By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Community resiliency is a very important component of emergency management discussions. Community resiliency is the concept that a community will bounce back faster from a disaster if it has established systems in place, which allows people within a community to come together and provide a certain level of support to one another.
The concept of community resiliency is gaining traction in sociological literature. It has proven to be an asset in emergency management as well.
How Community Resiliency Worked for Ellicott City
A great example of community resiliency was shown in Ellicott City, Maryland, when local residents to helped each other to rebuild after the last flash flood. This work will drastically help Ellicott City to recover faster than it would without this network of volunteers.
The Ellicott City flooding devastated the community, tearing up roads and severely damaging cars. Unfortunately, this was not the first time this type of major flooding had happened in Ellicott City. In fact, the town had been impacted by a major flood only two years earlier, which caused similar severe damage.
A recent article published by the Baltimore Sun explained that other Howard County community residents are raising funds and volunteering to help Ellicott City’s rebuilding efforts. Considering that Ellicott City has already suffered two major floods, this network of volunteers will help the town to prepare for another major flood if it should happen again.
Emergency Managers and Local Governments Should Incorporate Volunteer Groups into Disaster Recovery
The mechanisms for community resiliency are already in place in other areas throughout the country. For example, most towns and cities have numerous volunteer groups that work to improve their own communities.
Emergency managers and local government officials should think of ways to integrate these groups into the recovery process after a major disaster. The work of volunteer groups will help communities to bounce back more quickly from major disasters, while also restoring the spirits of local residents. Ellicott City is a great example of how local volunteerism helps towns and cities to recover faster after the damage caused by a major disaster.