnel-shaped clouds. They typically bring sustained winds of 30 miles per hour or more and can also produce lightning and flash floods. In the United States, tornadoes are usually 500 feet in diameter and may travel up to five miles on the ground.
Tsunamis are a series of massive waves that are caused by undersea volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. The speed and frequency of these waves are not correlated with the distance from the source of the tsunami, but with the depth of the ocean. This makes them particularly damaging as they reach the shoreline and move inland.
Typically caused by lightning or accidents, wildfires are particularly destructive in forests, rural areas, and other wooded environments. They can spread quickly and often become difficult to control as they grow in size and intensity.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) & Disaster Relief
Created in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for both emergency management and civil defense. FEMA was integrated into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 and currently employs over 20,000 people nationwide. However, its workforce can grow to over 50,000 active members during response to and recovery from major natural and manmade disasters.
Reasons to Choose Modular Disaster Relief Buildings
There are many reasons to choose modular structures for disaster relief construction. We’ll review each of these below to help you feel confident about leasing or purchasing a modular building when catastrophe strikes.
Because their overall framework is made from wood or steel and concrete, you can count on modular buildings to be durable and structurally sound. Wood offers superior insulation, is extremely strong, and is completely biodegradable. On the other hand, steel and concrete are fire-resistant, require few raw materials, and are more consistent than wood.
Natural and manmade disasters create an immediate and urgent need for short-term shelter. Unlike traditional construction, modular buildings can be deployed quickly, especially if you lease a used structure that’s already sitting on a dealer’s lot. Ultimately, modular can provide the space you need up to 50% faster than traditional construction, making it the obvious choice for disaster relief.
In most cases, communities are strapped for cash and looking to save as much money as possible in the wake of a disaster. When you lease a used modular building, there’s no large upfront expense or need to borrow money, which is ideal for both your organization and taxpayers. Plus, flexible lease terms ensure you only pay for the building for the time you actually need it
While natural and manmade disasters destroy the environment, modular structures embody the green lifecycle. Because they’re designed to be unbuilt and reused (rather than demolished), modular spaces cut down on material waste and protect the environment. They also minimize disruption to adjacent green spaces and reduce toxicity because building materials aren’t exposed to the elements.
Withstand Inclement Weather
The extreme weather produced by natural disasters can damage or destroy materials and equipment at traditional construction sites. However, this is a non-issue with modular buildings because 95% of the work is done off-site in a controlled factory environment.
Once they’re complete, modular buildings can be transported almost anywhere, including remote locations. That means there’s no need to make advanced decisions about placement, which is ideal for ever-evolving emergency situations. You get relief in the field where you need it most on a faster timeline and with a lower price tag.
Modular Disaster Relief Building Uses
Here are just a few examples of how modular buildings can be used for disaster relief construction and emergency management:
Want to prepare for natural or manmade catastrophes with a modular disaster relief building? Vanguard Modular has a large selection of modular structures to meet any need. Contact our dealer network or request a free quote to ensure you’re covered when disaster strikes.
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