What Happens When Disaster Strikes?

What Happens After An Emergency?

January conference pointed to the important role nonprofits play

As I sit at home safe and insulated from the historic subzero temperatures that grip our state, emergency preparedness and disasters are front of mind.  The temperature has brought communities and businesses to a standstill for the last few days, and additional strain on our first responders.  While there will be some lingering impacts, there was adequate time to prepare for most, and in the scheme of things life will soon be back to normal as the cold recedes in a few days.  That may not always be the case.

This extreme weather serves as a strong reminder of the need to have a plan, to be prepared to support our communities. 

After a disaster, recovery support falls in very large part on our local non-profits.   On January 17th WCI hosted an event focused on nonprofit preparedness and discussed the important roles these organizations play in times of disaster.  The event, “Emergency:  Finding Your Nonprofit's Role in a Crisis” allowed attendees to hear from three speakers who provided different insight on disasters, response, and recovery, with special attention on long-term recovery.  We filmed the event, recognizing the need to share this with an even broader audience, and over the course of the next few weeks, we will be releasing an installment of videos from the event for the benefit of those who weren’t able to attend, and as a refresher for attendees. 

The first video features Patrick Waletzko, Otter Tail County MN, Emergency Manager.  He covered a lot of great information on disasters and recovery from the lens of his experience as an Emergency Manager.  We will be adding other videos from the conference in the near future.

I also encourage you to revisit the disaster videos in this website, if you haven’t watched them before. These people could be your neighbors. Maybe you even know some of them. Disaster can come in many forms, and when you watch these stories you will see how it can happen to anyone.

Plan to survive.

WCI has made resources available on Stay Open For Business that anyone – individuals, community leaders, business owners, nonprofit organizations – can use to be better prepared, should the unimaginable happen.  If it’s been a while since you looked at them, I encourage you to set aside time to review what’s available.  It’s here, for your use and benefit.I also hope you’ll follow this blog as we add more great content from this conference for nonprofits.  Watch for more from the other speakers:  Nancy Beers from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Thomas Hill from the United Way of Cass-Clay, and a rich panel discussion filled with helpful comments and tips.

Greg Wagner
WCI Director of Business and Economic Development