It’s always satisfying to hear others humming to your beat. The New York Times published an article a few days ago that hums to ours.

In How to Prepare Your Community for a Disaster, New York Times writer Alan Henry summarizes an interview with Mitch Stripling, assistant commissioner of Agency Preparedness and Response for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and co-host of “Dukes of Hazards: The Emergency Management Podcast.”

The main points the article brings out are

  1. Community resilience starts at the neighborhood level. Neighbors need to be acquainted and ready to help each other when things go wrong.
  2. Existing local organizations—coffee shops, parent-teacher associations, book groups, etc.—strengthen community ties, and are great starting points for improving disaster preparedness awareness and planning at the neighborhood level.
  3. Neighbors should develop a plan for how they will communicate and work together in the event of a disaster.

We at Creative Crisis Leadership heartily endorse these points. We’d like to strike a beat of our own, though: It is as important for neighbors to develop the skills needed to improvise a plan in the event as it is to develop one in advance. The article actually hums a bit to that beat as well,

“it’s important to get your group ready to improvise. Building your group into a team that can react to different types of events is more important than being ready to run any one evacuation plan.”

— Mitch Stripling

The hum of the article rests on a bass note of individual initiative:

“However, a lot of the support structures that foster the sense of community that led people to look out for one another have degraded, Mr. Stripling said, and it’s up to individuals to bring them back to life.”

We couldn’t have said it better!