Resilience, is often framed as the length of time it takes to “recover” from a shock to the structure (i.e. hazard/disaster). There is an over emphasis on the speed of recovery versus the quality of recovery. (Haas, Kates and Bowden 1977/Olshansky 2008).
With that said, community resilience is the capability to anticipate risk, limit impact, and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution, and growth in the face of turbulent change.
Currently, United States disaster assistance policy creates dependence and remains largely top down following disasters – does not foster resilience and / or sustainable development. Community resilience takes the opposite approach, bottom up or grass roots efforts. By engaging all members of the community through their respective leaders, each member can understand how they become part of this resilience movement.
Experience has shown again and again that lives can be saved, damage to property can be reduced significantly, and economic recovery can be accelerated by making the proper preparations and plans BEFORE a disaster occurs.
More importantly, community resilience investments made by the businesses and citizens of your community will enhance and strengthen the economic structure, stability and future of your community regardless of when a disaster may
strike. As we all know, we can accomplish more together as a group than as individuals.
The good news is that your community can take the responsibility for alleviating the impact of disasters. Your country elected officials, businesses, and involved citizens can do their part to protect themselves. The reasons may be different in every case: to ensure the safety of citizens; to prevent damage to facilities and delays of business; to protect families and homes. But the desired results are the same —a safer future for your community.
Bonnie is a proud native of New Orleans and has experienced what she calls, “The Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, and BP Oil Spill” disasters first hand. She has had to learn how being resilience leaders to increased performance, achieve stronger relationships, and build mental toughness that we all need in today’s ever increasing busy world.
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