Cultures of Preparedness in Communities: A Role for Higher Education

flooded town rescue teamsThe Federal Emergency Management Agency held a workshop at its Higher Education Program National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland, May 22-23, 2018. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together emergency managers and social scientists to explore the cultural context of emergency preparedness. A lack of cultural understanding is often cited as a reason why an emergency response may be weak or might fail in practice. The goal of this workshop was to understand how a more culturally aware approach might increase and improve community resilience during an emergency. A report on the findings of this workshop was released this month: Building Cultures of Preparedness: Report for the Emergency Management Higher Education Community

“This report highlights the vast diversity of American communities and households, indicating that a one-size-fits-all strategy is not well-suited to the specific demands of variable and distinctive environments – our Culture of Preparedness will have to be built one community at a time. Preparedness is a local matter, requiring solutions tailored to different cultural contexts and embraced by communities.”

Four principles guide the development of a Culture of Preparedness: trust, inclusion, cross-cultural communication, and support. This report provides real-world examples and strategies for implementing cultural preparedness practices in communities. It highlights the role educational institutions can play in providing an environment for community engagement and emergency preparedness education; in addition to facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration within a community for the purpose of developing emergency management protocols.


Some of the links in this report require institutional access, click here to access the full report.


More resources and reports can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).


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