Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Civil Defence vs Emergency Management

Just been reading the latest issue of Impact. There's an interesting article in the back about the results of the National Colmar Brunton CDEM Survey which was conducted in June 2009, and its follow-up. Some focus groups in Canterbury were asked about the Civil Defence branding and concept, with some interesting responses.

Personally, I'd love to get rid of "civil defence" as a term, and replace it with "emergency management" and "community resilience" and so on. Civil defence is a concept that is so very Dad's Army, and doesn't match up with the modern principals of emergency management, and actually reinforces the misconception that "someone else" will come to the rescue. The responses mentioned in the article only reinforce that for me.

Civil Defence Logo

"The civil defence logo clearly gives the community a degree of comfort and a feeling of safety - perhaps more than would be ideal when the objective is
to encourage and enable community self help and resilience."
Many still think the civil defence army will come and save them on day three of the disaster - some kind of significant organised response (plastered with CD logos, obviously). Um... what army would that be then? Where can I find them? Do they live in the bunker under the Beehive? In cold storage? I'd really love to be able to pull an army out of the cupboard when required, but I can't use what isn't there.

Thankfully, the younger generations seem to have a better understanding of the realities of the situation, and have a higher expectation that they are going to have to look after themselves, and work with other people in their community to help sort things out. They seem to get that there is no mystical army, they get that they are it. If you are looking for your rescuers, look in the mirror, look in the next room, and next door, look around you in church, or at the corner store. That's where you'll find them, they are you, your family and your community. We're just here to help you do your thing.

"Interestingly, there were some younger participants who suggested the brand should be retained only to ensure older members of the community, who had grown up with it, did not feel less secure. These responses indicated a degree of social awareness that some may find surprising, but also an insight into the impact that the civil defence brand may actually have on fostering preparedness and resilience."

So, what do you think? What does civil defence mean to you? Does it give the wrong message? What does emergency management mean to you? Do they mean different things?

Quotes from Survey reveals community perceptions: Impact, Vol 36, December 2009, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, page 11.

No comments: