Community-Centered Preparedness & Response
Disaster and emergency preparedness and response, by default, fall on federal, state, and county governments. They strategize on how various emergencies are to be handled and often manage and oversee the plans, agencies, and other resources related to this responsibility. However, when disasters happen, it is often the impacted communities that step up as first responders, and in some cases, may be the only responders for days or even weeks as we’ve seen in places like Puerto Rico.
We must recognize the important role that community-centered response plays in every disaster and strive to better support it. That means that: (1) we invest more in how the communities of Hawaii organize and share important information related to preparedness and response best practices and (2) we better integrate communities into the institutional plans and response processes.
Being involved in the the April 2018 Kauai Floods and working at the community-level was an eye opening experience. Large gaps were revealed. These inefficiencies poses significant risk, one that we cannot remain complacent about. We see this experience as an opportunity to improve stakeholder engagement in disaster response.
We have identified a number of key solution areas and are moving to support the communities of Hawaii through direct engagement and network building.
At the same time, we are working to grow our relationships with the traditional responders to understand the plans and processes by which they operate. Through establishing and growing relationships, we hope to bring more connection and efficiency to the overall landscape of preparedness and response throughout Hawaii.
If you are interested in connecting with this growing community-centered network or have questions about this work, please contact us.