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Whole Community Philosophy

As the effects of natural and man-made disasters become more rapid, far-reaching, and wide-spread, government at all levels must grapple with the limitations of its capabilities. The simple reality is that in small and medium sized disasters, government can expand its reach and deliver services more efficiently and cost effectively by partnering with institutions, groups and individuals already active in the impacted communities. And in large scale disasters, the needs of survivors will outweigh the collective resources and capabilities that government at all levels can bring to bear. Government can no longer assume that it can solve disaster management challenges on its own, and how effectively government at every level engages with and leverages the resources of other segments of society will determine how successful a communities’ recovery is, as a whole.

Experience has taught us that we must do a better job of providing services for the entire community, regardless of their background, demographics, or challenges. This means planning for the actual makeup of a community, making sure we meet the needs of every person regardless of age, economics, or accessibility requirements.

Addressing these related concerns cannot be achieved by simply improving on what we have always done – we must fundamentally change how we go about disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation, by involving the communities we serve directly in these efforts. We must look beyond the traditional, “government-centric” approach to emergency management and embrace a philosophy and operational posture that leverages, and serves, the Whole Community.

It takes all aspects of a community (volunteer, faith and community-based organizations, the private sector, and the public, including survivors themselves) – not just the government – to effectively prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against any disaster. It is critical that we work together to enable our communities to develop collective, mutually supporting local capabilities to withstand the potential initial impacts of these events, respond quickly, and recover in a way that sustains or improves the community’s overall well-being.

How communities achieve this collective capacity calls for innovative approaches from across the full spectrum of community actors to expand and enhance existing practices, institutions, and organizations that help make local communities successful every day, under normal conditions, and leverage this social infrastructure to help meet community needs when an incident occurs.

We believe that Whole Community Emergency Management is a philosophy that should be applied to everything we do, as an agency, and as a field of practice. We need your help to help accomplish the Whole Community goals for resilience and recovery not just during an incident, but way before one ever occurs. You are part of the whole community whether you live in Tooele County or work here, we all play a vital role in the resilience of the entire community.