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6 Main Challenges to Creating a Resilient Community & Your Resiliency Checklist

On Tuesday April 8th, GovLoop hosted our third annual Government Innovators Virtual Summit. This year we focused on "Innovations that Matter" and how to make innovation stick at your agency. Read this recap of our session creating resilient communities, and stay tuned for a link to the full recordings. More blog coverage of the Summit can be found here.

Re-sil-ien-cy [noun]: the ability to recover readily from adversity or the like.

PANIC. Your community was just hit by a natural disaster … an extreme weather condition … an email outage. The possibilities of disasters are endless – and we don’t want them to leave our organization paralyzed.

What is your plan for when disaster strikes?

Terri Jones from Hyland Software is no stranger to building resilient communities. Through her excellent online training during GovLoop’s Virtual Summit, she shared her basic challenges to resilient communities, as well as the importance of the resiliency checklist.

6 Main Challenges to Creating a Resilient Community

  1. The Element of Surprise – Obviously we do not plan a crisis to happen, but we do need to plan to react to a crisis.
  2. The Variety of Events – You never know what the crisis is going to be. In this day and age it could range from a crime disasters, to terrorism, to natural disasters.
  3. Budget – We are constantly being asked to do more with less. In a poll during the Virtual Summit training, budget was revealed to be the #1 concern for agencies when creating a disaster plan.
  4. Time to Plan – Employees have daily jobs that they need to get done. This often means that future planning gets neglected.
  5. Information Silos – Government funding often comes from various places, which means that there’s different responsibilities to those funders. Our information can be in silos based on funding, levels of government, or departments within our community itself. If we can’t get all the information is one easily accessible place, a disaster could escalate even more.
  6. Access to Information - If all your information is in paper copy in your office and your office burns down, what do you do? The ability to access your information across all levels of your resiliency plan is vital for its success.

In order to deal with these six challenges, Jones provided a “Resiliency Checklist” that, when followed, will leave you and your organization much better prepared.

Your Resiliency Checklist:

  1. Leadership – Your leadership needs to be on board and well versed in the resiliency efforts. To get them on board you can introduce them to a variety of case studies surrounding best practices from crisis resiliency.
  2. Community Relationships – You must create the relationship with responders before the event occurs or it could sour your relationship once the disaster strikes. Crises increase stress level, so starting with a good relationship is key.
  3. Partnership – Establish your partnerships early when devising a plan for your resilient community. Partnerships are important to share resources and expertise.
  4. No Information Silos – Make sure all the information can be found in one place (but replicated) so that responders can have all the information they need quickly.
  5. Be Proactive – You need to plan for the worst-case scenario so that you can prevent the worst-case scenario.
  6. Perform Stress Testing – Determine the stability of your current situation and your current plan.
  7. Plan & Innovate – It is not just important to create a plan; it is also vital to update it and make sure it is as innovative as you can.

Bring everything together to have a complete picture. With a better understanding of data and process, we can effect policy changes. We can help ourselves and help each other to create resilient cities when we take steps to combat our challenges.

Make sure to check out more coverage of the Virtual Summit here, and tell us in the comments: Do you have a resiliency checklist?

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