This study investigates the lived experiences of community leaders affected by Hurricane Irene and/or Superstorm Sandy to better understand education and training needs in the long-term phase of community disaster recovery. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 92 health and safety leaders in five communities. Local-level emergency managers, public health directors, mental health directors, hospital emergency operations leaders, elected officials, chiefs of fire and police, and leaders of volunteer organizations active in recovery were targeted for inclusion. Data were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed. Respondents were unlikely to have had pre-event training in considerations for community recovery. Of the professions interviewed, local volunteer organization leaders indicated the lowest amount of pre-event training in disaster medicine and public health, while public health directors reported the most. Across all professions, training in internal and external communication was the most likely to be obtained pre-event. Common training needs included: awareness of Federal Emergency Management Agency programs, the incident command system, rebuilding and recovery, inter-agency, and private sector collaboration, and general disaster preparedness techniques. A multitude of professionals are active contributors to long term community recovery, suggesting the need for an inclusive and collaborative multi-sector approach toward professional education in this realm.
- disaster planning and preparedness
- disaster recovery
- public health preparedness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Administration