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After Action Report: Whole Community Approach Workshop





Up / What is The Whole Community Appoach? / After Action Report: Whole Community Approach Workshop

West Virginia: A Whole Community’s
Approach to Preparedness & Resilience

July 26, 2011

On July 26 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Volunteer West Virginia, the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety hosted a workshop on whole community emergency planning. The sixty-eight people attending represented federal, state, and local government, Citizen Corps, local health departments, local schools, colleges and universities, churches, the Red Cross, the United Way and other community organizations. They convened in Morgantown, West Virginia. Workshop topics were based on the results of a community disaster preparedness survey conducted by Volunteer West Virginia.

The workshop provided an opportunity for emergency managers, planners, community preparedness experts, and others to participate in discussions about engaging West Virginia residents in their own preparedness and about planning as a whole community. Participants heard from government, private sector, and volunteer agencies on emergency preparedness topics and activities. Guest speakers included representatives from FEMA Region Ill, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc., Delaware Citizen Corps, and federal, state, and local emergency preparedness stakeholders.

West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director and Homeland Security Advisor Jimmy Gianato opened the day with a welcome and encouragement to continue working together in communities and in government to increase community resiliency. MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region Ill Administrator, delivered a presentation on the Whole Community concept and what it means to engage everyone in disaster planning, response, and recovery.

Representatives from the Wood/Wirt County LEPC included Jim Rose, Kristine Green, Bo Wriston, and Rick Sawyer.

The Whole Community concept includes the following tenants:

• Understanding and meeting the true needs of the entire affected community.

• Engaging all aspects of the community (pub/k, private, and civic in both defining those needs and devising ways to meet them.

• Strengthening the assets, institutions, and social processes that work well in communities on a daily basis to improve resilience and emergency management outcomes.

Groups discussed the following three questions:

1. How do we most effectively engage the whole community in emergency management to include a wide breadth of community members (e.g. local and state community representatives, academia, faith-based and community-based organizations, private sector, etc.)?

2. How might we solicit creative assistance in broadening the team to include new partners and develop innovative solutions?

3. How else might we continue to refine this whole community approach?

Notes from the discussion groups

How do we most effectively engage the Whole Community?

• Groups to Consider:

- Phone companies

- School Systems

- Churches/Faith-based

- Chamber of Commerce

- Bike Rides, other social groups/activities

- Farmer’s Markets

- Businesses

- National Service Teams: AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)

- Seasonal Employment/Employers

- Insurance Companies

• Make preparedness relevant & interesting, use games

• Utilize free resources such as: PSA’s, local press, free press

• Take information to where people are, make it easy and convenient (like Lunch & Learn presentations)

• Conduct Joint Exercises — include everyone at all phases

• Simplify and Improve Grant funding process

• Utilize existing organizations and non-traditional partners, i.e. Social/Fraternal Clubs

• Invite your naysayers

• Process needs to be open and systematic

• Need leaders from each group/community

• Choose meaningful things to work on

• Liability issue needs to be resolved

• Need to build confidence in federal programs to protect privacy information

• Need mental health at the table

• Need business leaders — they have expertise and resources

• Join up with other counties/regions — need to look at bigger playing field

• Notify the community about your efforts, use community anchors, begin with a conversation, learn history and motivators

• Plan differently and be flexible — change the day to fit the need/community

• Educate internal and external audiences on each emergency responder’s role

• Identify vulnerable community groups

How might we solicit creative assistance to broaden the scope of partnerships?

• Value Diversity, honor & respect all input and all cultures

• Take advantage of new media, web 2.0, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

• Use and Design Incentives/motivations

• Use statistics to show why it is important to get involved

• Bring a friend to include target populations

• Use unique events creatively (babysitting vs. emergency training)

• Use volunteer resource center

• Tap into new resources


• Use a common language, ditch acronyms

• Send personal invitations

• Ask what can we do for you

• Design a Peer Share Program; pull in local counties/regional to assist small counties/communities

• Community resource mapping — identify resources — figure out who has not been asked before, volunteer registry

• Bring in pharmacists — delivery info in prescriptions

• Put info in grocery bags and gas stations

• Pass out info at blood drives

• Get message in mail order industry

• FEMA Disaster Application for phones

• Emergency warning system for cell phones

• Notable faces and names delivering keys messages

• Real life survivors testimonies

• Leverage your community partners on projects where staff is short

How else might we refine/sustain the idea of whole community?

• Make it sustainable, self perpetuating

• Don’t stop growing

• Identify leaders

• Continue to train, reinforce, identification, & say thank you!

• Use available grants

• Document (systematically) the process, don’t reinvent the wheel

• Better have good contact records

• Identify skill level within community

• Need to invite more people into meetings

• Public needs to feel their comments are welcome

• Community leaders need to be more open/honest

• Identify evacuation routes and make available to the public/community

• Instill responsibility as a way of life

• Empower community to be their own emergency management superheroes

• Be aware of how procedures limit participation of some stakeholders

Down and read the complete report

Last updated Wednesday January 11, 2012 03:08 PM



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