When considering the issue of ethics in engineering, sometimes, a distinction is made between ethics and morals. If to define each of these two terms, moral is taken to refer to generally accepted principles of rights and wrongs in the society in question. On the other hand, ethics refers to more abstract standards which are outlined in the codes of professional ethics. Therefore, the term ‘moral philosophy’ refers to a set of abstract moral standards.
Responsibilities of an Engineer
All engineers should recognize that the utmost merit is the work they do in relation to their profession. It is usually meant to serve the society by attending to its welfare and progress. Engineers increase awareness in the society by transforming nature for the human benefit. It is the responsibility of an engineer to avoid using any material that may lead to a situation that endangers the environment, health, life and rights of other people. Any engineer should carry out their work responsibly and abide to the set laws in the country of application. Particularly, they should ensure that they comply with the working standards fixed in professional laws. Therefore, an engineer is expected to act with a high level of integrity.
Basic Codes of Ethics in the Engineering Profession
Engineers should uphold and advance the honor, integrity and dignity of his profession by:
- Using their skills and knowledge to enhance human welfare.
- Being impartial and honest; they should serve the public, their clients and employers with all expected fidelity.
- Striving to raise the level of prestige and competence in the engineering profession.
- Supporting the technical and professional societies in their disciplines.
Measures to be taken after the disaster:
- Immediately inform the relevant authorities about the disaster so that necessary action can be taken. This is useful since it will ensure that e necessary assistance will be accorded and a relevant department takes charge of their action.
- Evacuation and resettlement of masses from the severely affected areas. In case of fire or a radioactive element being released, human beings should be evacuated to prevent exposure to the causal effects resulting from the radiations. People affected might develop biological problems which might be carried forward to future generations.
- Slowing down the expansion of the project, to reduce the likelihood of severity. The personnel manning the nuclear reactor should ensure that the necessary actions have been taken to reduce the severity. The majority of present-day reactors are remote controlled, and thus can be operated from a distance.
- Report on the environmental consequence of the disaster. This can be proclaimed in the media so as to seek external aid and also stopping potential visitors from the area affected from getting closer to the scene.
- Address the causes of the disaster. Seal the leakage to prevent more dangers. It often turns out that the major problem is a lack of the required skills and knowledge, as well as professional expertise in engineering and nuclear reactors. Allowance for emergency creation other than a combination of events is important. Future amendment to the engineering deficiency in the design of the reactor and operating possible rules making accidents should be addressed. Control the radioactive release by use of chemical and physical means to prevent the further spread of the radiations.
Report from a commission of nuclear experts is published on the effects of nuclear fission in their journal. Radioactivity is, indeed, the most environmentally dangerous issue that affects the entire population in the global perspective. Japan has witnessed this reality more often than any other country as it has felt the pain and anguish of a nuclear conflagration in their first hand experience. This therefore puts Japan in the forefront of fear of the danger exposed by the nuclear leakages due to the crisis stricken power plants. The questions to ask are; are all these fears justified? Are the potential risks as massive as they appear to be? The answer is a yes, though there may be some caveats.
There are basically four different types of isotopes that might have been released at the Fukushima crippled power plant on that fateful day. These include: plutonium-239, strontium-90, iodine-131, and cesium-137 among others. Plutonium-239 is the most worrisome of all these isotopes for a variety of reasons. First, the enormous bulk of the fuel rods are made of plutonium. This implies that it plays a very important role in this process. Furthermore, it is very toxic in relation to the surrounding environment. Plutonium exposure comes from the inhalation process rather than ingestion, as a rule. This, therefore, associates it with lung cancer. Additionally, plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years, which implies that anything currently on the loose in Fukushima could pose threatin up to half a million years from now.
Responsibilities of a Civic Leader in a Disaster
Wherever a serious disaster takes place, it disrupts normal functioning of any society. It also causes significant material, environmental and human loss, which in mostly cases exceeds the ability of a society to come in terms with it, due to the limitation of resources. When such an undertaking is to be put in place in the locality, the authorities should always develop disaster management plans. Disaster preparedness is very important, especially for risk-prone areas.
