Mobile Workshop Will Provide Valuable Lessons for Community Emergency Preparedness

August 19, 2013

By Tracy Connelly

The Community Emergency Hub mobile workshop will take place on Wednesday, November 13 during NLC’s Congress of Cities in Seattle, Wash.

When people think about first responders, they often have an image of a firefighter running into a burning building or police officers consoling people in the aftermath of a tragedy. But if we look closely at some of the major disasters that have struck the U.S. recently, first responders, more often than not, are our families, co-workers, neighbors and often strangers who step in to help. So how do we ensure that communities know how to stay safe? How do we support communities in gaining the skills needed to respond to emergencies? How do we plan for diverse communities with diverse skills, resources and needs? And how do we do all this without scaring or overwhelming community members?

Seattle’s Community Emergency Hub has developed a model that attempts to answer these questions. Community Emergency Hubs are used to help communities respond to and recover from any emergency. These hubs are locations that are pre-determined by community members to meet at after an emergency in order to share information and resources, problem-solve and support each other.

In the Community Emergency Hub mobile workshop at NLC’s Congress of Cities in Seattle, participants will find out:

  • What a Community Emergency Hub is;
  • How to create buy-in within the community;
  • How to have a program that is community-driven and city-supported; and
  • How to create a flexible program that the whole community can access.

Participants in this workshop will:

  • Tour Seattle’s state of the art Emergency Operations Center;
  • Explore a Community Emergency Hub site;
  • Learn why particular Community Emergency Hub sites developed in different ways; and
  • Hear from Community Emergency Hub participants on the benefits of their community organizing efforts.

 Many communities across the U.S. have experienced a large scale emergency like an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, flooding or any number of natural or man-made disasters. When an emergency happens, it is important to have a plan in place that is developed and supported by the entire community. This means local governments must work with community-based organizations and neighborhood residents to plan for how to work together before and after an emergency to ensure as smooth and rapid recovery as possible. Attend the Community Emergency Hub mobile workshop to learn how your community can harness community organizing efforts to plan for and effectively respond to emergencies.

Tracy Connelly is a Community Preparedness Planner for the City of Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management.

For additional details and registration information on the upcoming Congress of Cities and Exposition in Seattle, please visit our conference homepage.