This issue features two correlative themes centring around who exactly a stakeholder is in an emergency.
In 2005, CRJ argued that citizens should never be assigned the role of public victim and that it would be a strong public disservice to restrict or deny public involvement during a disaster.
In an evolution of this theme, many are now daring to speak about what was previously often taboo – as stated on page 30: “First responders know that a disaster or catastrophe will overwhelm our community’s response capability.” Police, fire, ambulance and rescue resources are finite and members of the public must become more self-resilient.
Such self-reliance in emergencies varies considerably around the world. The public in the UK, for example, is generally acknowledged as not being very self-rescue or resilience oriented. We explore this theme in many articles, analysing initiatives and case studies on how to convince citizens to prepare for emergencies and encourage them to be self-reliant.
Next, we know that today’s emergencies are deeper, wider, more all-encompassing and unexpected than ever before. Yet, societies, especially those within the urban environment, often ignore any threat. Following the article on page 56, our next issue will explore more deeply the theme of integrated urban resilience, designing and adapting our cities in a holistic manner so they are less vulnerable to natural hazards and man-made disasters, yet remain pleasant environments in which to live and work.
This brings us back to the issue of stakeholders. These twin messages of resilience and self-rescue must permeate every level of society, in order to build communities that are better equipped to face the future.