Natural Hazards Resilience: A Quick Start Guide for North Carolina Communities

On April 27, 2020, the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) launched the Natural Hazards Resilience: A Quick Start Guide for North Carolina Communities to help communities better prepare for the impacts of future natural hazards and climate change. This quick start guide creates a template from which North Carolina communities can independently build climate resilience plans to adapt to changing weather conditions. The guide outlines three components of resilience and five strategies for implementing resilience into work that is already performed everyday.

According to the Guide, community resilience is defined as the capacity of communities, businesses, or natural environments to recover and rebound from climate disruptions. The ultimate goal is to recover stronger than before when a community experiences a natural disaster. This guide addresses three primary components of resilience: preparedness, connectedness, and adaptability.

Preparedness: To build climate resilience, communities must identify, prepare, and reduce the risks posed to residents and the local built environment. Preparing includes learning about climate risks, bolstering infrastructure, sustaining emergency management capacity, promoting insurance policies, developing infrastructure away from risk-prone areas, and making equitable land use decisions. 

Connectedness: As outlined under the value of “connectedness,” communities must collaborate across agencies, organizations, and institutions to determine their own futures in the face of these climate hazards. This section underscores that empowering the most vulnerable populations benefits the community as a whole. 

Adaptability: “Adaptability” as a quality to ensure community resilience, refers to having multiple ways to achieve goals in the case of different environmental circumstances. The Guide offers several sector-specific examples on what adaptability may look like. 

The 5 key personal and collective considerations for incorporating resilience into community programs and frameworks include: Learn, Connect, Avoid Future Suffering, Invest and Upgrade Wisely, and Integrate. Each of the five steps is accompanied by various ideas and resources for assessing a community’s level of preparedness, developing relationships and reaching residents with shared objectives, finding solutions to protect public safety, investing in projects that provide multiple benefits, and bolstering defense of natural and built landscapes. For example, to “avoid future suffering,” the plan recommends discouraging or prohibiting new development in the floodplain, as well as taking into consideration stormwater infrastructure -- one of many pieces of information that are not included in floodplain maps.

This guide underscores the importance of launching a collaborative community resilience effort, engaging stakeholders, and outlining priorities. Accordingly, a comprehensive plan should be connected to and integrated with other plans employed by the community.

Natural Hazards Resilience is part of a continued effort by the NCORR to construct and integrate plans and resilience strategies into local operations, and to prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, already being experienced by the state.

Publication Date: April 27, 2020

Related Organizations:

  • North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency

Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:

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