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The New York Shutdown Of August 2003

3361 words - 14 pages

Lin et al (2011) indicate that on the 14th of August 2003, New York was engulfed in a number of a series of power generation interruptions which subsequently triggered a shutdown for protective purposes. Although the shutdown was intended for good purpose, million of New Yorkers in the Northeastern US experienced over 31 hours of blackout beginning on August 14th 4.11 p. m. DeBlasio et al (2004) attest to the arguments of Lin et al (2011) and add that the real effect of the blackout was very significant to human safety and health as a survey by US Department of Transportation found out. For instance, they indicate that 11, 600 traffic lights went off coupled with around 413 subway trains being stopped thereby affecting approximately 400,000 passengers. U.S-Canada Power System Outage Task Force (2003) reports that approximately 800 instances of people caught in elevators who need rescue were recorded. The report also indicated that the high rise buildings of New York within the affected area lacked water since they rely on electric pumps to transport the water to all the floors. Additionally, recycling plants were unable to recycle raw sewage during the period of the black out (Lin et al, 2011). Therefore, some waste was pumped to rivers and hence becoming a health hazard.
A plethora of studies have been undertaken to determine and illustrate the health hazards that were posed by the August 2003 New York black out. Studies such as Freese et al (2006) and Kile et al (2005) have succinctly explained how the blackout affected the health system in the affected area. For instance, there was significant surge in the number of emergency service and 9.1.1 calls. Kile et al (2005) posit that during the blackout period, hospital emergency services utilization across the city increased and hence the efficacy of the health facilities was compromised. On the transport front, Prezant et al (2005) posit that the blackout caused shutdown of train systems and paralyzed traffic on the road and airports. In this paper, the blackout’s public health effects on transportation will be assessed in detail and associated aspects addressed.
The four phases of disaster management
Rubin (2009) argues that in case of emergencies, there are four key phases that can be used to characterize the whole process of the emergency. These phases include preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation as illustrated in the figure below.

Figure 1: Disaster management phases (Adopted from Rubin, 2009)
While the above figure may imply that management process of disasters is a process that is relatively continues and that follows a step by step process, in practice the phases tend to overlap. Rubin (2009) observes that there has significant critic of this model although it has been labeled as the most of the effective model to describe the emergency management framework.
Rubin (2009) presumes that the first phase is preparedness which is undertaken before the emergency...

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