Whole Community Concept Integration into National Disaster Preparedness Training Center University of Hawaii

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1 Whole Community Concept Integration into National Disaster Preparedness Training Center University of Hawaii Established in 2007 under H.R. 1, Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) at the University of Hawaii focuses on natural hazards, coastal communities, and the special needs of islands, territories, and under- served populations. Our mission is to leverage our unique geographic and cultural assets to develop and deliver disaster preparedness training, incorporating urban planning principles and practices with an emphasis on community preparedness and at risk vulnerable populations. The NDPTC works with agencies, organizations, businesses, and communities to increase resiliency against catastrophic hazards. As a national center, the NDPTC serves communities in the region including American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands as well as other communities throughout the United States. With increased urbanization and growth in hazard prone locations, there is significant demand for training on natural hazards preparedness, response, and recovery. The Whole Community concept is central to NDPTC s training and education programs. As recent events in the region have demonstrated, cascading disasters link natural, technological, and social systems requiring consideration of maximum of maximums scenarios, and understanding and meeting the true needs of the entire affected community. At the NDPTC, the relevant unit of analysis for emergency management during natural hazards is the community as a whole, and key phases of the disaster cycle includes preparedness, response and recovery. Efforts have been underway to engage all aspects of the community (public, private, and civic) in terms of both defining and meeting needs. The NDPTC has worked to strengthen existing assets, institutions and processes to increase resilience and sustainability of positive emergency management outcomes. This document describes how the NDPTC incorporates the Whole Community concept in our training, education and outreach programs. It is based on the four questions contained in the factsheet A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management which include the following: 1. How do we most effectively engage the Whole Community in emergency management to include a wide breadth of community members? 2. How might we solicit creative assistance in broadening the team to include new partners and develop innovative solutions? 1

2 3. How else might we continue to refine this Whole Community approach? 4. Have you seen greater resilience in places where communities have been engaged in emergency management activities? Please share examples, practices, and strategies. Following discussion of these questions, a summary of lessons learned and suggestions for furthering these concepts are provided. How do we most effectively engage the Whole Community in emergency management to include a wide breadth of community members? Engaging partners early in the process to identify community needs is a key component to successful training, education and outreach. Partnerships and joint projects across agencies and jurisdictions promote resource sharing, reduce duplication of effort, increase efficiencies and reduce waste. Having multiple agencies support training at the state, regional, local and community levels ensures wider engagement. Key agencies such as NOAA, USGS, USACE, etc., as well as state and local governments, consortia, academic institutions and others can help ensure multi-disciplinary, wide community engagement. This includes partnering with agencies providing services to at-risk, underrepresented groups including those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Fund and support the expansion of training in underserved, minority, tribal and non-english speaking communities. Support translation of training materials into languages other than English. The NDPTC has created a stakeholder input group which includes members of the Pacific Risk Management Ohana (PRiMO). PRiMO includes broad representation from NOAA, USGS, UACE, and numerous state, federal, local organizations involved in disaster risk reduction activities. NDPTC has also developed joint partnership agreements with NOAA s Coastal Services Center, International Tsunami Information Center, Pacific Disaster Center, and other agencies to develop training courses, review training modules, and certify instructors from underserved communities. The NDPTC provides training in minority, Pacific Island, Title 6, and underserved communities. It has delivered coastal community resilience training in rural communities in Hawaii. Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. Following the tsunami of 2009, more than 189 individuals have been trained by the NDPTC in American Samoa. In addition to NDPTC s Tsunami Awareness (AWR- 217), NDPTC has facilitated high quality training from other National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC) members in American Samoa and throughout the Pacific Region. The AWR- 217 manual has been translated into Samoan language. Efforts to conduct training and outreach in tribal, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and underserved communities have been initiated. Special attention is focused on the training, certification of instructors who come from underserved communities. The NDPTC has also developed specialized courses on natural hazards for senior caregivers, security professionals, and community leaders (which include faith- 2

