Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider the role of communities during crises

Community members are often the first individuals to respond to a disaster, and are often present to support recovery long after the immediate risks end. Throughout COVID-19, communities have demonstrated how they are part of a local resilience capability. We have seen them respond on an unprecedented scale, and in a diversity of ways. This presents an opportunity to increase preparedness for, and resilience to, future crises by recovering and renewing community capabilities. Consider:

  • Encourage dedicated community resilience programmes and volunteer groups (or formally recognise current groups that are already working to build community resilience):
    • Identify if additional funding is required for these groups to continue their work
    • Support online groups (e.g. Facebook groups) as community resilience initiatives
    • Appoint a liaison to support communities and volunteers
    • Help increase the volunteer capacity and resources available where asked
    • Initiate activities to retain the volunteers from the pandemic, develop targeted recruitment of new volunteers, and convert 'spontaneous volunteers' into organised volunteer roles (seeISO 22319 'Guidelines for planning the involvement of spontaneous volunteers')
  • Establish modular training programmes to ensure that communities are equipped with the knowledge, skills, abilities, resources and tools that enable them to respond to emergencies and optimise the delivery and achievement of long-term recovery and renewal goals following crises (e.g. CERT, USA):
    • Identify the range of skills that may be required, and when, covering a broad range of potential crisis events
    • Tailor training programmes, by supplementing core community response training with targeted training that reflects geographical factors and the likelihood of certain events (e.g. floods)
    • Ensure training incorporates a variety of learning styles, such as classroom based learning, hands on skills demonstrations (e.g. using a fire extinguisher/first aid), and simulation exercises that replicate disasters
    • Offer classroom based training online, and at times that take family/work commitments into account, to maximise potential engagement
  • Develop a training package for emergency responders that educates them on how to manage the potential that volunteers offer during a crisis
  • Familiarise emergency responders and volunteers with each other through collaborative training/simulation exercises
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