Myths in Emergency Management
• Identify two behaviors or statements that can be classified as cultural myths.
The first statement that is a myth in the case of emergency disasters is that the dead bodies pose a health risk. The second statement is that the fastest way to get rid of the bodies and avoid the spread of disease during a disaster is by having mass burials or cremations to ensure that there is a relief among the survivors.
• Articulate the actual reality that makes these two behaviors or statements myths.
The myths above have been perpetuated for long that the focus on truth and reality has not been well known yet. The reality of the first myth of the dead posing a health risk is not true. The reality of the issue is that there is no more risk of a disease that is posed by the dead bodies. It is possible for the survivors to spread the disease more than the dead bodies in the aftermath of an outbreak. After an individual has passed away due to a disease, there are minimal chances that the body is a risk anymore and can spread the disease. The reality about the second myth on the disposing of bodies through mass burials and cremation is that every person has his or her own beliefs that they follow upon the death of a close one. The world is made up of diverse cultures with different beliefs and religions. It is always an honor to let the people identify the remains of their people, and then they are allowed to recover the remains. It is after this that they can follow the means that they perceive to be the best in getting rid of the remains. This will help them to manage their senses of loss better than when the loved ones are just cremated or buried in mass graves.
• Analyze why it is important for emergency managers to recognize these two myths.
It is important for emergency managers to recognize these two myths to ensure that they use the right methods in handling the remains after a disaster. Understanding the first myth will help the managers to handle the situation better without having to fear that there is a huge risk of being infected by the dead bodies or exposing survivors the same (Drury et al., 2013). It can improve the way that the dead bodies are managed without the scare that there is still greater risk. They can also take charge of stopping these destructive tales that harbors on how they work best in the field.
It is also vital for managers to understand the second myth and reality. In most cases, the emergency managers have not been able to allow people to have their remains and follow own traditions in terms of burying or cremating the remains. After a disaster, there are managers who decide to bury the remains in mass graves or cremate them without allowing the families and friends to follow the right procedure of getting rid of the remains (Nogami, 2018). If managers understand this myth, they will be able to coordinate with the families and people who are close to the dead people to ensure that there are procedures and respect for beliefs.
• Express how media has impacted the public perception regarding these two myths.
The media had been at the forefront in propagating these myths and thus lead to preconceived ideas on the side of the public (Horsley, 2016). most of the information that public has is from the media, and thus the way they construct arguments determine the way in which the public will perceive an issue. Most of these myths have been brought about by the media because of their ability to convey information to many individuals using various methods. The media has made the public to understand that after a person is dead from a disaster, it might not be possible for the survivors to come in contact with the remains as they might also suffer the same fate. Another way is that the media reports of the officials of emergency management burying or cremating bodies to avoid faster spread of diseases.
Drury, J., Novelli, D., & Stott, C. (2013). Psychological disaster myths in the perception and management of mass emergencies. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(11), 2259-2270.
Horsley, J. S. (2016). Media framing of disasters: Implications for disaster response communicators. The handbook of international crisis communication research, 155-164.
Nogami, T. (2018). Disaster myths among disaster response professionals and the source of such misconceptions. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 26(4), 491-498.
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