3 based and non- profit organizations) as a means of broadening engagement in emergency and disaster management. NDPTC has also developed a social media course for emergency managers as a means of increasing the efficacy of communications across the community. How might we solicit creative assistance in broadening the team to include new partners and develop innovative solutions? Conduct a national needs assessment to identify training partners and ongoing efforts related to training, education, and outreach programs to build community resilience. Form intergovernmental agreements to share staff, resources and to support training, education and outreach programs. Host annual events with partners to ensure deep engagement identify new partners and develop solutions for training. The NDPTC conducted a comprehensive needs assessment using survey research, focus groups, and stakeholder interviews. This identified training needs and gaps as well as partners for the development and implementation of training and education programs. The information has been shared with other consortium members, stakeholder input groups, and others involved in the identification of training and educational needs and solutions. NDPTC has also developed an agreement under the Inter-governmental Personnel Act Mobility Program (IPA) with NOAA to secure senior staff support for planning, management, and program development. IPAs, Presidential Management Fellowships and other interagency personnel actions are also being considered. In addition to hosting the annual PRiMO Meeting, the NDPTC has been active in the NDPC quarterly meetings and in other national meetings and conferences relevant to hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness and response. Participation in these meetings serves to identify subject matter experts from diverse backgrounds as well as agencies and organizations interested in co-hosting training and educational programs. NDPTC is also integrated into a statewide system of public higher education which includes community colleges, baccalaureate programs and post-baccalaureate degree and certificate programs in urban planning, disaster management, and hazard science. By integrating NDPTC training courses into formal academic degree and certificate programs, we have been able to reach more diverse students and instructors who can help build partnerships and training programs in the community. How else might we continue to refine this Whole Community approach? Sponsor conferences and meetings with partners that have experience and understanding of Whole Community concepts as a way of identifying best practices and successful examples of engagement with underrepresented members of the community. More connection to native peoples, indigenous knowledge working groups, and multicultural programs which enhance resilience building upon existing networks and organizations is needed. NDPTC works closely with Native Hawaiian practitioners and organizations such as the Indigenous Knowledge Hui (part of the PRiMO organization) and has identified Native Hawaiian, Native Alaskan, and tribal partners in the Pacific Northwest, California and 3

4 Alaska to deliver FEMA certified coursework on disaster risk reduction. NDPTC works with numerous academic institutions and programs within the University of Hawaii system and with other community colleges and academic institutions in the development and delivery of training courses. The FEMA courses have also been delivered in diverse settings such as in outdoor fales (meeting areas in Samoa) increasing meaningful interaction with villages and traditional leaders. Beyond training state and local government, there is need to expand training to others involved in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Have you seen greater resilience in places where communities have been engaged in emergency management activities? There are three levels of governance in American Samoa including federal, territorial and village. While federal, territorial and non-governmental organizations have important roles in disaster management, the village has a vital role in preparedness, response, and recovery. The NDPTC has worked with the whole community in American Samoa including the faipule (representative to the territorial House of Representatives), the pulenu`u (mayor), the fono (village council), matai (family heads), the village pastor, village and church societies, and the aumaga (untitled men). During the September 2009 tsunami, the village pulenu`u who had received tsunami training just weeks before the 2009 event, sounded alarms and oversaw the evacuation of the village members to higher ground. While there were 32 lives lost (out of a population of approximately 70,000), the loss of life would have been much greater had the pulenu`u not taken responsibility for alerting others. The villages responded to the needs of the injured, distributed food and water, restored roads, and removed debris prior to the arrival of outside assistance. Neighboring villages worked together to clear debris and repair roads and distribute locally produced and commercially available food. During the chaotic period following the disaster, there were few reported cases of looting. The villages took seriously and understood their roles in ensuring the safety of its residents and a collaborative whole community response occurred. Recognizing these challenges and lessons, American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono has referred to the tsunami as "our 9-11." Without this emphasis on community and personal responsibility reinforced by traditional functional roles, the response and recovery efforts would have been much more difficult. There are certainly important lessons to be learned from Samoa and other communities. Summary of Lesson Learned and Future Directions The NDPTC has embraced from its beginnings, the concepts of the Whole Community approach. It has meant the formation of strong, useful partnerships with key science agencies and academic institutions and community organizations to ensure the quality and cost-effectiveness of our course development and delivery. NDPTC has gone beyond a federal or government-centric approach to emergency management. Through strategic partnerships, we have leveraged additional resources towards the development and delivery of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery training. By working closely with academic institutions and community-based organizations, the NDPTC has also emphasized the inclusion of underrepresented groups as subject matter experts, 4

5 certified instructors, and participants in training and educational programs. There are several recommendations for enhancing the Whole Community approach. First, hold more national, regional, and local conferences, meetings, workshops and symposia on the Whole Community approach to identify willing partners and potential collaborators across federal, state, local, tribal, NGO and private organizations. Second, conduct more needs assessments to identify training and educational needs and gaps among minority, tribal, Native American, and other underrepresented groups. Present the results to training providers and partners to ensure that there is alignment between new course development and Whole Community training needs. Third, support translation of FEMA training materials into other languages. Work to identify and certify trainers and instructors who are bilingual and capable of training in underrepresented communities. Fourth, support programs which provide training and leadership development opportunities for underserved populations so that a cadre of Whole Community leaders in emergency management across the spectrum of disciplines and communities emerges. Fifth, develop more interagency agreements to support Whole Community efforts in disaster risk reduction involving key federal, state, and local agencies as well as partnerships with private sector and non-governmental organizations. Sixth, build trans-boundary relationships that support FEMA s engagements including the Arctic, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Islands regions, to leverage investments and advancements in disaster planning, response, mitigation, and recovery by international partners. Seventh, engage established and emerging regional governance initiatives (such as Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Northeast Regional Ocean Council, South Atlantic Alliance, and the Hawaii and Pacific Ocean Resources Management Council) to identify local and regional stakeholder communities. Working collaboratively across agencies, jurisdictions, sectors, and disciplines represents a start but there must be greater inclusion of underrepresented members of our whole community if resilience against all hazards is to be achieved. 5

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