Conduct research to obtain information from your local planning department, community affairs, housing agency, or from the U.S. Census, and identify where low-income or minority populations live in your community (or a nearby city in your state if you are unable to find specific data on your local community). Now, identify the hazards that may be present there. Consider the following hazards:
common local disasters, and
any other important data.
Are minority populations living in areas that are more vulnerable to hazards than other sectors of the community? If so, what might you do in the future as an emergency manager to plan for future elements of disaster resilience to safeguard all members of your community?
Develop a paper at least two pages in length (title page and references do not count toward the page requirement) that discusses actions you would take to develop a plan of resilience. Make sure to include the following, using the information you researched above:
- Identify your community, the vulnerabilities, as well as the location where vulnerable populations reside.
- Discuss future mitigation and preparedness actions you would take to develop a disaster resilient community.
- Examine the role of disaster resilience in emergency planning in this community.
- Analyze the future of risk management within this community.
- Discuss mitigation and preparedness actions that can be taken in this community.
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VII
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
- Analyze ways to plan and prepare for an emergency or
- Examine the role of disaster resilience in emergency
- Analyze the concept of crisis
- Analyze the future of risk management within the field of emergency
- Examine the principles of effective disaster
- Discuss mitigation and preparedness actions that can be taken within disaster
|Course/Unit Learning Outcomes
1.1, 2.1, 3.1
|Unit Lesson Chapter 13
Video: Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Overview
Unit VII Assignment
Required Unit Resources
Chapter 13: Disaster Resilience: Living with our Environment
In order to access the following resource, click the link below.
FEMA. (2021, January 26). Homeland security exercise and evalution program (HSEEP) overview [Video].
A transcript and closed-captioning are available once you access the video.
The past units have discussed the many concepts that must be considered when planning for mitigation and preparing for disaster. There has been a focus on integrating various organizations, and these past units have taught us that emergency managers must be knowledgeable in a great many areas. Those in emergency management roles must also see the big picture when working to develop whole community plans and processes for all phases of emergency management. To effectively manage incident response and following recovery, emergency managers must first plan for any potential incidents in their area, whether they be human-caused or natural. While this may seem like a massive undertaking, the development of plans can support decision-making under extreme stress.
Resilience can be defined as the ability to implement activities under the various emergency management phases of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery to return to a sense of normalcy (Sandler & Schwab, 2022). The concept of resiliency is grounded in the creation of a disaster-resilient community that takes into account potential future community development. Sustainability and resiliency go hand-in-hand. This lesson is focused on gaining community support for the hazard mitigation planning process, beyond the requirements for a community to be eligible for various federal grant funding.
Gaining Community Support
The development of a local hazard mitigation plan is inherently a government function. Local governments must work to integrate the whole community into the hazard mitigation planning process. The steps for developing a hazard mitigation plan were identified in earlier units as (a) organizing resources, (b) assessing risks, (c) developing the plan, and (d) implementing the strategies and monitoring progress (Sandler & Schwab, 2022). FEMA’s Local Mitigation Planning Handbook (2013) outlines steps for gaining the support needed to develop the local hazard mitigation plan successfully. One of the first activities should be to identify policymakers’ level of awareness and interest in implementing the hazard mitigation planning process. The planning process itself is likely just as valuable to the community as the upcoming plan. The timing of recent events can also be a contributor to community interest in strengthening resiliency and minimizing risks.
Accessing Interest and Identifying Resources
Identifying the level of support and potential resources before the hazard mitigation planning process can occur is an essential first step. Without support from elected officials or senior administration leadership, there is no potential success in developing and maintaining the hazard mitigation plan. The first step of identifying the level of knowledge that elected officials might have in the hazard mitigation planning process can help frame a logical approach to provide them with additional information (FEMA, 2013). This additional information should include how the community’s comprehensive development plan, land use and zoning, National Flood Insurance Program participation, and potential availability for other federal assistance can be impacted if the community does not have a hazard mitigation plan. Working with the community to identify specific interests of property owners and other potential stakeholders can lead to the identification of champions who can assist in moving the community forward. These community groups could include social clubs, chambers of commerce, professional associations, and others.
Being realistic about what resources exist for the hazard mitigation planning effort can lead to a smooth process. Spending time to outline labor requirements and subject matter expertise necessary and help establish a timeline for the hazard mitigation planning process. Of course, updating a hazard mitigation plan will be much easier than the development of an initial hazard mitigation plan. Shortfalls and resources may be addressed if there are planning grants through FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program or grants or technical assistance from other federal agencies. Community development block grants may be a good option, or working with an agency like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a joint-mapping project may be valuable. If there is a multijurisdictional hazard mitigation plan at the local level, much of the base mapping and potential risk assessment processes may have already been undertaken. For instance, if a city is within a county that has adopted a hazard mitigation plan, but the city has yet to do the same, it may be able to utilize much of the existing risk assessment. Using surrounding community plans may also provide map layers and other information about hazards.
The Planning Teams
Hazard mitigation planning may require the development of various planning teams. These may include aligning organizations with similar interests and focus areas, organizing subject matter experts into specific teams, and establishing a broad steering committee to guide the several working teams. The creation of agreements between participants on planning teams can help ensure that there is a continuous effort focused on the primary mission of reducing long-term risks and keeping the planning teams within their prescribed boundaries. Of course, the planning process and team development will be driven by the overall goal of the planning process with a focus on the primary mission established based on the resources available to the community.
Establishing planning teams also allows for public participation, both on the teams and in providing feedback on their work. Utilizing social media and the involvement of the citizenry can help identify champions for the efforts in building a resilient community. Special events can be utilized to share information with the public on the activities and what the hazard mitigation planning process will lead to. Local radio talk shows or podcasts may be an excellent opportunity to share efforts of the hazard mitigation planning process. Often, local schools have news websites, clubs, or activities that can help message the importance of the hazard mitigation process.
Prioritizing Mitigation Actions
As a hazard mitigation plan is created, it will become evident that activities to mitigate all hazards cannot be accomplished with the resource available. One of the challenges in the decision-making process is identifying where resources should be allocated for something that may never be seen in those who are making these decisions. The challenge is that risk minimization is measured by events that never occurred (Bremmer, 2002). For instance, a community with a limited tax base may be interested in development that might not benefit the community in the long run. Elected officials might consider waiving potential development impacts and providing tax benefits for development in depressed areas, potentially leading to increased risks from existing hazards. Knowing these political influences important in crafting the initial hazard mitigation plan and any updates to the plan. Aligning mitigation actions with potential successes can keep long-term projects and hazard mitigation activities focused on risk minimization in the planning processes.
Bremmer, I. (2022). The power of crisis: How three threats – and our response – will change the world. Simon & Schuster.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2013). Local mitigation planning handbook. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/fema-local-mitigation-planning- handbook_03-2013.pdf
Rubin, C. B., & Cutter, S. L. (2020). U.S. emergency management in the 21st century: From disaster to catastrophe. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
Sandler, D., & Schwab, A. K. (2022). Hazard mitigation and preparedness: An introductory text for emergency management and planning professionals (3rd ed.). Routledge. https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781000436020