by CHI Staff
The longstanding and powerful former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neil, is famous for saying that “all politics is local.” In that vein, it is not a large leap to contend that all emergency management is local as well. When a disaster or event occurs, it is the citizens living in the affected area, and the first responders who serve them, who are on the front lines. A community much be ready to survive for at least 72 hours on their own before help may arrive.
With the beginning of Hurricane Season upon us June 1, it is important to remember to take personal responsibility by having ourselves and our families prepared for storms and other disasters. By securing personal preparedness, first responders are able to address the needs of the community that inevitably develop during an emergency.
The emergency management preparedness manta remains Build a Kit, Make a Plan, Stay Informed. More information on what to include in these kits and other resources for personal preparedness can be found at www.ready.gov.
Beyond personal preparedness, for emergency management to be effective it is imperative to build community resilience. Adelphi’s Center for Health Innovation is working to do just that.
Under our Partnership for Social and Community Resilience, CHI has collaborated with communities to improve the resilience of Long Island residents that were significantly impacted by recent disasters. Through a competitive, self-nomination process, two communities were selected for this program. These two communities differ in population, vulnerabilities, resources, geographic location, and population variation. Both were provided with customized resources from Adelphi University such as experts and training. CHI and University College’s Emergency Management faculty and students worked with recipients, using a guided self-assessment process to determine current needs and capacities.
CHI then assisted with development of a definitive community resiliency program, empowering town officials in the process, and developing public-partnerships that are essential to improving resiliency in a disaster situation. The results are tangible products, for example a town-specific toolkit, a set of public service announcement specific to these townships, and recorded in the prominent languages in those areas.
We continued the overall programming by partnering with the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management to offer multiple trainings for local emergency managers, public safety, and town officials including providing the training on the Public Assistance Program to help town officials to arrange for post-Sandy rebuilding of building infrastructure and the development of building codes that promote resilience.
At the intersection of our physical, community and social health is our vulnerability to disasters. By strengthening our physical and community infrastructure, we strengthen our community’s ability to be proactive and strong. Preparing for disasters is a dynamic process that includes building significant public-private partnerships, outreach and involvement of residents and their neighborhood units and focusing efforts on the most vulnerable in our communities. Just as the physical infrastructure is constantly evaluated and strengthened, so must our communities’ social and community resilience.
Preparedness at both the personal and local levels leads to a more resilient public and one more ready to handle hurricanes and other disasters.