Disasters are a community affair, but so often planning and preparation excludes large scale community efforts to improve disaster resistance. This type of extensive community planning can help to alleviate some of the stress and chaos in the aftermath of a disaster. Finding ways to become better prepared for a natural disaster is in the interests of everyone in a community–from emergency responders to the average local.
Good disaster planning tends to trickle down and can positively affect individual preparation levels and, in particular, interest in becoming better prepared. This kind of coordinated planning takes on many forms, from municipal meetings and fundraising to food drives and disaster situation rehearsals. More complete disaster preparation efforts can save lives, preserve infrastructure, and help reduce restoration and recovery costs after a disaster.
Raising awareness about disasters–regionally specific ones in particular–is the first part of any successful community disaster plan. Understanding the specific risks in your area and community and working to create an awareness campaign to spread knowledge and information on preparing for disasters on a household and greater community level is a foundational stage in disaster planning. Providing information on post disaster relief resources like shelters and food pantries is an important part of raising awareness among people. Encouraging people to plan ahead and create emergency response kits is also a good measure. Emergency stocks of food, water, first aid, flashlights, batteries, and other essentials is good individual planning that can make a community more prepared overall.
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Raising awareness also comes back to raising money for disaster improvements in infrastructure and aftermath resources. Many communities have infrastructure that is severely lacking in disaster resilience. Fortifying and retrofitting buildings to better withstand disasters and protect those inside is an extremely valuable investment for communities. Funding for these things can be hard to come by, but by organizing and stressing the importance of preparing a community’s public infrastructure, disaster funding can become an integral part of a city budget. Many injuries and deaths during and after disaster can be mitigated through more resilient infrastructure and more comprehensive pre-planning, so these improvements are a life saving investment.