What "Values-Based Emergency Management" is all about

"People loved the trees, and wanted to protect them."


Residents of Rock Haven, California linked their town's identity to the forest that surrounded their town. Protecting that resource took top priority in the town's resilience strategy. Before that resource was lost, town residents recognized that increased wildfire fuel - the result of past forest management practices - had created a very high likelihood that the forest would be destroyed in coming years.



Like is true in most places, the town's limited finances required that difficult decisions be made. The cost of protecting the entire forested area managed by the town would have added up to $1M - money that couldn't be spent without having too much of an impact on other needed programs.


Working with the state, however, Rock Haven was able to secure funding to cover 90% of the cost of protection. The 10% match still represents a sizeable outlay for a small town, but Rock Haven's efforts paid off just a few years later when a fire destroyed nearby forests but the protective actions helped to spare Rock Haven.


In the end, a secondary benefit was that area homes were saved.


Note that, for the people in Rock Haven, this was a SECONDARY benefit.


As hazard risk managers, we need to consider these alternative perspectives.


THIS, is what values-based emergency management (#VBEM) is all about.


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