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Why Citizens Should Prepare for Emergencies and How to Do It

Posted on June 21, 2017
By Sylvia Cheuy

stairs black and white fire escape.jpgMost Canadian Municipalities have emergency preparedness plans in place that detail how various departments and staff will work together to respond in the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather event.  

Citizens and neighbours can always be relied on to help one another during these times as well, however, this capacity could be significantly enhanced if neighbours -- like municipalities -- created opportunities to know one another and proactively develop plans.Knowing who in the neighbourhood has mobility issues, who lives alone, who has a generator and/or who has medical training and/or first aid skills can enable neighbours to more effectively mobilize and support one another.  

In September 2017, Tamarack's Deepening Community Practice Area will be launching a new Community of Practice (CoP) that is focused on Citizens and Emergency Preparedness which is free and open to all who are interested.

A Community of Practice is a group of peers from diverse sectors who share a commitment to learn from one another in order to accelerate their collective understanding, in this case -  of the role of citizens and communities in preparing for emergencies and to share their learning and insights across the field.

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By drawing upon their own experiences as well as the knowledge and expertise of a variety of subject-matter experts in this field, members will deepen their understanding of this issue as well as identifying and sharing useful resources and stories to illustrate promising practices.  Specifically, we hope that the Citizens & Emergency Preparedness Community of Practice will:

  • Explore issues related to engaging/informing citizens about the purpose and value of preparing for emergencies 
  • Highlight promising practices from CoP members and subject-matter experts from other jurisdictions via guest presentations 
  • Enable participants to explore this issue of growing community concern in a proactive and holistic way 
  • Ultimately invite members to work together to develop a set of recommendations to for key stakeholders on how to maximize citizen Emergency Preparedness

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Here are some of the groups that we hope will take part in the Citizens & Emergency Preparedness Community of Practice

  • Municipal staff whose portfolio includes Emergency Preparedness and/or Community Resiliency
  • Non-profit leaders
  • Citizen Leaders 
  • Members of Neighbourhood Associations 
  • Insurance Industry representatives
  • Foundations and funders

If you are interested in becoming a member of this Community of Practice which will launch on September 12th, 2017 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm EST, please register here.

If you have other questions -- or an idea for an essential topic to include in this CoP -- reach out to me via email at 

Sylvia Cheuy, Cities Deepening Community

Sylvia Cheuy

By Sylvia Cheuy

Sylvia is a Consulting Director of the Tamarack Institute’s Collective Impact Idea Area and also supports Tamarack’s Community Engagement Idea Area. She is passionate about community change and what becomes possible when residents and various sector leaders share an aspirational vision for their future. Sylvia believes that when the assets of residents and community are recognized and connected they become powerful drivers of community change. Sylvia is an internationally recognized community-builder and trainer. Over the past five years, much of Sylvia’s work has focused on building awareness and capacity in the areas of Collective Impact and Community Engagement throughout North America.

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