• Improving public and private infrastructure and essential services (such as health and education);

• Communicating risks, connecting community networks, and promoting a culture of resilience;

• Organizing communities, neighborhood, and families to prepare for disasters;

• Adopting sound land-use planning practices; and

• Adopting and enforcing building codes and standards appropriate to existing hazards.

This chapter reviews the essential elements of these steps as a means for communities to secure a foundation either to begin, or to help reinforce, initiatives and programs to enhance resilience.


Consensus is emerging among policy makers (DHHS, 2009; DHS, 2010; FEMA, 2010, 2011), practitioners (Patton, 2007; Waugh and Streib, 2006), and researchers (NRC, 2010, 2011b) that collaboration between the private and public sectors can enhance the disaster resilience of a community. Indeed, the National Research Council has released a number of recent reports that spotlight the role of private—public partnerships and collaborative organizational structures in strengthening community resilience to disasters (NRC, 2005a, 2006a, 2009, 2010, 2011b).

The most pressing issue in moving forward with this kind of collaboration is how to involve the community and businesses—both part of the private sector—effectively and productively in decision making and capacity building for disaster resilience. During the course of this study, the committee has identified four mechanisms for engagement that could assist communities in building capacity and becoming an effective part of the decision making process for disaster resilience (Table 5.1). These mechanisms tie back to the risk management cycle outlined in Chapter 2.


Table 5.1 Mechanisms for Community Engagement in Disaster Policy Making

Mechanism Purpose
Development of broad-based community coalitions Rather than just an instrument to secure a community's concrete commitment to disaster resilience, the development of a broad-based community coalition is itself a resilience-generating mechanism in that it links people together to solve problems and builds trust.
Involvement from a diverse set of community members–the "fill fabric” of the community Because no single entity can deliver the complete public good of resilience (see Chapter 3). resilience becomes a shared

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