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Article Review- Public Emergency Laws & Regulations: Understanding Constraints & Opportunities

Details of Article: McCreight, R and Wilson, L. (2012). Public Emergency Laws & Regulations: Understanding Constraints & Opportunities. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 9(2), 19-53.


The article by McCreight and Wilson (2012) is based on the argument that emergency managers have a legal duty in crisis management in terms of reducing negative effects of an incident as stipulated public emergency law. It defines risk management as a continuous process of identifying risks, evaluating them, planning resource, and planning reactions, reporting and monitoring mitigation efforts. McCreight and Wilson (2012) argue that the reaction that follows the event is the most important indication of the effectiveness of crisis management, and it points to the legal issues to be addressed at various levels of government. Moreover, it requires a synchronization of efforts between crisis managers, corporate managers, the local, state and federal governments (McCreight & Wilson, 2012). This articles shows that public emergency laws and regulations do impose both constraints and opportunities for crisis management, hence the need to focus on the legal responsibilities as well as liabilities for crisis managers.


According to this article, the functioning of the public emergency unit largely depends on the operations of the existing legal structures. These can either negatively or positively affect the process of prevention, mitigation and preparedness (McCreight & Wilson, 2012). In extension, the legal structures extend into the financial implications that are often a huge part of crisis management. For this reason, crisis managers are required, now more than ever before, to coordinate their management with corporate organizations and stakeholders. This coordination also has to be aligned with laws and regulations on corporate governance.

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The authors also point out that national planning always incorporates budgetary and legal considerations particularly in high-risk areas that are governed at both statutory and local levels. State legislations should facilitate the distribution of resources based on projected needs and efforts to oversee the delegation of responsibilities at the various stages of operation. Local committees should be selected to take up a hands-on and practical approach. As stated the article, these local community planning committees are responsible for selecting community and emergency coordinators who are required by law to report to senior management so that the team is able to collectively gauge the risk or damage if the event occurs (McCreight & Wilson, 2012).

One of the most important aspects of public emergency that local managers should consider is the identification of available resources and equipment (McCreight & Wilson, 2012). According to this article, the managers are in charge of promoting sustainability and transparency in the acquisition and assortment of equipment across all localities based on need, size and risk factors. Legal requirements outline what safety kits should be availed, the locations where they are most needed and quantity. The managers are thus required to strictly follow a plan that is largely based on planning and projection.

Besides, the authors note that responsibilities that are defined by legal requirements may hinder creativity and flexibility during risks. Accordingly, this article therefore acknowledges clearly the place of the law in the entire process (McCreight & Wilson, 2012). Even so, disasters and hazardous events bring many unforeseen circumstances which then require quick thinking and adjustment of the predetermined strategies. Flexibility by the crisis and corporate team as well as government stakeholders is a necessity (Lerbinger, 1997). This is often a constraint since managers are less likely to take certain actions due to the fear of legal consequences. This situation creates a negative environment of operation in which managers take decisions according to legal specifications that may sometimes be incompatible with the unfolding situations.


This article has effectively drawn attention to the link between crisis management, legal management and corporate management. For these entities to take up a strong, unified sense of responsibility, they must be streamlined during operations and strengthened through communication structures. Community participation is also an important source of information on how to address issues in light of emerging trends and risk faced by members of the community.


Lerbinger, O. (1997). The Crisis Manager: Facing Risk and Responsibility. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

McCreight, R and Wilson, L. (2012). Public Emergency Laws & Regulations: Understanding Constraints & Opportunities. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 9(2), 19-53.