When an emergency situation such as a natural disaster develops, the first people on the scene are usually police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, or emergency medical technicians (EMT). These are the first responders, and they are trained to react quickly in emergencies. The first responders’ primary task is to make sure people are safe. This includes evacuation, rescue, crowd control, and medical attention. They also make sure that the area where the emergency is occurring has been secured. They redirect traffic and they keep onlookers away. In addition, they try to serve as a calming force, keeping panic and disorder to a minimum.
First responders have a unique perspective because they know their localities well; they are familiar with street plans and landmarks, and they also understand the local municipal structure. This can give them an advantage if the disaster that strikes does not devastate the community’s infrastructure. An earthquake or hurricane that levels an entire community leaves little for first responders to work with. Yet they still form an integral component of the disaster relief framework.