Disasters and emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time (Pellegrin, 2012). A disaster is a term describing a whole range of distress situations, both individual and communal. These include fires and drowning, earthquake and tornado, epidemics and starvation, heat and cold, rats and locusts (Kumar, 2000). While the Malaysian National Security Council (MNSC) Directive 20 (2003) defines disaster as “an emergency situation of some complexity that will cause the loss of lives, damage property and the environment, and hamper local social and economic activities” (Ibrahim and Fakhru’l-Razi, 2006).
Disasters have been classified into natural, and man-made disasters. Natural disasters are catastrophic events resulting from natural causes such as floods, landslides, mudslides, etc. over which man has no control. Natural disasters are often termed “Act of God”. Man-made disasters can be sudden or long term (IFRCRCS, 2003).
Malaysia has experienced 19 natural disasters that resulted in 1,460 fatalities, and 821 injuries. (Ibrahim and Fakhru’l-Razi, 2006). Such Natural Disasters that happened in Malaysia are:
• Tropical Storm
Besides that, Malaysia also has experienced 18 man-made disasters that resulted in 282 fatalities and 1,892 injuries. Such examples of man-made disasters are:
• Technological Disasters such as fire and explosion
• Transportation accidents such as Tourist Bus Accident can cause large number of casualties, hazardous materials incidents, and major disruption of vital transportation routes.
• Public places failure includes the collapse of stadia, high-rise buildings and the urban fires. Urban fires occur in structures as high-rise apartment buildings, condominiums, schools and others.
• Production failures include computer system breakdowns and also production and distribution of defective products. Such production failure has happened in Malaysia was water supply crisis in Klang Valley from March-September 1998 with 1.8 million residents affected.
Disaster Management Plan
A Disaster Plan is a document, which describes the procedures, devised to prepare and prevent for disaster and those proposed to respond to and recover from disaster when they occur (Lyall, 1996). Disaster management is interchangeably used with a term emergency management. It involves plans, structures, and arrangements established to engage the normal endeavors of governments, voluntary and private agencies in a comprehensive and coordinated way to respond to the whole spectrum of emergency needs (Moe and Pathranarakul, 2006).
Emergency management is a comprehensive, integrated program of preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation for emergencies and disasters of any kind (Pellegrin, 2012).
Key Elements in Disaster Management
Preparedness: the preparedness phase is “when everything is supposed to come together on paper” (Kahn, 1995). In the preparedness...