Within the framework of the research project Public Empowerment Policies for Crisis Management1 a literature review was conducted with the aim of summarizing research on community approaches involving the public in crisis management, and the co-production of response organizations and citizens in enhancing community resilience. Some of the main findings are presented below.
Several authors in the reviewed literature emphasized that focus should be on people and what people can do, instead of what risks and hazards they might face. A major part of the literature stresses the importance of using pre-existing or established networks (i.e. families, workplaces, associations, organizations, congregations, etc.) when reaching out to people. People prefer to participate in collective efforts through the groups and institutions in which they normally participate, rather than through forms of collaboration created specifically for emergency and disaster management. Thus, collaboration between different actors should occur prior to an actual event, and the matter of collaboration does not have to focus on emergency or disaster per se. Many of the existing organizations, groups and networks grounded in collective needs and interests could be accentuated as potential actors in emergency and disaster preparedness and response. People and networks within specific interest groups or professions with no previous connection to emergency management might be in possession of skills or material resources well needed in emergency and disaster preparedness and response.
As is stated in the reviewed literature, ethnicity, gender and social and economic circumstances are but just a few of the causes of discrimination in many crisis and disaster management efforts. By capacity building and inclusive voluntary community work, processes of empowerment can be triggered. The result is an enhanced sense of community and more opportunities for co-production. Important partnerships can be formed among groups that interact within a given population on a daily basis: scout troops, sports clubs, home-school organizations and faith-based and disability communities are examples of networks where relationships can be built. Thus, all members of the community should be part of the emergency management team, including social and community service groups and institutions, faith-based and disability groups, academia, professional associations, and the private and nonprofit sectors. Identifying the critical points of contact for all constituencies in the community makes communication and outreach most effective.
Östersund: Mittuniversitetet , 2013. , 40 p.