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A scoping and feasability study to develop a framework for CFS bushfire safety programs and evaluation
reportposted on 25.06.2018, 00:00 by Danielle Every
Disaster resilience is “core business” for emergency services (NSDR 2011). Resilience can be defined as social, economic and psychological elasticity and toughness. That is, the ability of households, communities and nations to function under stress, to adapt to the situation and to be self-reliant. However, resilience isn’t only about surviving – it’s also about thriving. By building our strengths and capabilities we can grow from disaster experiences and use them as opportunities for transformation. In order to embed resilience as ‘core business’, the SA CFS are developing a resilience-focused framework for community engagement programs. This framework is the foundation on which all CFS community campaigns and engagement programs will be created, developed and sustained. The broad and encompassing scope of resilience, however, raises particular challenges for embedding it within programs. In the face of a wide range of possible contributors to resilience, it is important to define an agency’s sphere of influence, what it can contribute to resilience. To assist with this process, this project draws upon current literature on resilience in hazard management, together with two group discussions with CFS staff, to create a) an agreed definition of resilience b) an agreed set of dimensions of resilience which CFS community engagement programs can influence This paper introduces a proposed set of dimensions of resilience for CFS programs. The three dimensions are: 1. Social factors: trust, working together, opportunities to connect, communication, leadership 2. Personal factors: self-reliance and resourcefulness; self-efficacy; ability to make decisions under stress; critical thinking, problem solving and responsible decision making; flexibility 3. Information, awareness and preparation: bushfire awareness, bushfire preparedness – households, vulnerable households, businesses, farms The process raised several issues around particular elements of resilience. For example, how should the scope of the resilience factors learning and leadership be defined in CFS community engagement programs, and how to implement community engagement programs in communities where pre-existing resilience is low and may require community building activities outside of the CFS remit. The next step is to consider this draft model and the issues it raises. Once the model is refined and a final model of resilience is agreed upon, it can used to review policy and programs and undertake self-assessments to ensure coordination of efforts to enhance resilience. The dimensions can also be used in an implementation context to develop measures of resilience and chart progress toward achieving it.