The Ten Ps of Post-Disaster Safe Recovery

Recovering from a major storm is never an easy or rapid process: it requires constant attention to The Ten Ps of Post-Disaster Safe Recovery:

  1. Posterity. We hold the earth in trust for future generations. We must think long term and broadly, finding creative, sustainable solutions. Just because something has “never been done that way before” does not mean it will not work now.
  2. People. Put people first. Gather together and listen to the people, including victims, public officials (who may also be victims of the disaster), subject matter experts and taxpayers. Establish goals including determining, in a collaborative way, what are the best solutions for the immediate situation and for future generations.
  3. Patchwork. No single program exists to meet all the needs of the community or each individual. We need to take a bit of “this and that”.
  4. Persistence. Never give up. Keep talking. Keep negotiating. Keep searching for the right answers and the right programs to meet specific challenges.
  5. Problems. Keep focusing on problems. Synergy is important. Bring resources together. Communicate. Focus. How do allies, partners, and skeptics view the problem? How can differences be resolved and critical needs met?
  6. Prudence. Focus efforts on achievable goals. Everyone’s time is limited. Do not squander time on roadblocks. Move on and come back later.
  7. Personal Decisions. Following a flood, people must make critical decisions about their lives, their families and their futures. Remember that this is a democracy and decisions must be made within a participatory engagement involving all who have a stake in the future of a community. Disaster survivors will need resources and probably support, such as mitigation or crisis counseling, which is often available, needed and vital following a disaster.
  8. Proactive. Take initiative. Seek help. Expand your staff. Take advantage of the limited window of opportunity to create, fund and complete the program.
  9. Patience. This is a difficult time for everyone: victims, community leaders and people assisting with the recovery. We need patience, particularly when systems are shattered beyond any possibility of quick repair. We need to maintain calm. Help is available for everyone.
  10. Plain Common Sense. We must describe our processes, plans, and programs in a straightforward way. The concepts should “sound right.” They should provide logical solutions that resonate as the “common sense” thing to do.

Next: Creating the Patchwork Quilt (coming soon!)