New FEMA Report: Building Cultures of Preparedness

A message from Laura Olson:


Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a new report from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Higher Education program, entitled Building Cultures of Preparedness.

You can access the full report here: https://training.fema.gov/hiedu/docs/latest/2019_cultures_of_preparedness_report_10.22.18%20final.pdf

The research-based report, authored by members of the Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN) and practitioner and academic colleagues, emerged from FEMA’s new Strategic Plan for 2018-2022, “Building a Culture of Preparedness.” Preparedness strategies to date have increased first responder and government capabilities, but individual and community progress towards enhanced levels of resilience has been extremely limited. Achieving the 2018–2022 Strategic Plan’s vision of enhanced preparedness requires a bottom-up approach to close these gaps.

This report highlights the vast diversity of American communities and households, indicating that a one-size-fits-all strategy is not well-suited to the specific demands of variable and distinctive environments – our Culture of Preparedness will have to be built one community at a time. Preparedness is a local matter, requiring solutions tailored to different cultural contexts and embraced by communities. Supporting the vision of a resilient nation in the Strategic Plan requires us to think in the plural, in terms of building “Culture(s) of Preparedness.”

This report presents a culture-based approach to the preparedness goals laid out in the Strategic Plan. It lays out four Guiding Principles for building Cultures of Preparedness, followed by practical strategies and examples that demonstrate successful outcomes in real-world settings, and offers a distinct approach to operationalize the Guiding Principles.