Editor’s Note: Veronica Taylor is a consultant specializing in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. She previously worked with The Patterson Foundation to help deepen its understanding of the disaster space. As a guest blogger, she will cover issues relevant to the disaster sector.
The term Whole Community seems a bit daunting. Where do you start?
Remember several blogs back when a presented the Disaster Funding Decision Model? I said, if complexity can be reduced, a disaster becomes less severe and less traumatic, disruptive, and damaging. The same applies to the Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management.
Think of it as a matrix. First, we apply six strategic themes.
- Understand community complexity
- Recognize community capabilities and needs
- Foster relationships with community leaders
- Build and maintain partnerships
- Empower local action
- Leverage and strengthen social infrastructure, networks, and assets.
Now, across the top of the matrix, list the five areas of Emergency Management:
This is the framework to develop a Whole Community. The following action questions will help complete the matrix:
- How can we better understand the actual needs of the communities we serve?
- What partnerships might we need in order to develop an understanding of the community’s needs?
- How do we effectively engage the whole community in emergency management to include a wide breadth of community members?
- How do we generate interest in disaster preparedness to get a seat at the table with community organizations?
- How can we tap into what communities are interested in to engage in discussions about increasing resilience?
- What activities can emergency managers change or create to help strengthen what already works well in communities?
- How can communities and emergency management support each other?
Still spinning? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.