7.2. Increasing the public's involvement in resilience management

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To integrate the organization in a network of relevant actors and agencies (community members and local business that typically don’t conduct crisis management). The integration is aimed at enhancing the organization’s ability to respond to the needs of both the organization as well as the local community in times of change and emergency.



The integration of various levels of organizations and public requires a constant examination of this process, including ethical issues of balancing between different needs and interests. Formal or informal leadership could represent the public interest. It is important to integrate community leaders in mapping resources and needs in planning for potential crisis. Business organizations can be very helpful in using their vast databases to help the authorities – municipalities create a good status snapshot at certain times. To increase response, integrating the educational system is an effective option to advance preparedness plans, and school children are a target population, with preparedness training adapted to their level of knowledge and emotional development.

Before a crisis

During non-emergency periods, organizations should be involved in building relationships and networks with other relevant agencies. The involvement of the public (community members as well as business sector) in the process of preparedness may be through participation in drills and exercises and in planning joint SOPs for times of emergencies. The SOPs should include definitions of interfaces between the public sectors and organizations within them. Public leadership – formal and informal alike – and business sectors should understand the all-hazards approach and its implications and prepare the public as well as the businesses for multiple scenarios. The business sector can contribute with knowledge and expertise in adding their professionals as well as technology. In order to enhance capacity during the preparedness phase, it is important to publish preparedness plans, keeping the balance between increasing public awareness without creating panic, making sure to prevent "crisis fatigue." The local authorities should involve the public in promoting and creating CERTs (Community Emergency Response Teams). Among possible uses of business-sector resources is designating corporate clinics to work with the municipality when disaster strikes or joining the community effort in rebuilding supply chains.

Triggering questions

* Does the organizations SOP address emergency situations other than workplace emergencies?
  • How does an organization maintain alertness without introducing anxiety?

During a crisis

During an emergency, the organization and the local community must handle challenging situations, balancing between needs and limited resources. The public and business sectors may initially help identify resources by actively participating in the local authorities' efforts to monitor the existence or lack of resources through social networks, calling call centers and reporting systematically (especially the corporate sector) on available resources. The business sector should try and maintain working supply chains and work with the municipalities through crisis communications practices to ensure the public receives basic services. Communication companies could be instrumental in using applications and survey techniques monitoring population reactions. Social media and other forms of communication should be used to spread two-way information between professionals and the population. The informal leadership and business sectors may participate in directing the public to alternate resources. Challenges for heterogenic population including formal and informal leaders:

  • Prevent confusion and contradicting guidelines.
  • Balancing between human rights and following the guidelines (e.g. evacuation).
  • Identify the languages – communication with leaders.
  • Updated information for agencies.

It is important to think creatively in order to reveal hidden resources, (e.g., mapping professional skills of each organization and business). For example, rather than viewing the aging population as a burden, it should be viewed and utilized as a resource. As such, beyond providing special needs for the ageing population, the elders my contribute to the community in a range of capacities.

Triggering questions

* Assuming cellular communication fails, are people aware of where landlines are located?
  • How can the elderly population be trained as a resource for emergency situations?
  • If infrastructures are cut off, does the specific organization (form the business sector, for example) have special means that could deliver emergency supplies?

After a crisis

In the post-crisis period, both organization and community bear the task of rehabilitation and returning to normalcy. After the dust (real and metaphoric) has settled, it is time to examine the lessons learned, map the functioning of the various actors, and the effectiveness of the networks. This is the time to rebuild, a process in which the business sector, and organizations within it, play a major role providing work power and resources. SOPs that were enacted during the emergency must be flexible enough to relax back into routine mode. Both the public and the organization will need strong and reliable leadership, clear information, and a vision of the benefits of continued cooperation. The business sector may offer incentives in the form of jobs to those taking place in rebuilding.

Triggering questions

* How can organization-community relationships be enhanced following their cooperation during the crisis?
  • How can they “cash in” on the momentum created?
  • In your organizations, which incentives can you offer people working to rebuild the community?


Understanding the context

Detailed objectives

The rationale for creating links between organizations and community members is to have each partner be familiar with the other’s structure and capabilities and integrate them to work efficiently in time of crisis. Such mutual involvement of the public and local organizations (including the business sector) is largely dependent on the type and nature of the organization. Because local authorities are usually the main agencies to deal with crisis and emergencies throughout the lifecycle of the event, from preparedness to recovery and readiness for the next event, they are in position to initiate collaboration with businesses and organizations. Further information regarding this issue could be found at the Capability Card of Interacting with the public.

Targeted actors

The idea of creating a network integrating organizations and the community is innovative, and one which will require engaging organizational decision makers to address the administrative and logistical aspects. During the implementation phases, the operational level as front line workers will be involved.

Expected benefits

Enhanced preparedness through collaboration between organizations, agencies, and the community for efficient implementation when needed. The organization will have plans to mobilize its capacities to cope in emergency situations and work with the public. Integration of organizations with the public may enhance the resiliency of the local community. Further information regarding community resilience can be found in the Capability Card regarding Assessing Community Resilience.

Relation to adaptive capacity

Creating multi-level relationships between organizations and the local community to promote their mutual and reciprocal adaptive capacities.

Relation to risk management

The relationships between organizations and the public has not been studied and explored sufficiently.


Implementation considerations


For organizations, considering communal aspects during routine time, is a change in perception of crisis management. Communication with the public is a fundamental issue and requires defining the target group and using channels for the flow of two-way information. Community culture calls for involving community leaders (formal and informal), especially in multicultural, heterogenic communities. Involving local volunteers who present sub-populations. During routine times, organizations should invest resources to promote relationships with their local communities.

