Everyone reduces disaster risks in ways that have everyday benefits
Reducing risk is the core of disaster resilience
When governments, businesses, households and individuals reduce risks there are direct benefits even if a disaster does not occur, and disaster risk reduction measures underpin economic confidence and growth for individuals and businesses. In many cases risk reduction measures are best embedded in normal everyday plans and operations for households, businesses and other organisations.
The goal is to include disaster risk reduction in normal activities and enable broader or everyday benefits where possible. This includes:
- Land use and the development of the built environment helping to minimise long-term vulnerabilities
- Critical infrastructure and services are operational and as reliable as possible during and after disasters
- Prioritising key industry, economic, social, natural and cultural asset protection.
- Land use planning
- Related building and other standards
- Natural resource management plans
- Risk reduction can include engineering or construction (‘grey measures’) and also ‘green’ or nature-based solutions.
Decisions made about how land is used and developed can have significant positive or negative disaster resilience impacts.
Swiss NGO DRR Platform, From grey to green: Nature based solutions for disaster risk reduction and resilience building.
Critical infrastructure and services resilience
The Australian Government’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy defines critical infrastructure as:
- Energy – power and fuel supply
- Water and sanitation
- Transport infrastructure and services, including ports, airports and public information systems as well as road/ rail infrastructure
- Food supply chains
- Health facilities and services
- Banking and finance.
Critical infrastructure and service providers have additional obligation to better ensure supply. However, in severe disaster events, communities must be ready for some disruption to services.
Disaster risk is something households and businesses should keep in mind as part of normal everyday plans and actions. Many organisations have risk management plans that cover disaster resilience. The major purchases and actions people take can influence their future exposure to disasters so it is wise to consider disaster risks when making them.
Disaster risk management is best achieved as part of normal activities, or ‘mainstreamed’ rather than treated as an isolated activity. For example,
- Disaster risk management for buildings should form part of an ongoing maintenance program that has other everyday benefits
- Back-up power sources, such as a torch, a camping stove or a generator, have uses aside from during and after disasters
- Business continuity planning can identify everyday business process improvements.
- Family, friends and pets
- Homes, buildings and necessary infrastructure
- Employment and other aspects of the economy
- The environment
- Our communities and the connections and cultures that make them strong.
Australian emergency services recognise the primacy of life as the main priority. Then;
- Key state or community economic and social assets
- Crowded places
- Educational institutions
- Irreplaceable state natural and cultural heritage assets.