Your community, your response.
Community response planning helps communities understand how they can assist each other after a disaster. The output from the workshops are recorded in the Community Emergency Hub Guides for that community.
The plan is developed by representatives of stakeholder agencies and organisations within the community, who form a working group with the goal of completing and maintaining the plan. The process of developing the plan can be facilitated by an Emergency Management Advisor.
Experiences from around the world show that the communities that get through disasters the best are the ones that already have a history of working together. These communities have formed networks of strong relationships, they know each other and understand how to collaborate and work together, they are aware of the strengths, skills and resources within their community, and they are sensitive to the areas of potential vulnerability. This makes for a vibrant, active community day-to-day, with latent capacity to support each other in times of stress.
Our communities are made up of businesses, organisations, groups, clubs, and households. These all have the resources that they use on a daily basis. These resources will be useful during an emergency. Sharing the knowledge of what and who is in our community increases the opportunities for ideas to flourish, both making our communities better now, and providing solutions during the response to a disaster.
Stockpiling special resources just for a disaster is costly and requires maintenance. Experience has shown that despite the good intentions of those initially setting them up, as the years pass and emergencies drift from being a current focus, these caches become the burden of a well-meaning few, and soon become poorly maintained as energy and interest wains. The assets that are used everyday provide a considerably more sustainable and appropriate resource for an emergency.
The focus of most progressive emergency management organisations around the world is shifting to building social capital; the value of connections between everyone in the community.
The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office assists communities in building resilience when a community has generated their own interest and enthusiasm to invest in some localised work.
The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office facilitate a workshop series that help our communities to understand their risks and how they can help each other before, during and after a disaster; setting the expectation that people should take ownership and help each other rather than waiting for official assistance during an emergency.
The goal of the programme is twofold; empower our communities to support each other during an emergency, and look for ways to foster more relationships within the community, which in turn builds resilience.
While identifying key strengths, vulnerabilities, resources, and solutions in the locality, the facilitated activities also highlight what gives the community its sense of character. This has contributed to community visioning projects by various residents and business associations for use in their endeavours.
In order to foster relationships, the workshop activities lead to identifying local community-driven projects (not necessarily directly related to emergencies or resilience) that locals have interest and energy to make happen in and for their community, bringing people together in the process.
This programme is only successful if based on an existing genuine interest driven by the local community. We would like to collaborate with a range of local groups and interested individuals, in organising the event and encouraging their friends, neighbours and workmates to get involved.
If you’d like to be part of a community-driven response planning process please contact WREMO's Community Resilience Team.