Volcano: Necessary Government Response
The national and local governments need to have responsive plans to monitor and deal with volcanoes during an eruption. The government is responsible for increasing awareness in communities where there is a chance of a volcano hazard.
Firstly, the government should have volcano monitoring devices and teams, who will also map and identify hazard zones which could be affected by volcanic effects such as pyroclastic flows, mudflows, lava flows, ash falls etc. Such maps should detail specific areas susceptible to each type of hazard and assessments of the magnitudes of these hazards. This information should be made available to the public and communication systems should be set up to warn the public of potential and imminent dangers.
Conversely, refuge zones should also be identified and citizens should be notified of where they should go during an evacuation. If there are several such refuges and transit points, communication systems such as telephones and radios should keep them connected. Tents are not appropriate temporary shelters during volcanic eruptions as they will not hold up during ash falls or falling lava lumps. Appropriate evacuation centers include schools, community centers, warehouses or other large buildings.
Public transportation should be made available to facilitate evacuation for those who do not have personal vehicles. At each safe transit point, evacuees should be identified so that a search can be made for anyone missing. These transportation vehicles need to continually return to evacuation zones as long as conditions such as open roads allow. The pickup points should be made clear and a general poll should be constructed to determine the number of people needing transportation help.
The government also needs to provide first aid, rescue and hospital services. Such services will be needed for three main types of injuries during a volcano eruption: respiratory problems, broken limbs or bruises, and skin burns. Additionally, some victims may be suffering from exposure to carbon monoxide or high levels of carbon dioxide.
Security will need to be provided in evacuation zones. Some citizens will be reluctant to leave during an evacuation to protect their property from looting and burglary, so government security will ensure the safety of their property. Regular police patrols should be provided as long as their lives are not endangered.
After each disaster or evacuation, review and revision need to occur to make future disaster responses more effective.