Over the past year, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, in partnership with the North Valley Community Foundation and Wells Fargo, has worked with leaders and stakeholders across California to identify gaps and solutions for local communities to support increasing community resilience in the face of the increasing threat of wildfires. With the participation and feedback of social scientists, physical scientists, key business leaders, local city leaders, and nonprofit and philanthropy partners, the Guide provides science-informed tools to support small business communities move from “recovery to resilience” in preparation for the next fire season.
The Guide lays out four key areas of work:
- Collecting and using data and science to craft plans;
- Developing and deploying a “small business communication and education plan”
- Adopting pre-disaster policies in support of small business resilience; and
- Building the right relationships and increasing social capital with the local small businesses
These sections contain more than 50 tactics and approaches to increase the resiliency of communities– in this report, resilience describes the capacity or ability to anticipate and cope with shocks, and to recover from their impacts in a timely and efficient manner. Each community is unique, and not every tactic may be applicable depending on the different levels of community risk. Fundamentally, this work is about building interpersonal connections before the disaster in order to leverage the relationships in a time of shock or stress.
This Guide was created to be used by those in community leadership positions to support the building of resilience of their small businesses in California. From local elected officials and emergency managers to businesses and organizational leaders, those that care about the future of their community must act to support the resilience of their small business sector. Without a vibrant, resilient business sector, a community is more challenged in coming back, in defining itself, in being a place residents can rally around. Business districts help define local communities, and therefore are a nuclei for resilience planning and recovery. Small businesses don’t have the capacity on their own to prepare for disasters ahead of time, and with the increasing intensity and frequency of wildfires and other disasters, it takes all different sectors of our communities working together to get us through it.
While this Guide focuses on wildfire risks in California, the applied tactics and the connections developed will help communities build resilience to any disaster they might face. The improved communication and stronger ties between community organizations and businesses will yield benefits in times without disasters, as well. Just as planning for disasters is an ongoing process and commitment, The Jones Center will be updating this Guide annually as additional resources for small businesses and new recommendations for preparing for the increased intensity and frequency of hazards due to climate change are published.
Access the guide here: Small Business Recovery to Resilience Guide 2023
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