Whole Community Partnerships

Advancing preparedness and building partnerships between the faith community and emergency responders is a win-win approach for all concerned.  Consider the following three reasons for such engagement:

The Faith Community has been–and will continue to be—active in disasters

Many congregations played active roles in the disasters that struck Western Massachusetts in 2011 (tornadoes, Tropical Storm Irene flooding and October snowstorm and long power outages).  Preparing faith-based institutions and their members and establishing communication and partnerships with emergency management leaders in advance will enable all participants to be more effective in disaster response and recovery.

Building on a successful track record of community preparedness

Since 2008, the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council has taken the lead in preparedness outreach to community-based organizations and schools, with a focus on Individuals Requiring Additional Assistance (IRAA)—those with functional and access needs:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advocates  “Whole Community” Partnerships

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. Credit: FEMA

Improving the Nation’s Response to Catastrophic Disasters,  Craig Fugate Report to Congress (March 2011)

“When disaster strikes, the initial services provided may not come from government, but rather from churches, synagogues, mosques and other faith-based and community organizations…FEMA is working to improve our preparedness through the Whole Community framework.” – Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator.

FEMA: National Disaster Recovery Framework (September 2011)


“Nonprofit organizations are critical for ensuring participation and inclusion of all members of the impacted community…such as individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, children, seniors, individuals with limited English proficiency and other underserved populations.”
FEMA: A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management (December 2011)


“When the community is engaged in an authentic dialogue, it becomes empowered to identify its needs and the existing resources that may be used to address them.”
FEMA: Crisis Response and Disaster Resilience 2030 (January 2012)


“Trust is absolutely critical to everything we do. The effectiveness with which we can deliver outcomes to people in need requires trusted relationships.” – David Kaufman, Director, Office of Policy and Program Analysis, FEMA
FEMA: 2012 National Preparedness Report (March 2012)


“This whole community approach to preparedness recognizes that disasters affect all segments of society. While the Federal Government plays a critical role in coordinating national-level efforts, it is communities and individuals who lead efforts to implement preparedness initiatives throughout the Nation.”