Why Is It Important To Engage Communities In Preparedness Efforts? There are lots of reasons why it is important, keep reading to see the reasons.
Risk from natural hazards exists in every community and nation. It could mean the difference between life and death for individuals and households to engage in preparedness activities of varying quality and quantity.
One of the most important factors in saving lives during disasters is community preparation for natural hazards
Take for instance, Australia was hit by more than 310 natural disasters between 1967 and 2013, costing the country more than $171 billion. Bushfires, floods, cyclones, and storms accounted for 93% of all disasters and 96% of all losses in Australia. Natural hazard disasters were on the rise, with the current cost to the Australian economy exceeding $38 billion per year and projected cumulative costs of over $1.2 trillion over the next 40 years under a low emissions scenario.
The Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities has called for increased investment in disaster resilience strategies, particularly community preparedness.
In flood preparation, it has been demonstrated that this kind of investment has measurable effects at the community level and preparing infrastructure for various hazards.
Self-reliance, risk awareness, and capacity building are necessary for approaches that build on collaborative community-based disaster preparedness.
Why Is It Important To Engage Communities In Preparedness Efforts?
- When organizations take the time to engage with their communities, they gain a better understanding of the community’s needs and assets. This leads to increased preparedness and resilience. Plans and actions for preparedness that are more effective and efficient are developed as a result of this understanding.
- Community engagement also builds trust between the organization and the community which is necessary for efficient emergency coordination and communication.
- Participation and support from community members that are engaged. Communities that are engaged are also more likely to support and participate in recovery and response efforts. Community members are more likely to trust the organization and work together to rebuild after an emergency when they feel included in the process.
- People are more likely to persevere in the face of adversity when they are involved in preparedness activities and feel like they have a stake in the process. Community engagement increases resilience. That is an effective strategy for fostering social cohesion among community members necessary for rebuilding after a disaster.
- Community involvement is crucial to both individual and organizational preparedness. Engaging communities in preparedness initiatives has numerous advantages, including improved preparedness and resilience. It also increases participation in preparedness activities and enhances emergency communication and coordination. In this, every industry has a role to play. The media, the private sector, NGOs, and local governments must all participate in preparedness efforts.
- Being prepared is crucial for individuals, families, communities, and businesses. By preparing for an emergency, individuals and families can lessen the impact that an emergency will have on their lives by being ready to respond to and recover from an emergency.
In terms of preparedness, individuals, families, businesses and communities all play a part. Understanding the risks and hazards that could affect your community is the first step toward being prepared. You can take measures to safeguard yourself, your family, your business, and your community once you are aware of the dangers and risks.
You can do a lot of things to prepare for an emergency by taking the following actions:
- Creating an emergency kit, creating a communication plan for your family, staying informed about the risks and hazards that can affect your community, protecting your property, preparing your finances, and receiving training in first aid and CPR. Keep in mind that being prepared is a shared responsibility. Preparation is the responsibility of every individual.
Community preparedness as a whole is everyone’s responsibility. It requires everyone, not just the government, to participate in preparedness efforts. Everyone can contribute to the nation’s resilience in the face of threats like natural disasters, terrorist acts, and pandemics by cooperating with one another.
The Whole Community comprises:
All levels of government including state, local, tribal, territorial, and federal partners; individuals and families including those with access and functional needs; businesses; faith-based and community organizations; nonprofit groups; schools and academia; media outlets. The phrase “whole community” appears a lot in preparedness materials because it is one of the guiding principles. It has two implications:
– Involving people in the creation of documents regarding national preparedness.
– Ensuring that the content of the materials reflects their roles and responsibilities.
- Communities are involved in disaster planning, mitigation, and recovery, as well as acting as first responders. They are able to prepare for disasters, anticipate problems before they occur, and effectively respond to natural hazards thanks to their knowledge and expertise.
- Communities play a role in educating individuals about risks and ways to reduce them. Residents are better equipped to take precautions, adhere to guidelines, and adopt practices that will assist them in avoiding or minimizing threats when they learn about risks.
- Relationships are built between communities and elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels. Local leaders establish efficient channels of communication with elected officials at these levels. In order to identify and reduce risks associated with environmental conditions like flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and chemical spills, local governments collaborate closely with cities, counties, and states.
- People who live near hazardous sites, waterways, and fault zones may become concerned about the risk posed by these situations. Communities make decisions about where to focus their attention. In addition, if something happens, they might be anxious about property damage, job loss, or injury. Data-driven decision-making methods should be used by community leaders to figure out which risks call for action and how to best allocate limited resources for prevention and mitigation.
- Communities encourage sector-to-sector collaboration. Effective coordination between communities and federal, state, and nongovernmental organizations aids in preventing effort duplication, lowering response and recovery costs, and improving outcomes.
- Communities gain confidence in their responses’ efficacy. Members of communities frequently believe that they cannot adequately protect themselves from hazards. As a result, leaders must demonstrate to the public how their actions and plans can increase resilience and disaster preparedness.
What methods are utilized to engage communities for preparedness?
According to the findings, there was no one approach that dominated practice. Instead, practitioners adhered to a variety of development, community engagement, and/or consultation frameworks. The International Association for Public Participation framework (IAP2) was mentioned most frequently as an approved strategy for community engagement.
However, a number of additional engagement frameworks that captured how community engagement was carried out emerged across all participants. In the data, community development and more participatory approaches like codesign and community-based emergency management emerged as a strong theme.
For instance, when describing the approach that was used, it was stated that using a strategy for the development of the community or how a participant would like to get involved in the community, it would begin with co-design in an ideal world.
In some instances, it was discovered that an agency’s command-and-control strategy was utilized which reflected the diverse circumstances that emergency managers face.
The attempt to move toward more shared-responsibility community approaches was criticized by a number of participants for its cultural and structural difficulties.
However, despite the absence of a dominant approach to community engagement, the common themes of community development, IAP2, codesign, and command-and-control appear embedded across practitioner approaches, with varying justifications for approaches. The absence of a consistent strategy is significant because it suggests that practitioners must improvise instead of following a clear model of community engagement.