When disaster strikes, communities receive attention and support. Response to these events can provide much needed assistance, but what about when the spotlight leaves the victims? Communities still remain affected, and just because an event fades from the news cycle, does not mean it has not permanently affected a community.
An argument is made that resilience doesn’t come without hiccups.
Lasting as long as several weeks…some distress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
The distress of an event leads a community to adapt — a central point in establishing resilience. A community, in order to move on from a disaster, must be able to absorb the shock, redirect the energy in a positive way, and then adapt. It must use the situation in a way that will allow the community to build on what has happened.
Communities that have strong social capital are most likely to adapt. In the case of Joplin, a town that had a closely knit community fabric was able to bond together, respond to the disaster, and quickly find enough help to clear the disaster zone. Joplin had social capital in the sense that the town had no seams tearing it apart before its fabric had to withstand the winds of a terrible tornado.
To access social capital, one of the primary resources of any community, local people must be engaged meaningfully in every step of the mitigation process.
Harnessing social capital bleeds into other areas of resilience in disaster response. With a strong social capital, communities can develop the support needed for everything else: economic resources, organizational networks, interventions, and action plans.
Community resilience is the ability of the community to bounce back after an event has occurred. In order for a community to be resilient actions must be taken before an event to ensure that the community responds in an appropriate manner. Communities that are educated in this way before the event will be able to successfully help the community members afterwards.
Some communications strategies may be able to aid in the increase of community resilience, one of which is making sure that they community works together as a whole. Communities are often made up of many groups:
Cultual & Faith-Based Groups and Orgs
School personnel & Childcare Settings
These groups are like puzzle pieces, as they work to fit together, they create an image or in the case of this blog a common goal.These groups must focus on elements including shared values, participation, responsibilities, support, critical reflection, resources, and most importantly communication.
I think that both of the FEMA training courses fit very well with this course. It’s one thing to just sit and learn from a book about crisis communication, but to actually apply it and see examples is very beneficial, especially to those interested in going into crisis communication. They go more in depth than our textbook does, and provides us with more updated information. I particularly found the second training to be a lot easier to understand, and felt that they didn’t try to cram as much information as they did in the first one.
I’ve included a video below that shows the role of a FEMA employee. Decisions made by him will effect people, and I think that is an extremely important thing to remember in crisis communication. These types of training course are important in that they may help to save the lives of people who are facing a crisis, and teach the important roles that those involved must play.
Both the ICS training and NIMS training provide insite into how these systems work to provide a systematic approach to how FEMA and other organizations work together to reduce the loss of life, property ad harm to the environment. It is necessary to know how these systems work in order to successfully deal with a crisis situation.
One of the most important aspects in the Incident Command System is communication. Without it, the ICS will not be nearly as effective. Like any organization, if communication falls through the cracks the organization will not be able to accomplish their mission, whether it be helping communities get through a crisis, a teacher talking to students, or anything in between. The ICS need to have communication between the members and communities, and communication between all the members. For example, according to the FEMA’s website.
“The Unified Command organization consists of the Incident Commanders from the various jurisdictions or agencies operating together to form a single command structure in the field.”
With so many people coming together, it is important that communication is one of their top priorities. The better the communication is, the better the organization will be able to operate. It is also crucial that organizations such as the ICS communicate with the surrounding community. They need to tell people what to do, how to do it, and how the ICS will help them.
Communication is important for any well-functioning organization. Without proper communication, instructions won’t be heard, information may be missed, and chaos may very well follow. The ICS is such an important organization, they need to make sure members are communicating with each other and with the outside community.