How Disasters Are a Community Affair

April 7, 2014

Natural disasters don’t affect individuals; they affect communities. So much of disaster preparation centers around individual and single family preparedness that it becomes easy to overlook the larger community impact disasters of all kinds have. The importance of initiating community responses to disasters is extremely important since it is the neighborhood community that is going to be the first responder after a disaster. It will be your neighbor helping you clear water after a flood or offer a first aid kit or some food. Outside help from private organizations and the federal government always comes later.

Benefiting from Community Awareness

Every community can benefit from disaster awareness and greater preparation. From having an organized response plan to having a pool of essential resources for distribution to help the neighborhood, a little bit of group planning can go a long way in the aftermath of a disaster. When you consider the devastating power of a natural disaster, you realize that those who live around you can often be the most important resource for recovery. When communities come together to organize a response, the recovery process can be much smoother. When it comes to the reconstruction process, individuals lending time and labor can be invaluable.

A Greater Preparation

Thinking about the greater needs of your community is important when preparing for a disaster. This isn’t to say that you need to do the preparing for those around you–just that people naturally rely on one another in times of hardship or crisis–and working with neighbors to recover from a disaster can be a good approach. Even a gesture as seemingly small as offering someone an extra gallon of water, a first aid kit, or reconstruction assistance can make a difference in the larger community attitude toward a collective recovery.

A shared experience of hardship is known to bring strangers together to formulate a solution and begin recovery. This is not universally true and there are clearly exceptions in people’s generosity towards strangers after a disaster, but neighborhoods that work together and help one another tend to be better off after a disaster. Just as communities with awareness about what goes on in the neighborhood and a concern for the welfare of their neighbors are often safer and happier, the same applies to communities affected by natural disasters. While planning for severe spring weather or making general disaster preparations, include your neighbors in the process and get others involved for comprehensive community awareness and preparation.

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