NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 44

People in Sari, Iran, pray over the
body of a COVID-19 victim prior to
burial. GETTY IMAGES

Ketchum wasn't alone: other international ski destinations, including Vail,
Colorado, were identified as coronavirus
incubators, where scores of visitors
became infected before returning home
and spreading the disease.
The threats faced by countless communities around the world reinforce
the need for jurisdictions of every
size-New York City, Tehran, Rome,
Ketchum-to understand those threats
and to gather resources with which
to address them. Resources don't
always mean money, manpower, and
materiel, however: just as important,
they can also mean a detailed understanding of a community, from natural
and manmade threats like wildfires
and industrial facilities, to important
demographic components such as a
large elderly population or influxes of
international visitors. With that understanding-through a process known as
community risk reduction, or CRR-
communities can better assess the
impact of potential risks and how best
to minimize them. It also helps them
identify the resources needed when
problems arise and to assist in recovery
in their aftermath.
At the very least, the process helps
communities manage a crisis. As the
current emergency has demonstrated, it
can also help save lives.

COMMUNITY
SELF-AWARENESS
The ongoing pandemic is only the
latest example of why CRR has become

an essential tool for threat assessment, preparation, management, and
recovery. The narrative of COVID-19
illustrates how the threat of infectious disease has intensified as the
global population grows in number
and density, and as people travel and
migrate in unprecedented numbers.
That global churn is accompanied by
an ever-shifting array of viruses and

"IT'S FAIR TO SAY WE
ENTERED THIS PANDEMIC
LARGELY AS A CULTURE
OF RESCUE ... WE NEED TO
GET BACK TO THAT PLACE
WHERE PEOPLE TAKE MORE
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
PREVENTION OF THE ISSUE
IN THE FIRST PLACE."
other pathogens, from West Nile and
Zika to H1N1 flu, that we unwittingly
disperse during our travels. As an Ebola
outbreak in Texas in 2014 illustrated,
threats we once considered ourselves
insulated from, by virtue of oceans or
continents, can now readily appear in
our midst.
The current pandemic also
demonstrates the extent to which

communities might have to fend for
themselves in an emergency. A dismaying aspect of the COVID-19 story so far
has been the large-scale disconnects-
between nations, between branches of
government, between the federal and
state governments-that have hindered
preparation for a pandemic and hobbled the response. At the community
level, officials have had to contend
with conflicting information and acute
shortages of essential resources, including personal protective equipment for
responders and medical workers. In
the United States, the customary topdown administration of a large-scale
emergency has only rarely been on display during the coronavirus response.
Many communities, desperate for any
kind of coordinated action, could only
wait for assistance as the number of
stricken people increased, while others
improvised solutions that in some cases
put responders, health care workers, or
citizens at risk.
For all of these reasons, experts
say, communities need a plan of their
own to help them address the next
pandemic, or whatever form the next
widespread threat takes. The new
NFPA 1300, Standard on Community
Risk Assessment and Community
Risk Reduction Plan Development, for
example, helps communities identify
and prioritize risks and take steps to
reduce and manage them. "We know
of a number of communities with
risk assessments in place, and they've
found them to be valuable during this

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NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

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NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - Cover1
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NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - Cover3
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