The goal of the DRR Ambassador Curriculum is to facilitate DRR efforts across the whole community by 1) engaging in discussion of how disasters can be reduced through local action; 2) sharing insights among local leaders and technical experts to enable the development of cross functional solutions; and 3) acquiring the best-available information, knowledge of best practices, and analytic tools to enable better-informed decisions before, during, and after disasters.

The DRR Ambassador Curriculum is designed:

  • With a multi-hazard approach that encourages shared management strategies and unified responses in DRR plans and action
  • To build a strong legal, ethical, and equitable basis for safe and effective development, redevelopment, and adaptation
  • To be custom-tailored and updated for local needs to facilitate community progress
  • As an initial set of self-study and training media that can be extended as new topic options are identified and developed

The Curriculum is organized into five parts and when complete, will consist of a series of stand-alone modules, each approximately 1-1.5 hours. They are designed for instructor-led or webinar presentation but the materials may be downloaded below and read independently; some videos are available. The curriculum is still under development; modules to be developed are so indicated.

See the DRR-A Curriculum Overview for more information (pdf)

I. Disaster Risk Reduction for a Safe and Prosperous Future

Module 1: Introduction to the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association and Disaster Risk Reduction Ambassador Curriculum
This module defines disaster risk reduction and introduces the NHMA. It describes NHMA local initiatives that include; publications to assist communities to navigate the programs and resources for disaster risk reduction, the RNN, outreach to non-traditional DRR partners, and the DRR Ambassador Curriculum.

Module 2: Introduction to Disaster Risk Reduction as a Foundation of Community Resilience
This module introduces the basic concepts of community resilience, mitigation, and adaptation from a whole community perspective. It provides a rationale for disaster risk reduction as a foundation of community resilience, introducing the concept of Four Circles of Resilience and Sustainability. Module 2 also discusses trends in damages, liability, and costs of natural disasters. It includes suggested solutions, publications that promote resilience and disaster risk reduction, and important considerations for plotting a path forward toward a resilient future.

Module 3: Leadership for Disaster Risk Reduction
This module will discuss the role of leaders/champions for DRR in the community; how to be effective change agents for DRR, leadership challenges, and best leadership practices to address them.
Module 4: Community Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation
This module discusses the concepts of whole community and climate adaptation. It provides a lens into what three RNN communitites, with unique hazards and their own physical, social, and economic challenges, have undertaken in order to achieve the common goal of reducing risk and vulnerability to become more disaster-resilient.

Module 5: Approaching the Challenge of Disaster Risk Reduction: NIST Community Resilience Guide
Given the unique circumstances under which community leaders pursue DRR and resilience, a systematic approach is useful. This module introduces the 2015 NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, which provides a practical and flexible overall approach for setting priorities and allocating resources to manage risks for various hazards.

II. Forming a Community’s Vision for Disaster Risk Reduction

Module 6: Risk Assessment through Storytelling: An Asset-Based Approach
This module explores a risk assessment and identification approach that builds on a community's assets. This “assets-based approach” engages community stakeholders in a positive interactive experience; it encourages outcomes that embrace future visions and focus less on past conditions.

Module 7: Achieving Community Buy-in for Disaster Risk Reduction: Win-Win Approaches
Developing a resilient society requires a new message that promotes a “win-win” approach to development practices based on sound economic, legal, and ethical principles, protection of the environment, and involvement of all stakeholder groups. This module describes the steps to craft and sell a local resilience program designed to create a safer future in an era of climate variability and change.

Module 8: Leveraging Resources to Improve Disaster Risk Reduction
This module suggests a process, techniques, and strategies for cooperating and coordinating with multiple partners in a community’s disaster resilient future. It presents a process to: envision a disaster resilient future that meets the needs of the community; develop a plan that includes taking action now to control development; obtain technical assistance and locate funding sources; continue to pursue resilience during recovery from a disaster, and learn from examples of successes achieved by a wide array of communities. NHMA’s Building Your Roadmap to a Disaster Resilient Future is introduced as a reference for using this process.

III. Realizable, Practical, and Affordable Approaches for Moving from a Vision for Disaster Risk Reduction to a Strategy

Module 9: Selecting and Implementing a Strategy for Addressing Community Disaster Risk Problems
Successful local mitigation efforts can happen at any time – not just after large disaster events. This module provides best practices for, and examples of, community hazard mitigation and development in situations where residents wanted action and their local government didn’t know where to start.
Module 10: Integrating Hazard Mitigation into Local Planning
This module briefly reviews and provides resources for the local mitigation planning process. It discusses the benefits and provides guidance and references for integrating hazard mitigation planning into the local community’s entire network of plans.

