Due to recent developments, your entire infrastructure has been stretched to its limits. In addition to the crisis that you are trying to address, a recent brushfire has broken out of control. A change in the wind direction has shifted the fire toward your town. Officials have declared a state of emergency and evacuation orders are now in effect for the southern half of your town, which is now directly in the path of the fire.
There is a 300-bed nursing home in the path of the fire. There is also a county jail with nearly 800 residents currently incarcerated, mostly for non-violent crimes. You now have very limited capacity to assist residents in evacuating. You can only evacuate one facility at a time, and you know that there is a real possibility that you may not be able to get to them both in time if the winds pick up and speed the fire along. Which facility will take priority
The Situation Room
Now that you know the situation, you realize that you need to reconvene in your task force and address this situation, even as you are finalizing your work. An extension is not possible, due to the looming possibility of a natural disaster occurring in your community.
Together, your task force must decide whether to evacuate the nursing home residents and staff, or the jail inmates and staff. Apply your leadership style and your disciplinary code of ethics in your decision-making. Discuss the ethical implications of either decision. What ethical code(s) are you applying? What strategies might you recommend to decrease risk factors? Consider, too, how you will handle the press, if the story gets picked up (which is highly likely in today’s 24/7 media cycle).
Lastly, as emerging leaders in your field and in working with other disciplines, what strategies or tactics is your task force using to address this “curve ball” scenario, while still staying on your timeline to deliver a formal emergency plan?
In your task force collaboration area, collaborate on a short report that lays out the following:
How we tried to mitigate harm for the second facility being evacuated? – What were the ethical implications of either decision? What ethical codes did we apply
You may also share any lingering questions you have about how you handled this scenario. It is not easy to make these decisions, knowing that the outcome may be difficult or even tragic.
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