The government should equip its citizens with the relevant education and training. It is required that every civil servant have some skills in disaster management. This initiative enables citizens to gain necessary knowledge to take preventative measures against impending disasters. The curriculum should be designed to train all students in being able to cope with emergencies and respond to the people’s needs in areas affected, in the quickest possible manner. Some measures that a disaster management team may undertake are evacuating people from the town in danger, and managing the supply and distribution of food and medical care to the injured people.
Engineers, network administrators, security personnel and most government emergency services are key participants of the disaster management and recovery processes. Engineers should be aware of measures and concepts that any other practitioner should use while assessing preparedness for an impending disaster in terms of community life, private sector, and public agencies (Havrilesky, 2010). Disaster preparedness is a plan organized and geared towards disaster loss reduction. It includes mitigation, vigilance, response, and recovery.
For an engineer, the main idea of disaster and hazards research incorporates many things. These include hazards research - it focuses on pre-disaster hazards mitigation and vulnerability analysis. Disaster research is also included in this concept suggesting that response and recovery plans need to be set. Preparedness is understood as an ability to produce effective responses that ensure effective and quick recovery during the time of disaster. These efforts are meant to provide development of a planning process that prepares for a disaster.
As a responsible citizen one should take precautions in any case if disaster strikes or before it appears to happen. It is the duty of each and every responsible person to report any fraught or suspicious characters to the relevant authority. After the disaster has occurred, one should not create commotion, but provide room for disaster managers to cope with the situation. In case one is a resident in the area affected, evacuation is required by the rule of disaster management. Every person who does not play an active role in fighting the disaster should be away and maintain a reasonable distance. If called upon, a good citizen should be available to give evidence of what he witnessed when the disaster took place. This is important when investigation is being done. When a social or business premise is involved, one should take the initiative to pass the information to others so that they may not be caught unaware of the disaster (Marples, 1988). The business should also be prepared with small first aid equipment and fire fighting facilities.
Advice on Disaster Preparedness
Disaster preparedness should take place at all levels of management. May it be in schools, at the civic level, at home or as an individual? In most of the industrialized cities, the local authority has set up measures to ensure public safety when disasters strike. For example, owing to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the evacuation process was found to be a hard task because of the densely populated environment. This is what accounted to most deaths. Thelesson was learnt from that disaster. In many local authorities, areas of residence are planned and located far away from the nuclear plants. It is a government policy to ensure each of its citizens has been equipped with the skills of disaster preparedness at school. It should be a part of the syllabus. A culture of preparedness should be developed in all societies.
These firms involved in mass power generation should have a regular check as statedin the acts governing their existence and the correct report should be tabled and implemented accordingly. In preparing the community at the local level, public members should be educated on cause and effects of terrorism. The relief and emergency organizations should always be funded adequately.
Civilians should form what is known as citizen corps. It is an organ formed voluntarily by the members of the public to keep the community safer, stronger and well prepared to cater for disaster. The engineering body should always certify the work done by members of their profession. This is to ensure that all required codes of ethics in the profession are followed to the letter. Safety measures in buildings should always be provided for in every building.
Engineering Facts and Information about Disaster Management
In our daily production, the product of danger vulnerability is risk that can be given a certain interval, which contributes tothe negativity of its consequences. Engineers define risks by calculating arithmetical values and probability. On the other hand, social scientists are interested in how risks are viewed and how tangible aspects of human nature affect it.
In case authorities give urgent information about the accident, they may end up giving out ungrounded or wrong information. This can mislead members of the public to the extent of causing panic. Reporters may experience problems in gathering information and may exaggerate the accident. The authority is bound to seek the guidance of external experts who will give impartial opinion of the extent and effects of the disaster. The recommendation from the experts is that the government should be truthful and transparent throughout that crisis in order to maintain trust and remove uncertainties in the authority.
The cost of maintaining an Emergency Response Agency is quite high. Likewise, the cost of educating the masses may also stress the available resources. However, the Chernobyl disaster is a good indicator of how great the loss can be as a result of such an accident. Had the local authority created awareness to the public, people could have been evacuated from the scene long before the radioactive elements started leaking to the environment.