Op-Ed: Roadmap for private-sector to advance resiliency and disaster readiness goals

Chief Service Officer Karen Baker | July 15, 2019

FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2017 file photo, smoke rises behind a destroyed apartment complex as a the Thomas wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

Of all the “new normals” in California today there is one where a particular urgency – climate change, increasing wild fires and disaster readiness – requires a deeper look at how we as a society are going to answer the governor’s call for all Californians to be ready.

Easier said than done? It would seem so, given the size and diversity of California and the unique needs within various cities, neighborhoods and rural regions of the state. And while situational awareness and corresponding emergency readiness is an area in which California responders have a solid lead, what about everyone else?

Given the growing incidence of natural disaster and the devastation that consumes communities during the aftermath, all Californians must see themselves as first responders, collectively responsible for one another.

The alarming running tally of more than 30 federally declared disasters in California in 2017 tells us we must be more ready than ever. But there is a piece to the puzzle that goes beyond how to get out if emergency personnel give the evacuation order: engaging communities and leveraging resources and talents of individual companies, non-profit organizations and philanthropic entities.

New efforts by Gov. Newsom and the state legislature are engaging diverse and socially vulnerable communities, with volunteers stepping in to help people prepare. Community-based and private-sector institutions also are poised to accelerate impact — if only given the roadmap…

Read the full op-ed in one of the following California newspapers: