Standard approaches to disaster preparedness and hazard mitigation often focus on a single point of failure: update this building, provide a training to meet a shortfall. Addressing preparedness in this way has a direct and recognizable impact which is most manageable for typical funding programs. This is an excellent approach for proven hazards. But when we look at buying down long term risk, are there other unexplored strategies that we can invest in?
How do we support the advancement of building codes that are informed on disaster resilience for local hazards? Are we educating renters, landlords, and homeowners on simple actions to reduce their risk? Do we create resources that are posted passively on our website, or are we proactive in our outreach? Let us invest in generational knowledge with social media messaging, school informational programs, public service announcements, etc so that over the next 30 years we have fostered a generation that has normalized emergency management as part of daily life versus a foreign concept after disasters. As the generation integrate into the workforce, raise families, and further participate within their communities they strengthen all areas of society that they touch.
Long term strategies face additional challenges in terms of tracking funding and evaluating the impact and efficacy. It is our choice to adopt a function that is reactive, or to advance the field to being primarily proactive.