Community Disaster Management Resources: A Case Study of the Farm Community in Sussex County, Delaware

Author(s)Rademacher, Yvonne
Date Accessioned2012-11-01T17:35:22Z
Date Available2012-11-01T17:35:22Z
Publication Date2012-06
AbstractWhile the expansion of government institutions and programs over the past fifty years has resulted in government taking primary responsibility for emergency management, there is a growing recognition that government cannot do it all alone. This has, among others, led to a quest for a better understanding of societal capital that makes contributions to disaster management, such as the private sector, partnerships with volunteer organizations but also local communities and individual citizens themselves, as is currently pursued through the FEMA’s Ready campaign and Whole Community approach. However, before devising strategies of how to better engage and support communities in disaster management as active participants, the nature of their disaster management resources needs to be better understood. Therefore, this case study examined the disaster management assets of one community group, namely the farming community in Sussex County, Delaware, and the process of how the resources of this particular group have contributed to local disaster management. The conceptual framework for this study was based on the concept of community assets that currently recognizes eight types of community capital and comprises of “active”, “inactive”, “positive” and “”negative” resources – and in conjunction with a simplified classification of the eight categories of Resource Inventory Management for Rural Communities, as defined by the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The study found that there was a striking discrepancy between actually used and perceived community resources. Out of the four broad categories – coordination, assessment, communication, implementation – used to capture the main functional areas, the survey found congruence of perceived and actually used resources in communication and assessment. However, they diverged for implementation and coordination. Farm community resources were primarily used for implementation activities during disaster preparedness. Moreover, the types of resources used by the farm community crystallized into three broad categories: (1) equipment/supplies; (2) experience/lessons learnt; and (3) access to other community and professional networks. While there was an overlap with the NIMS categories of rural community emergency management resources, they did not facilitate an overview and understanding of all of the actual and potential resources of that particular community group. Conceptually, the findings highlight the use of four community capitals – i.e. physical, human, financial and social – as well as the existence of both active and inactive as well as negative and positive resources. Policy recommendations propose, among others, resource mapping strategies to uncover both active and inactive resources, the use of existing communication channels and community networks to reinforce, in particular, mitigation messages and information, as well as a re-conceptualizing of the NIMS categories to allow for the identification of all relevant local community resources.en_US
PublisherDisaster Research Centeren_US
Part of SeriesFinal Project Report;57
KeywordsDisaster Managementen_US
TitleCommunity Disaster Management Resources: A Case Study of the Farm Community in Sussex County, Delawareen_US
TypeTechnical Reporten_US
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