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A whole community approach to emergency management: Strategies and best practices of seven community programs

Robyn K. Sobelson, PhD, Corinne J. Wigington, MPH, Victoria Harp, BA

Abstract


Objective: In 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published the Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action, outlining the need for increased individual preparedness and more widespread community engagement to enhance the overall resiliency and security of communities. However, there is limited evidence of how to build a whole community approach to emergency management that provides real-world, practical examples and applications. This article reports on the strategies and best practices gleaned from seven community programs fostering a whole community approach to emergency management.

Design: The project team engaged in informal conversations with community stakeholders to learn about their programs during routine monitoring activities, site visits, and during an in-person, facilitated workshop. A total of 88 community members associated with the programs examples contributed. Qualitative analysis was conducted.

Results: The findings highlighted best practices gleaned from the seven programs that other communities can leverage to build and maintain their own whole community programs. The findings from the programs also support and validate the three principles and six strategic themes outlined by FEMA.

Conclusions: The findings, like the whole community document, highlight the importance of understanding the community, building relationships, empowering action, and fostering social capital to build a whole community approach.


Keywords


emergency management, whole community, best practices

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2015.0247

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