Community resilience updates, resources, and events from RAND

RAND Corporation: Focus on Community Resilience Newsletter

September 2013

Periodic updates on community resilience work at RAND

Resilience in Action: Updates

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience (LACCDR) project has entered Year Three of a six-year initiative. Led by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the LACCDR is a partnership among several organizations including RAND, UCLA, Emergency Network of Los Angeles, and Loma Linda University.

The project seeks to implement and evaluate resilience-building strategies in eight L.A. communities using an extensive community engagement approach and comparing eight additional L.A. communities that pursue “usual preparedness” activities. Coalitions in each of the 16 communities will pursue a resilience or preparedness plan over the next couple of years.

Be Ready LA Website

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Getting Actionable About Community Resilience: The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Project

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Building Community Disaster Resilience: Perspectives from a Large Urban County Department of Public Health

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Applying Community Engagement to Disaster Planning: Developing the Vision and Design for the Los Angeles Country Community Disaster Resilience Initiative

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Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC

Resilient DC, is a multi-year effort to bridge government and nongovernmental organizations in building community resilience in the nation's capital. Resilient DC is sponsored by the Department of Public Health and has engaged a wide variety of government agencies and community organizations.

The project held a successful kick-off forum with more than 110 organizations in May 2013. Now, participants are developing a citywide resilience strategy, meeting monthly to discuss core activities of the initiative and its communications campaign. For more information about Resilient DC, contact

Strategy Development for Resilient Cities

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Resilience in Action: Around the Globe

RAND is currently completing Phase One of a project with the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology (CASTED) to explore the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in disaster response and recovery. Project researchers will publish an article about how NGOs function differently in the United States and China and will identify factors that support effective engagement across the two countries. In addition, they will produce a toolkit for supporting NGO and government partnerships, including assessments to inventory NGO assets and examine the historical and cultural context of NGO participation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are pillars of the community during times of disaster and routine operations, as evident by recent disaster recovery experience. Recent research sheds light on some frequently asked questions regarding NGO engagement.

How can community leaders integrate NGOs into disaster operations?

A new operational model specifying NGO roles and responsibilities before, during, and after a disaster can provide crucial guidance. Without such integration, coordination challenges and inefficient use of government resources persist. Although this operational model must be applied and tested in future community planning and disaster response, it holds promise as a unifying framework across new national preparedness and recovery policy. It also provides structure for future community planning, resource allocation, and metrics upon which to evaluate NGO involvement in disaster operations.

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What unique resources do NGOs provide in support of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery?

An important first step to answering this question is outlining a new assets framework that a) identifies relevant nongovernmental resources for disaster preparedness and response and b) can be used to assess their availability at the state and local level. For each of the 11 sectors designated by the CDC in the 2011 preparedness capabilities, the framework organizes nongovernmental assets into six categories:

  • competencies
  • money
  • infrastructure or equipment
  • services
  • relationships
  • data.

Researchers have also identified a need to strengthen the capacity of each sector to capture data on each asset type in ways that can be merged for “just-in-time” analysis of where additional relief is needed.

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Tools and Resources

New Online Interactive Training on Building Community Resilience

holding hands

RAND's new easy-to-use, web-based training, Building Community Resilience focuses on addressing the tension between policy and implementation, moving the field toward concrete action. Building Community Resilience distills the extensive body of research on resilience-building into simple steps that communities and organizations can take to help strengthen themselves against all kinds of disasters.

What can I expect to learn from this training?

This training includes an introduction, an in-depth description of what community resilience is, and a set of action items that can be implemented to build community resilience. Users can expect to learn:

  • the principles of resilience
  • the differences between resilience and emergency preparedness
  • actionable steps for organizations or community planning teams to build resilience.

Who is this training for?

Community resilience is everyone's responsibility. Organizations, businesses, and local governments must work together to assess their resources and create plans to ensure that the community is ready to withstand the stress and strain of disaster. With this in mind, RAND designed the training for many different types of organizations, including:

  • businesses
  • faith-based organizations
  • hospitals, health clinics, and other health agencies
  • mental health providers
  • schools and universities
  • civic and volunteer groups
  • fire, police, emergency management, and other first responders
  • local government agencies
  • public health departments
  • all types of nonprofit agencies.

How can I access the training?

The training is available online on and includes a user's guide that provides ideas for how to use the training in your community.

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When Household Preparedness is Not Enough

family looking at house

Tracking household preparedness (who has emergency kits, etc.) is often not enough to know if the whole community is able to withstand and recover from a disaster. RAND researchers explored this issue and reviewed whether other information on community preparedness is helping local planners.

Results of literature reviews and key informant interviews suggest that while there is great interest in quantifying community preparedness, existing data have major limitations. There is a need for more measures of organizational and network activity, as well as measures in the area of community engagement and empowerment.

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Introducing the Resilience in Action Website

resilience hands

The new Resilience in Action website showcases RAND's efforts to translate research into action.

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policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.

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