AMU Emergency Management Fire & EMS Original Public Safety

Why Disaster Preparedness Is Similar to Home Ownership

By Allison G. S. Knox
Edge Contributor

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.

Related link: Financial Donations Are Often Better for Community Recovery

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.

Related link: Improving Emergency Medical Services in Rural Communities

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.

Related link: EMS Agencies: Creating Government Accountability and Trust

Allison G.S. Knox

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at the University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison works as an Intermittent Emergency Management Specialist in the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response. She also serves as the At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences, chair of Pi Gamma Mu’s Leadership Development Program and Assistant Editor for the International Journal of Paramedicine. Prior to teaching, Allison worked for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. She is an emergency medical technician and holds five master’s degrees.

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