An approach for large-scale disaster planning and action that can be used for COVID-19 recovery work.
Cities, regions, and states across the country are facing a moment of intense turbulence and uncertainty as we wrestle with decades of social injustice in the midst of a global pandemic. Though many communities have planned for or grappled with natural disasters, these new crises are unprecedented and require not only new solutions but new ways of coming up with those solutions.
This time of turmoil provides an opportunity for novelty and innovation and for new alliances to be built around common goals for our cities and communities.
As so many communities face the future after COVID-19, decision makers and community members need tools and guidance to help them take action that will revive communities. The EPA & FEMA Regional Resilience Toolkit provides a framework to help partners across a region define what resilience in the COVID-19 era looks like and clear ways to act on that vision. The Toolkit offers five steps that consolidate varied planning processes, align goals and actions, and make it easier for communities to obtain funding for projects that cut across different planning areas.
The Toolkit offers:
- Communication and outreach guidance and resources for engaging a broad coalition of stakeholders across a region.
- Guidance for project teams who are conducting vulnerability assessments, writing required plans, and implementing projects.
- Clear information and tools that can be used with an advisory group and to bring in decision makers and community leaders to guide the overall action plan and ensure its successful implementation.
- Detailed appendices with worksheets to help inform and guide work, as well as additional information and resources for each step.
The Toolkit is intended for any jurisdiction, no matter the size or capacity or hazards they may face now or in the future. The Toolkit is set up to allow multiple jurisdictions and levels of government to work together for regional scale actions. It is also designed for non-governmental partners and community groups to engage in a more inclusive and holistic process so that resilience actions are guided by core community values.
The goal of this Toolkit is to help cities, regions, and other partners integrate various planning processes – including for hazard mitigation, climate adaptation, sustainability, and equity – into a single process to create a common action plan. The need for a single process is even more important as local government budgets are cut and as so many different agencies and organizations are planning for how to emerge from the pandemic.
A region may have many partners working to build resilience, but with slightly different areas of focus and expertise. Resilience partners will include public health officials, emergency managers, elected officials, utilities, businesses, community activists, nonprofits, faith groups, and more. Each individual department or organization may need to write a specific plan in order to adhere to certain regulations or to seek funding from specific state and federal agencies. But all these partners can support one another’s efforts and realize larger success by teaming up and aligning on mutually beneficial projects.