By Allison G. S. Knox
When it comes to disaster preparedness, home ownership is an excellent analogy to what numerous communities go through when it comes to effective mitigation and preparedness strategies. For instance, home ownership can be a difficult financial burden. The costs of running a home can be expensive – particularly when there is a major expense such as a furnace repair.
In a similar vein, many communities struggle with their budgets. As a result, it is more difficult for local governments to maintain efficient mitigation and preparedness efforts before the big disaster occurs.
For instance, if a community’s budget is limited, that makes it harder for first responders to evacuate individuals and create safe shelters. It’s also more challenging to provide the appropriate resources – such as tools, food, water and medical supplies – during a disaster.
Home Ownership and Disaster Preparedness Require Reaching Out for Aid
Home ownership also makes it necessary to reach out for others for help. For instance, a homeowner may seek financial help from insurance companies or to ask for advice from neighbors. Similarly, communities who want to maintain high-quality disaster preparedness must reach out and work with different local, state, and federal government agencies.
Improving Disaster Preparedness Starts with Changing Internal Agency Culture
If we really get into the psychology of improving disaster preparedness, it’s essential to understand that some of the problems with disaster preparedness involve internal agency culture. Solving these problems is not a simple fix, but they can eventually be solved when EMS agencies seek a greater understanding of other agency cultures and work together to better coordinate disaster response for communities.