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Dwight D. Eisenhower is quoted as saying…
Plans are nothing; planning is everything
The quote is applicable to Disaster Management guidelines. A disaster management plan has many purposes none of them are part of the response phase. During response one does not consult plans, and dependent upon the nature of the disaster, the plan as a document may be lost. For this purpose it is argued that plans are a planning tool.
Plans are the results of negotiation.
The time afforded before a disasters is when a plan is at its strongest. The document is the modus operandi used to discuss processes. Having consulted, debated and many times even argued on what the process is, the plan then becomes the “minutes of the meeting” for future teams to follow and even improve upon.
A plan is a tool of training.
In the field of disaster management the players change and the cast changes often. As volunteers persons come and go at will. As employees, officers are promoted, transferred or retire. The one constant is the plan. It can be used as an instruction tool to inform every new person that joins the fraternity, thus ensuring continuity of the national program.
A plan is the method by which harmony is achieved.
Action [the response] and document [the plan] must always be in sync. Therefore what must be decided upon is this. Which is correct, the action or the plan?
If the action is correct and the plan is wrong THEN the plan must be corrected.
If the plan is correct and the action is wrong THEN the action must be corrected
The equation though simple in its balance, is not so simple or so easy to achieve.
No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy
Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke [Ottoman Empire] was absolutely correct, and after the disaster has occurred, the response and recovery settled and ongoing, the time then arrives to conduct the After Action Review. Essentially – start all over again with the fundamental question: Which is correct, the action or the plan?