Home > BLOG 5, Crisis Communication > Blog #5: Communication and Community Resilience

Blog #5: Communication and Community Resilience

While Norris et al. was able to compile a list of over 20 difference definitions for the term ‘resilience’, they conclude that the word basically means the ability to succeed despite facing difficulties, or in essence, to be able to adapt. Community resilience, then, can be called a collective group’s (a community’s) ability to push through and adapt to difficult situations or stressors.

Not this kind of stress. Although stressors may make one feel like this.

A stressor can differ in their strength, duration, and how unexpected they were. These stressors also present danger, of which there are two kinds:

  • Known unknowns: These are the dangers that you know are possible, but it can’t be predicted when they will occur.
  • Unknown unknowns: These are the dangers that are new to you and are both unfamiliar and unpredictable.

According to Comfort (2005),

Information may be the primary resource in technical and organizational systems that enables adaptive performance

Resilience

Good communication makes for strong community resilience.

This means having good communication strategies is essential for community resilience, as well as a community’s ability to recover after a crisis. Some such strategies may include:

  • Correctly transmitting correct information from a trusted, reliable source: During a crisis, citizens won’t have a whole lot of spare time on their hands, so it’s imperative they know where they can go to quickly find useful, reliable information about the circumstances.
  • The presence of communal narratives: These are narratives composed by individuals who were directly affected by the crisis and can give in-depth detail of what occurred and how it affected them. These narratives are important to community resilience because they create a shared experience and purpose amongst community members which can make the community feel more connected and, in turn, resilient.
  • The media must be careful how they frame a crisis situation: The media is obviously going to play a large role in how the public perceives what is going on and how others are reacting to a crisis situation. Tierney et al. suggests that if the media exaggerates instances of criminal behavior taking place in a crisis, then police who would otherwise be helping survivors would instead be pursuing criminals, leaving less help for survivors. This would undoubtedly put a damper on community resilience, as the citizens would feel as though the community as a whole isn’t putting the proper effort into adapting and conquering the situation.

These examples are just a few communication strategies which play a huge role in community resilience. As Norris et al., said,

Community resilience has extraordinary value as a strategy for disaster readiness,

Thanks to good communication and strong community resilience, yes, yes we are.

That means it is imperative that proper communication strategies are used to ensure that communities are as prepared as possible for any disaster or crisis that heads their way.

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