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Responder News: Help Our Communities Become More Resilient

Responder News: Help Our Communities Become More Resilient

Release Date: 
May 18, 2016

Did you know floods are one of the most common types of natural disasters? Or in 2015, floods caused more deaths and destruction of property than any other natural disaster? Floods affect the entire country – no state or region is immune to their threat.

A flooded highway with the words, "Help Build Community Flood Resilience."On May 18, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will launch a Flood Resilience dialog as part of its Flood Apex Program. This is a community effort focused on flood-related decisions that fall into the laps of individual citizens — you and your neighbors, families and friends…every person in every community.

First responders have access to training, experience and reliable sources of information when they need to make decisions about emergencies. Not all community members have those same connections; learning about their needs and decision making processes will ultimately allow first responders to perform better. DHS S&T wants to hear what you think about flooding, based on what you have experienced in your own life, what challenges you think the general public faces, and directly from members of your communities.

Mark your calendars to participate, but also spread the word to your own friends, family and connections! S&T wants to hear from everyone about their experiences with floods and decisions about preparing for, mitigating the risks of and recovering from flooding.

The information gathered will inform the development of a National Flood Decision Support Toolbox, a resource DHS S&T will create to help all members of the community build resilience against floods.

DHS S&T is looking for answers to a variety of questions including: How do you and your family make decisions about where to live or ways to prepare for flooding near your home? Where do you go for information about flood risk and ways to protect yourself? What influences your perception of alerts and warnings and how do you react to notifications? Would you rebuild after a flood – why or why not? What expectations do you have of your community, state and federal resources?

You can share valuable information on these topics because of your experiences. You can also share stories about decisions you have witnessed your community members make when faced with tough situations.

This Flood Resilience dialog is part of the National Conversation on Homeland Security Technology, and there are multiple ways to add your voice to the discussion. On May 18, DHS S&T will launch the Flood Resilience dialog. Visit the S&T Collaboration Community to create an account so you can receive information on how you can participate. Next, encourage others to join the discussion. The dialog will begin with a call for stories about your experiences with floods – if you have lived through one of any severity, we want others to learn from you! In the coming weeks, we will ask for individuals to share what influences their flood-related decisions. You will be able to share information online, through virtual discussions, or one-on-one conversations. To stay on top of what’s happening, you can:

Create a user account in the S&T Collaboration Community to join an interactive conversation, and receive all notifications about upcoming activities and updates on what S&T learns from participants along the way.

  1. Follow along with the hashtags, #FloodConvo and #SciTechConvo on our Twitter, the S&T Facebook page and the First Responders Group Facebook page.
  2. Help promote S&T efforts! If you have a website, publicize the dialog. Are you a blogger? Blog about the dialog! Are you conducting or going to a conference that will address flood resilience in any way? Take S&T materials to the event and mention the dialog to everyone you meet. Let your neighbors know. Let your family know. YOU are our most effective bullhorn! When we can hear from the whole community about their decisions and challenges, we can provide better support in times of need.

Let’s come together to better protect our communities by getting knee-deep into the issues and trying to stay safe out of the water.

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