Beyond the Lights and Sirens – An Emergency Manager’s Perspective

Guest Blogger: Dr. Enessa Janes, Community Resilience Coordinator

When people hear the words “disaster” or “emergency management,” they typically think about first responders (police, EMTs, or firefighters) or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although these groups are crucial to response efforts, when it comes time for families and communities to begin recovery, it takes a diverse group of partners and expertise to be successful.

As a municipal emergency manager I have seen first hand how long disaster recovery truly takes. From floods and fires, to hurricanes and tsunamis, the impacts of traumatic events ripple through communities and families in complex and unseen ways. If the impacts of disasters are not addressed in a holistic way, they can negatively impact the identity of a family or a community forever.

That is why I support Our Front Porch. Their mission — to change the culture of long-term disaster recovery by healing the “whole person” after they experience a disaster — fills a critical gap in current recovery activity. As an emergency manager, I speak from experience about the importance of addressing post-disaster housing head-on. Across the U.S. our communities are already facing a housing crisis. Moreover, we are entering a new frontier of disaster recovery, one that is defined by rapid change, uncertainty, and decreasing federal resources.

More and more, emergency managers and resilience professionals like me find ourselves collaborating with non-traditional partners in order to ready our communities and help them recover. Our Front Porch stands out as an incredibly unique and nimble organization, one that brings people-oriented trauma recovery expertise and personalized housing navigation services together. Heather and Maggie’s clients are consistently met with respect, compassion and care at a time when they are experiencing the worst days of their lives. When it comes to recovery, this approach makes all the difference in the world.