Accidents and Catastrophes: King CrossFire 1987 – Case Study Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper "Accidents and Catastrophes: King CrossFire 1987" is a good example of a case study on social science.   The nature of accidents and catastrophes can be classified as manmade and natural events that are of human and ecological significance. Disasters can be classified as biological (epidemic); geological (earthquake); meteorological and hydrological (drought); human conflict (terrorism, war); and technological hazardous (chemicals materials). The Nature of Accidents Man-made accidents can be defined as events that must at all costs be prevented from occurring because if these events are prevented from taking place then their consequences too can be prevented.

Events that have no consequences are termed as “ near misses” which should be carefully analyzed in order to undertake necessary actions to prevent a repetition. Hence, no near miss or an event should be wasted but instead should be used to plan future preventive strategies. An accident produces an emergency which can be handled locally without the help of other authorities, however, if the emergency is not effectively managed then it can turn into a disaster which mainly calls for interaction between public and private organizations which would not have made a joint outsized effort in case of an emergency (Wright 2003). The second component of an accident comprises of the consequences of exactly how much has been learned from a similar accident that has occurred in the past.

Protection from sound procedures; good designs and systems; safety equipment and clothing are all part of a positive attitude towards safe working practices largely because of learning which has occurred from previous incidents. This learning is translated into measures and actions to protect people and property from the possible consequences of a recurrent event. The Nature of Catastrophes A catastrophe can be defined as a rare event having great damaging impacts of human as well as ecological significance.

Hence, the basic characteristics of catastrophes include low frequency of occurrences and as a result, are more difficult to predict while complex interactions also hinder the prediction of a recurrent event. Catastrophes are also irregular despite the common seasonality of tropical storms or floods. Such natural even transcending all natural laws, exceed particular environmental features, for instance, saline soil is open to full seawater at inundation.

The onset of a catastrophic event is mainly rapid and such suddenness often rules out avoidance strategies. A catastrophe is an event that mainly destroys most of a community, prevents aid provision to affected areas, hinders the duties of local officials, and also causes most of the community functions to cease. A catastrophe is a natural disaster that has a significant impact on human society, the economy as well as on the environment. According to The Disaster Database Project by the University of Richmond, disasters requiring immediate emergency attention can be classified into three major classes: conflict based disaster, such as bombing and massacre; human systems failure, such as dam collapse and mine accident; and natural disaster, such as earthquakes. UK Disaster Management Plans The significance of disaster management plans has greatly increased since 2000 due to the intensified coverage given by the media as well as due to the much scrutiny of the public eye regarding the handling disasters and catastrophes.

The United Kingdom has adapted and adjusted its emergency management by a long margin after the events of the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak (2002), the fuel crisis (2001), 9/11 (2001) and severe flooding (2000) which have increased the public expectations from the organizations in charge of managing such major incidents.

These modifications resulted in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA), this act legislated the immediate responsibilities to be carried out by category one and category two responders concerned with emergency management. The UK government had introduced some major structural changes in the legislative framework responsible for civil protection through new allocations of duties to be carried out the practices.

The Civil Contingencies Act, 2004 not only replaces the previous hierarchy of emergency powers but also redefines emergencies. The re-defining of emergency within the Civil Contingencies Act also broadens the roles played by the emergency management community. The Civil Contingencies Act also includes environmental emergencies. The Civil Contingencies Secretariat overlooks the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 by means of Regional Resilience Forums as well as through local authorities. The Act requires responders to carry out risk assessments, these risks refer to the probability of possible emergency events (Walker & Broderick 2006).


(1998). Responding to disaster: human aspects. UK, Emergency Planning Society.

Great Britain. (2004). Civil contingencies Act 2004: consultation on the draft Regulations and Guidance. Norwich, Stationery Office Ltd.].

Ketteridge, A.-M., & Fordham, M. (1995). Planning for floods: the UK emergency planning picture. Enfield, Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University.

Kitchen, T. (2002). Planning in response to terrorism: the case of Manchester, England. Journal of Planning Literature. 16, 561-643.

Langley, A. (2006). The bombing of London 2005. Oxford, Raintree.

The United Kingdom. (1994). UK national report for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. London, UK IDNDR Secretariat, Royal Academy of Engineering.

Walker, C., & Broderick, J. (2006). The Civil Contingencies Act 2004: risk, resilience, and law in the United Kingdom. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Williams, C., Ferguson, M. (2002), "Leisure and tourism industry providers: undervalued in rural resource land management?", paper presented at the UNESCO 2002 Symposium on Tourism and the Natural Environment, Eastbourne,

Williams, C., Ferguson, M. (2004), "The impact of the closure of the UK countryside on leisure and tourism industry providers", Leisure Studies Association Newsletter, No.68,

Wright, A. (2003). Focus: Emergency planning - Public speaking - With UK fire services delivering their integrated risk management plans, Alan Wright emphasizes the need for effective communication. Fire Engineers Journal. 46.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us