Sustainable City Network hosted this 4-hour online course for anyone responsible for initiatives related to resilience and disaster recovery planning.
Instructed by planning guru James Schwab, this intensive course explores how civic leaders can plan ahead for the aftermath of man-made or natural disasters to rebuild more resilient communities that are better prepared to face future emergencies.
There is a growing understanding in many U.S. communities of the value of planning for post-disaster recovery not only after a disaster has occurred, but before it has ever happened? The functions of these two kinds of plans are very different, but the first can lay the groundwork for much greater success in the second. This course explores how civic leaders can use both to rebuild more resilient communities better prepared to face future emergencies.
This course consists of two two-hour segments. The first reviews the overall concept of recovery planning and the need for widespread involvement by various sectors of the community. It discusses the general meaning of resilience as a precondition to understanding how pre-disaster planning for recovery enhances resilience. With that background in place, most of the first segment is then devoted to an in-depth discussion of what communities can achieve through pre-disaster plans for post-disaster recovery:
• Building a local culture of disaster awareness;
• Providing a focus for pre-disaster exercises;
• Establishing clear lines of responsibility for recovery efforts;
• Reviewing financial needs for long-term recovery; and
• Establishing policy priorities to guide recovery efforts.
The second segment begins by summarizing how this sort of preparation can facilitate much more efficient recovery efforts in the event of an actual emergency or disaster. The immediate aftermath of a real disaster is the worst possible time to develop the needed working relationships among agencies and institutions, and across jurisdictional lines and between levels of government. Having these in place invariably expedites recovery efforts and improves resilience in the process. This second segment walks participants through the kinds of information a community needs to gather quickly regarding the nature and extent of damage, assessing the scale and spectrum of the disaster and why that matters in assessing recovery needs, and how to involve the public in meaningful long-term recovery planning. Both segments, but particularly the second, review relevant policy sectors that must be addressed for a comprehensive effort at long-term recovery.
Throughout the course, we also discuss nagging and difficult questions pertaining to social equity, protecting vulnerable populations, and environmental justice.