Friday, March 23, 2018

Resiliency: A winning trait for communities

Resiliency. You fall, get back up and continue on with your day. But communities, not just individuals, also need to be resilient.

Recent hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters have reminded us that community resiliency plays a role in keeping neighborhoods and cities healthy, happy and safe.

Community resilience is “the sustained ability of communities to withstand, adapt to and recover from adversity,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If a community can build itself back up after a disaster, life is better for the people there.

To be resilient, community leaders can work together to make plans that meet the needs and wants of community members before a disaster hits. Some easy things you can do today to help your community build resiliency include:
Photo by Michael Rieger, courtesy FEMA

  • Connect with people in your community. Get to know your neighbors! Build relationships with the people around you.
  • Learn new skills or use what you already know. If you can cook, you can help feed your neighbors in an emergency. If you can drive, you can drive people to safe locations.
  • Understand your community and its goals. Think about possible weaknesses your community may have and work together to strengthen them so when disaster hits, you’re ready.

Resilient people make up a resilient community. To be personally resilient in your daily life and deal with challenging situations, you can:
  • Take action: Even if it seems tough, make a decision and stick with it.
  • Think positively: Trust in your ability to solve issues.
  • Keep things in perspective: In the long run, things may not be as big of a deal as you think.
  • Self-care. Engage in healthy activities that you find enjoyable. Eat well, sleep well, play well. 
  • Encourage your neighbors to live a healthy lifestyle, stay informed and be prepared. You can only bounce back if you’ve planned ahead. 

For more information on how to build community resilience, check out this great toolkit from Rand.

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