Module 11: Beyond Codes and Low-Impact Development
Strong building and zoning codes and mitigation best practices are needed to achieve disaster risk reduction in building and community planning. The process of code development and the relationship between FEMA guidance and local building codes and zoning practices is reviewed in this module.
Module 12: Creating the Plan: A Sustainable Floodplain Management Process Model
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSWS) pioneered the “Future Conditions” approach to floodplain management, to resolve the conflict between the increased risk of flooding and the development and construction demands of a growing community. The module describes challenges and successes in achieving results.

IV. Resources and Tools for Implementing a Community’s Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy

Module 13: Climate and Weather Tools and Trends
Climate and weather tools and trends define the challenges, needs, and opportunities for disaster risk reduction, no matter what the cause or consequences. This module addresses ways to mitigate and adapt to extreme weather impacts and risks.
Module 14: Risk Assessment Basics
Risk assessment is assisted by new decision tools and shared community assessments that help prioritize costs and benefits of DRR plans and actionable projects. This module introduces the basic concepts of risk assessment in an uncertain or changing climate. It provides resources that drill deeper into the topic.
Module 15: Legal and Policy Opportunities for Disaster Risk Reduction
This module integrates engineering, planning, policy, and legal research into a fundamental message; safe development, climate adaptation, and hazard mitigation provide the most resilient path for the whole community. It provides a community development approach for hazard mitigation, floodplain management, water quality and resources, design, and construction. This module is designed to fit into the FEMA RiskMAP vision of using the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as the basis of future planning and hazard mitigation.

Module 16: Linking Catastrophe Insurance to Disaster Risk Reduction
This module describes the leading causes of catastrophe (CAT) losses globally, introduces the protection gap, and describes CAT models and new innovations that could solve the protection gap. The content is intended to provide community representatives with information that they can take away, evaluate, and implement in their own financial and economic practices to manage the risks in their communities.

V. Resources for Hazard-Specific Disaster Risk Reduction

Module 17: Living with Water: Inland and Coastal Flooding
“Living with Water” is an approach to coastal, riverine, and regional planning that manages water quality and quantity as a resource from sky to soil to sewer to saving to sea. These innovations address the combined risks of flood, drought, soil, and ecosystem losses, and the benefits of water and food security as a combined planning and project benefit in both inland and coastal communities.
Module 18: Design for Flood Resilience: Part I: Floodplain Management and Flood Resistant Design
This module identifies the direct and indirect risks associated with different types of flooding and reviews watersheds, floodplains, aquifers and floodways. It describes floodplain management and watershed management planning based on future conditions for disaster risk reduction, and provides examples of flood resistant design measures for buildings and infrastructure.

Module 19: Design for Flood Resilience: Part II: Green Infrastructure / Low Impact Development
This module defines measures to maintain and improve healthy inland waterways and floodplains and describes how green infrastructure reduces stormwater costs and flood risk.

Module 20: Overcoming Impediments to Flood Resilience: Paths Forward
This module continues to explore the unrelenting increase in flood losses and examines the impact of the NFIP on flood loss reduction. It addresses the limitations of current NFIP mapping in communicating current and future flood risk, and discusses the Community Rating System (CRS) and “Grandfathering” as part of a long term solution to flood loss.

Module 21: Wildfire Mitigation
This module will incorporate perspectives from the western U.S. and other high risk locations. It describes the basics of fire science as it relates to wildfires and provides insights, best practices, and creative funding solutions to encourage communities in addressing the wildfire risk, and actions that reduce future damage.
Module 22: The Wildfire-Flood Connection
This module will incorporate perspectives from the western U.S. and other high risk locations. It describes the basics of fire science as it relates to wildfires and provides insights, best practices, and creative funding solutions to encourage communities in addressing the wildfire risk, post-fire conditions that can drastically increase flood risks, and actions that reduce future damage.
Module 23: Severe Thunderstorm / Tornado Safe Rooms
This module will discuss lessons learned from severe storm events such as the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. It addresses cost effective changes that can be made to building codes and construction practices that can minimize impacts, along with the economics of mitigating against these unique hazards. The module also describes the benefits of building safe rooms.
Module 24: From Policy to Engineering: Earthquake Risks
This module will review how alignment of policy and engineering guidelines can advance seismic resilience for both individuals and society. It presents a vision for strategic collaboration between the technical and policy worlds to better assist individuals, organizations, and communities in understanding and managing earthquake and related natural disaster risks.