Keywords: ethics, emergency management, human relations, disaster management, moral worth, emergency response, disaster response, rights, duties, ethical response
Emergency management and ethics
Though ethics underlie emergency management in important ways, they have received insufficient attention in the mainstream academic and professional literature. This has led to the problem of people being insufficiently addressed as beings of moral worth in disasters, in spite of the overall claim that the responses are for their benefit. In the emergency field they can instead be treated as objects without rights and to whom duties are not owed, instead of subjects with rights and to whom duties are owed. How ethical systems are applied to disasters though, may require reexamination due to the shifting nature of disasters and the context within which they occur. In particular, the assumption of a return to a pre–existing normalcy may become increasingly invalid in contemporary social systems, and environmental values are likely to assume increasing importance as the environment continues to degrade as a result of human activities.