Community Resilience refers to the adaptation that the population undergoes following a disaster.
There are many important communication strategies that need to be implemented in order to reach this sense of resiliency:
- One of the most important concepts of communicating to stakeholders during and after a disaster is to make sure that they are going to trust and listen to the source of information. It has been found that audiences are more likely to listen to a familiar source. Therefore, sometime it is better to send out information through a local source rather than and unknown national source.
- It is also important to keep messages short, simple, and easy to remember. Detailed plans are often less effective then short, direct ones.
- Community members need to understand their risks in order to collectively and flexibly get through and overcome disasters. Along with this, make sure members of the community are involved and understand each step of the adaptation.
- Make sure that those directly affected by the disaster have some sort of social support system directly after the disaster as well as in the months and even years to come. Many people may suffer from PTSD and will need this support to adapt to the “new normal.”
- Give members of the community a chance to help out and have a say in certain decisions. This empowerment will help members work together for the common good of the community and feel that they have a part in the adaptation.
- Allow members of the community to share their stories. This is a way for community members to relate to one another and understand that they are not alone. Members can reflect on what has happened and look forward to what is to come. An interesting case study on this specific strategy is September 11th. Many people have shared their stories over the years and now 10 years later there is a sense of resiliency and oneness.
- Finally, it is important to be prepared for uncertainty. You cannot have a plan for everything and therefore should have a plan to not have a plan.
Disasters happen all the time and it is important for communities to learn how to work together and communicate with one another in order to adapt to changes and learn to cope with the “new normal.”