Blog 5: Increasing Community Resilience
To know how to deal with community resilience, one must know the definition of the term. To break it down even more, I will define the two terms, resilience and community. Resilience is defined on http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” In the article by Norris et. all, 2008, community is defined as, “an entity that has geographic boundaries and shared fate. Communities are composed of built, natural, social, and economic environments that influence one another in complex ways.”
To increase community resilience, the city staff in each city needs to work with the surrounding neighborhoods to figure out what resources they need and get the proper resources to those neighborhoods before a disaster strikes. It is important that community members talk with their city staff if they think that are not receiving the help that they should be getting from the city. It is also important that community members be involved in every step of a crisis, whether it be making their voices heard or volunteering at a local food pantry.
Pre-existing organizational networks and relationships are key to rapidly mobalizing emergency and ongoing support services for disaster survivors. This is important because members of a community are going to want to know where they can turn to for help. It is a good idea to have good relationships established with other organizations who can help victims so that if you can’t help them, you can at least point them in the right direction (of someone you trust).
Communities must have a plan, but they must also plan for the unexpected. They must exercise flexibility and focus on getting accurate information out to the public. They must get resources in the event that something goes very wrong or worse than expected. They have to make sure that they get all of the resources that they think they might need before a disaster and make sure that they are ready to utilize other organizational networks for other resources that they may not have expected to need during or after a crisis.
For more information on how to plan and prepare, go to http://www.fema.gov/plan/index.shtm