The adaptation strategies below offer possible ways to address anticipated climate risks to disaster preparedness and emergency response.
Adaptation strategies for disaster preparedness and emergency response
- Conduct a whole community preparedness approach and work with multiple community partners to extend reach and acceptance. Ensure that the outreach accommodates traditionally underserved populations and is accessible across different languages and abilities. Collect feedback at least annually and update the plan accordingly.
- Educate residents about steps they can take to improve personal emergency preparedness.
- Update the outreach plan accordingly with the intent of reaching and educating the most residents. Partner with local groups to increase outreach.
- Hold regular response trainings for new volunteers and refresher trainings for existing volunteers. Test the plan of action for each potential climate hazard annually through emergency response drills and update the plan accordingly. Conduct additional outreach to encourage more community members to volunteer. These programs often exist at a county level so communicate with the county government to determine what currently exists and identify needed improvements.
- Create a list and map of all critical infrastructure and determine if any of it is in a flood-prone area or is susceptible to extreme heat.
- Review FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Map to identify possible emergency areas.
- Create a map that identifies both critical assets (e.g., hospitals, fire stations, shelters, and distribution centers) and transportation routes between them. Include identification of neighborhoods and routes that are likely to be inundated under various scenarios to help the local government evaluate how to get resources to those areas. In the case of regional events, plans should specify the procurement of supplies from outside the region via reliable transportation routes.
- Reinforce any critical infrastructure that is in a flood-prone area.
- Identify detours to reach critical infrastructure during a hazardous event and have a plan to notify staff and travelers when the detours are in place.
- Upgrade critical infrastructure to ensure higher temperatures will not substantially degrade or prevent their functionality.
- Involve critical facility and emergency infrastructure managers in climate change preparedness and management.
- Routinely test the communication systems.
- Create a public communications plan and an internal and partner agency communications plan for when traditional communication and internet/data-based networks fail and when radio waves become overwhelmed. Ensure that the plans establish communication priorities during emergencies and are tested and updated annually.
- Adopt post-event recovery policies and procedures to repair communications services. Regularly update the policies and procedures, and ensure they are appropriate for reaching diverse and vulnerable populations, including residents for whom English is not their first language.
- Assess communications needs, and develop and distribute a complete list of local, state, and federal agency contacts that could be needed before, during, and after an extreme weather event. Updates the list annually, at minimum.
- Integrate these actions into a multi-hazard mitigation plan.
- Ensure the multi-hazard mitigation plan addresses emergency response needs during floods, heatwaves, droughts, low-head dam spills, and other climate-related events.
- Create a list of possible hazardous events and ensure the plan adequately and equitably protects would-be affected areas and residents.
- Include transportation and logistics for critical resources, a map identifying critical facilities and transportation between them, neighborhoods and routes likely to be inundated and how to get resources to them, and how to get supplies from outside of the region. Local governments often tailor the framework of their state’s plan to their jurisdiction.
These strategies are adapted from existing federal and other resources. Please view these strategies in the context provided by the primary source document:
The adaptation strategies provided are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address current and future climate threats. Read the full disclaimer.