FEMA is looking for ideas about how to increase public participation in emergency management and homeland security. As a part of that search they’ve made available a paper describing some of the policy challenges associated with creating resilient communities.
As described in an email from a colleague:
Over the last several months, we have engaged a diverse range of people, organizations, and professions from across the Nation. Our goal is to learn what works well in local communities before an incident occurs and to connect these successful activities, networks, assets, and processes to preparations to withstand, respond, mitigate, and recover from emergencies.
…We would like your comments on a working paper, Policy Challenges in Supporting Community Resilience. (The 29 page paper can be downloaded at this link.) This paper explores how governments can better engage with the public to increase locally-organized disaster resilience and empower citizens and local institutions to take an active role in protecting themselves and their communities.
In particular, we would appreciate your thoughts on the following questions:
- Do the themes and concepts outlined in this paper resonate with you? Please describe.
- Are there additional characteristics (i.e. themes) that are important to consider?
- Have you seen greater resilience in places where communities have been engaged in emergency management activities? Please share examples.
Please submit your reactions and comments on the themes, challenges, and overall approach presented in this paper by Monday, February 11, 2011 to “FEMA-Community-Engagement@dhs.gov”.
The paper also asks for comments on such policy issues as:
- What are the best and smart practices among government and private sector agencies and social sector organizations in listening to, learning from, and engaging with community groups (including the general public) in local neighborhoods?
- What experiences at the local level activate and sustain local residents? interest and involvement in resilience activities? What information do they need to motivate behavioral change and trigger preparedness activities? How are these activities organized? How do these resilience-oriented activities compare with insights from other research and policy literature on why and how communities engage in non-emergency, non-security related activities?
- What specific barriers do diverse communities face in participating in resilience activities? What types of support do communities need once they have decided to ‘do something,’ including access to sources of expertise (people and guidance documents) or equipment and other assets? Who do they think this should come from?
- What “entry points? exist for building an effective exchange between communities and national governments on resilience policies?
- In what ways is each country [the paper describes UK and US experiences] working to build support for action on community resilience among various levels of society and policy makers, ranging from officials and political leaders to citizens and local responder organizations?
- How might a whole community approach to emergency management work in your community?
Again, if you have any reactions to the ideas in the paper, please email them to “FEMA-Community-Engagement@dhs.gov”.