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.
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
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,
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.
The word resilience is defined as a process linking a set of adaptive capacities to a positive trajectory of functioning and adaptation after a disturbance. Since reading that gives me a minor headache, it can be more simply defined as the power or ability to return to an original form after being altered. So, this is to say, how quickly can a community recuperate after a devastating tornado? Or how much success can an airline have after a plane crashes do to a preventable technicality? Therefore increasing resilience would increase stability. According to the assigned article,
resilience can be described as a set of networked adaptive capacities.
This involves information and communication, community competency, social capital, and economic development. These include details such as responsible media, skills of infrastructure, community action, flexibility and creativity, perceived social support, sense of community, and fairness of risk and vulnerability to hazards.
Many of the action steps that we have discussed in class are viewed in the reading as ways to increase community resilience. All in all, preventing, reacting, and planning must be taken into consideration in a hazardous situation in order to increase the likelihood of resilience. Without planning for possible events of crisis, proper techniques and resources will not be at the hands of organization, cities, etc. Reacting efficiently and activating clear and relative communication immediately after a crisis and in the aftermath of a crisis allows the public and members directly effected to feel that normalcy can once again be achieved. Finally, taking learned lessons from the hazardous events and acting upon them will help to instill a since of preparedness that will ultimately complete the cycle of resilience.
Applying an example to a situation from the statements above, we can look at the crisis of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many felt that the
planning by the government was insufficient and had much to do with the ease in which the terrorists were able to enact their plans. Whether or not this is actually true, the media portrayed it to be so in many situations, and therefore the idea was put in the mind of the public eye. The immediate aftermath of the attacks included a vast amount of reactions to the situation. The government started to make plans of war, acts of security, public apologies etc. Organizations and media began to spread messages and feelings of community via radio and TV ads, as well as donations and aid to the relief. In the later aftermath, prevention tactics were enabled throughout the United States, many of which we use still use today. Airport security was heightened immensely after the attacks, and is still at a much higher level today then it was previously to the attacks. We are still involved in war a decade later, which has the overall goal to keep us safe and prevent the ability for any other attacks.
From this example as well as all other examples of resilience, it is apparent that a lot of work often must go into creating normalcy after a hazardous event. While this can be achieved by planning, reactions, and preventative steps, it is important to remember that though resilience is strived for, the community, organization, etc. effected by the event must gain knowledge and grow from it, or the point of resilience would not exist.
A resilient community is capable of bouncing back after a disaster. This is effective when communities prepare for any disaster including economic, social, and environmental change. As Norris et al. describes in the article “Community Resilience as a Metaphor, Theory, Set of Capacities, and Strategy for Disaster Readiness,” community resilience as a set of networked adaptive capacities. Following these steps reduce vulnerability:
1. Communities must develop economic resources, reduce risk and resource inequities and attend to their areas of greatest social vulnerability.
2. Local people must be engaged meaningfully in every step of mitigation process.
3. Pre-existing organizational networks and relationships are the key to rapidly mobilizing emergency and ongoing support services for disaster survivors.
4. Interventions are needed that boost and protect naturally occurring social supports in the aftermath of disasters.
5. Communities must exercise flexibility and focus on building effective and trusted information and communication resources that function in the face of unknowns.
Communities that practice and prepare for disasters using these steps are less likely to be vulnerable and react positively after a disaster. The following video shows how the country Nepal prepares for natural disasters that they are prone to.Residents of Nepal actively teach children in schools and neighboring communities how to act before, during, and after a disaster
Although we cannot always predict when a disaster will strike, Americans are knowledgeable of how to prepare and act during crises. This knowledge reduces risk and allows communities to work together to establish strong resilience.
As we all know, disasters such as a tornado or earthquake can happen at any time with little to no warning, making it important to be prepared at all times. Disaster preparedness is a particularly hot subject right now. With the disaster in Joplin, hurricane Irene, and September being national disaster
preparedness month, there is no shortage of information out there to find. The site that I found may be basic, but http://www.ready.gov/ has everything you could want to know about disaster preparedness. They have instructional videos on how to get ready, different tips for different situations, and even a comprehensive list of essential items for a survival kit. If you don’t feel like compiling your own kit, however, you can always check out http://preparedness.com/. If you can think of an item you would need in a disaster situation, it can be bought from them. Finally, I had to link this just because I thought it was interesting, the Associated Press released info from a poll about disasters and pets. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jQttZ1560IbNcby_eRndVQbtEMCw?docId=dfbdb7f291e547d983e04d5066132919 This poll showed that while 35% of dog and cat owners have no plan for what they would do with their pet in a disaster situation, 42% of them would not evacuate without the pet. Having pets that I love dearly makes this a very interesting topic to me. While http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html already has some, I’m sure in the near future there will be many new tips and tricks on what to do with your pets in case of an emergency.
I stumbled upon http://everylifesecure.com/ after doing a search for disaster preparedness blogs on Google. Right away I could tell that this site would provide readers a lot of information. It is very organized with sections for different types of disasters ranging from swine flu, tornado’s to volcanic eruptions. The author of the site is also very active with it, unlike many of the other blogs I found. There’s multiple posts a week, and even kept readers very up to date about hurricane Irene. What attracted me most about this site was that it doesn’t just give you the typical boring disaster information. They share posts about products you can use in a disaster, and articles about past and current disasters. The posts make you want to read them rather than just scan over the information without actually taking it in. Overall I just found the site to be very organized and relevant to what was going on with it currently being hurricane season.
This is definitely a site that I would continue to go to for more information, and if I couldn’t find what I was looking for on there, they also direct you to other sites that may provide you with the information that they can’t.
With the recent tornado in Joplin, I decided to find a website with information regarding tornadoes. I really liked the FEMA website: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/tornado/index.shtm. FEMA shared with readers what a tornado looks like, facts about tornadoes, and how to stay as safe as possible when a tornado is approaching. FEMA also provided a link to another website: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/edu/safety/tornadoguide.html. This website is devoted to tornadoes, and is a great link to those interested in this natural disaster.
Another thing I enjoyed about the FEMA tornado website was the tabs they provided for different sections, such as; “Tornado Terms”, “Before a Tornado”, “During a Tornado”, “After a Tornado”. I think it’s very helpful that FEMA is giving step-by-step instructions for their audience. Under the “During a Tornado” tab, the website has a chart. The chart lists different scenarios, like being in a car, outside, in your house, and provides the best option for staying safe. FEMA also provides a link to a weather radio station: http://www.weather.gov/nwr/.
I really liked that the FEMA website provides tabs and information for any stage of a tornado. The website is easy to navigate through and understand.