Implementation cost

For the public and business sectors to be able to understand the bigger picture and react in coordination with other actors, all stakeholders must be coordinated. This requires investing time and human power in learning the system of crisis management, learning the SOPs and alternating solutions, and above all, taking responsibility for the partnership. At the same time, having invested in the resources in the pre-crisis period, will allow for mobilizing resources, having effective communication between all concerned, and these could improve dealing with the situation at hand and considerably lower costs.


Relevant material

Relevant Practices, Methods and Tools


  • In disasters, availability and response times of the first responders are critical factors in the strive to save lives, to mitigate disability and to minimize damage to infrastructure. Professional emergency services are the best trained and equipped organizations to offer assistance following disasters. Nevertheless, their arrival at the scene of the disaster may be delayed for a significant period of time, due to size of the affected area, inaccessibility of communication means, destruction of transportation routes and roads, as well as the extent of the event, which may overwhelm existing capacities and necessitate utilization of the limited resources according to different priorities. Remote communities, which may be located at a distance from densely populated areas, may need to provide a local response based only on resources that are immediately available in the community. Stemming from this understanding, the value of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) has been globally recognized as a crucial component of disaster management. The CERT initiative reflects a community based approach toward emergency preparedness derived from the comprehension that every community should have the capacity to immediately respond to disasters and various emergency situations based on its own resources, and provide for the immediate needs of its residents, when external emergency responders are not available or are unable to reach the affected area/populations in due time
  • Examples of responses initiated and managed by the public to respond to crisis:

After Hurricane Katrina there was public engagement to supply shelter/refuge to affected people who lost their homes, e.g. “open your home”-campaigns. Non-profit organizations set up webpages communicating information and guidance to the public on how to support the crisis response. Universities accepted students from affected areas and initiated campaigns to supply housing. While airline cooperations can help in evacuations bona fide, also individuals donated their frequent flyer-miles to evacuate affected people away from the crisis area. More information regarding this issue can be found in the Capability Card of Interacting with the public.


Key issues to reach the public are through available technological systems. The technological systems should be readily used for the applications to be functional during an actual emergency, the public need to feel comfortable with the application. While the use of technology is good plans and procedures also have to prepare for the adverse effects inflicted by fake news and deliberate spreading of disinformation that can have detrimental effects on the outcome of a response.


  • Cohen, O., Geva, D., Lahad, M., Bolotin, A., Leykin, D., Goldberg, A., & Aharonson-Daniel, L. (2016). Community resilience throughout the lifespan–the potential contribution of healthy elders. PLoS one, 11(2), e0148125.‏
  • Crichton, M. T., Ramsay, C. G., & Kelly, T. (2009). Enhancing organizational resilience through emergency planning: learnings from cross‐sectoral lessons. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 17(1), 24-37.‏
  • Somers, S. (2009). Measuring resilience potential: An adaptive strategy for organizational crisis planning. Journal of contingencies and crisis management, 17(1), 12-23.‏
  • Stern, M. J., & Coleman, K. J. (2015). The multidimensionality of trust: Applications in collaborative natural resource management. Society & Natural Resources, 28(2), 117-132.‏


  • All-hazards
    "Naturally occurring events, human induced events (both intentional and unintentional) and technology caused events with potential impact on an organization, community or society and environment on which it depends" (Source: ISO22300)

  • Business continuity
    "Capability of an organization to continue delivery of product or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive accident" (Source: ISO22300)

  • Capacity development
    "The process by which people, organizations and society systematically stimulate and develop their capacities over time to achieve social and economic goals, including through improvement of knowledge, skills, systems, and institutions. Comment: Capacity development is a concept that extends the term of capacity building to encompass all aspects of creating and sustaining capacity growth over time. It involves learning and various types of training, but also continuous efforts to develop institutions, political awareness, financial resources, technology systems, and the wider social and cultural enabling environment." (Source: UNISDR, 2009)

  • Coordination
    "Way in which different organization or parts of same organization work or act together in order to achieve a common objective Note 1 Coordination integrated the individual response activities of involved parties (including e.g. public, or private organization and government) to achieve synergy to the extent that the incident response has a unique objective and coordinates activities through transparent information sharing regarding their respective incident response activities Note 2 All organization are involved in the process to agree on a common incident response objective and accept to implement the strategies by this consensus decision-making process" (Source: ISO22300)

  • Contingency
    "Possible future event, condition or eventuality" (Source: ISO22300)

  • Effectiveness
    "Extend to which planned activities are realized and planned results achieved" (Source: ISO22300)

  • Mitigation
    Measures taken to prevent, limit and reduce impact of the negative consequences of incidents, emergencies and disasters (Source: ISO22300)

  • Sustained adaptability
    Relates to Resilience Engineering. This term offers new ways to manage interdependencies across scales. It refers to the ability to manage adaptive capacities of systems (organizations) that are part of a layered network (Source:Woods, 2015, Herrera, 2016)

  • Community resilience
    Community resilience (CR) describes the community's ability to overcome unexpected changes and crises, mitigating the community’s response. It is a multi-dimensional concept, encompasses both physical and perceptional components (Leykin et al., 2013; Cohen et al., 2016). Comments: Community resilience is perceived as a core element of disaster risk reduction (Source: UNISDR 2015), and as a process rather than outcome. (Source: Norris et al. 2008). Community resilience is not the resiliency of the community members themselves, but their ability to take deliberate, purposeful, and collective action to alleviate the detrimental effects of adverse events on the community (Source: Pfefferbaum et al. 2013). Optimize resource utilization will enhance CR. Communication is essential for capacity building. Ongoing assessment of CR may improve emergency preparedness and response (Leykin et al., 2013; Cohen et al., 2016).

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