Core Function One: Direction and Control

Direction and control refers to your system for:

  1. analyzing information about an impending disaster;
  2. deciding how to respond quickly and appropriately;
  3. directing and coordinating the response of staff;
  4. coordinating the response with outside organizations; and
  5. using available resources efficiently and effectively.

Does your disaster plan answer questions such as:

  1. Who will activate the disaster plan?
  2. Who will be in charge or make decisions during a disaster (including the decisions to evacuate and to seek outside assistance)? What means of identification will this person or these people wear during a disaster?
  3. How will information about a disaster be gathered and processed?
  4. Who will manage the supplies and equipment for a disaster? (Examples include medical supplies, emergency power, communication systems, food and water, clothing, hygiene supplies, and transportation.)
  5. Who will interact with outside organizations and the media?
  6. What provisions are there to deal with staff vacancies and similar contingencies such as absence of staff?

Establish direction and control in terms of positions (e.g., administrator, director of nurses, charge nurse, etc.) and not in terms of particular individuals. Define the duties that each position will have in a disaster. (For example, identify assignments, responsibilities, and locations.) However, do not designate people simply because of their position. Be sure they will know what to do when a disaster occurs.

Succession of Authority

Identify the succession of authority to ensure continuous leadership, authority, and responsibility in key positions. You might have to create a separate list for each shift.

Emergency Operations Center

Direction and control requires a location where staff will analyze information, choose a response, direct and coordinate disaster procedures, and coordinate the response with outside organizations. This location is usually called the emergency operations center.

Designate a primary and an alternate emergency operations center. If your primary location becomes inaccessible during a disaster, you might need an alternate location that is off-site.

The emergency operations center is usually in charge of contacting transportation companies, evacuation sites, staff, etc.

You might need a separate place to meet with members of the media.