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Engaging Latino Communities in Emergency Management

On March 27, FEMA, the HHS Office of Minority Health and the National Council of La Raza co-hosted a webinar that highlighted the tools and resources available to help emergency management agencies strengthen relationships with the Latino Community.

The emergency manager’s tool kit for Latino communities was one resource that was highlighted and discussed during the webinar. This tool kit is part of a collaborative partnership between the National Council of La Raza, the HHS Office of Minority Health and additional partners. It is designed to:

  • Improve responsiveness not only to Latinos, but the whole community in disaster planning, relief, and recovery efforts
  • Provide effective practices for overcoming some of the largest barriers to full inclusion of diverse communities

We also covered additional effective practices from a regional and local perspective, from our Voluntary Agency Liaison Unit and two local emergency managers: Freddy Zelaya of the City of Fort Lauderdale, FL and Steve Pollio of Coconut Creek, FL.

Last fall, I had the opportunity to meet with leaders from across the country at the 2nd annual Latino Leadership Summit. During the Summit, we discussed how cooperation and collaboration between FEMA and the Latino community can help ensure that the needs of Latinos are recognized and addressed. We also discussed how leaders of the Latino community can play a vital role in bolstering disaster response and recovery capabilities.

FEMA is committed to strengthening relationships not just with the Latino Community, but with the whole community, a community that includes the elderly, people with access and functional needs, children and non-English speaking populations, to name a few. And we recognize that in order to do this effectively, we need to better understand how to reach diverse communities; we need to adapt to the needs of our communities; and most importantly, we need to speak the language of our communities. As such, I’d like to share some additional resources that focus on a whole community approach to emergency preparedness.

I encourage you to view and share the webinar with your colleagues and use the tools and resources provided. It’s important to continue the conversation for how we can work with the whole community to effectively prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against any disaster. You can do so by posting your comments and ideas on our FEMA Think Tank.

Last Updated: 
06/16/2012 - 15:55
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