Disasters can and do happen. Small, rural, remote and coastal communities have been affected by hurricanes, wildfires, water contamination and an assortment of other hazards. Resource-based jobs have often disappeared and families have moved to larger urban centres. Some communities have slowly disappeared while others have flourished. What makes the difference? Why are some communities more resilient to disasters and change? How can you help your community survive and prosper?


Disaster resilience refers to a communitya��s ability to anticipate, and where possible, prevent or at least minimize the potential damage a disaster might cause.A� It involves how well a community can cope with the effects of a disaster if it occurs, to maintain certain basic functions and structures during the disaster, and to recover and adapt to the changes that result. Click Here to Read More

Disaster resilience includes knowing what hazards (such as forest fires, diseases, floods, chemical spills) the community might face, and being prepared for them.A� It also includes having an up to date and well-developed Emergency Plan, and an emergency planning process that reflects the knowledge, needs, and issues of the entire community.

Disaster resilience is more than hazard preparedness however. It also involves a wide range of a communitya��s strengths, including the type of people who live there and the resources a community has.A� Many rural communities have characteristics that make them more resistant to the effects of disaster, such as self-reliance, a wide variety of skills and equipment, and caring for one another. Characteristics like these can be strengthened. Resources can be built or acquired.A� This will make the community itself more resilient.A� Often, a truly resilient community is stronger after it recovers from a catastrophe.

Building community disaster resilience is an ongoing, year-round process aimed at strengthening the communitya��s ability to respond to disaster.

  • Hazard Risk Analysis: the knowledge of the types of hazards that the community may face, their likelihood of happening, and the risks they pose.A� These are both natural hazards, such as fire, flood or disease, and man-made hazards such as toxic spills and terrorism.
  • Community Resources: the strengths of the residents as individuals as a whole, such as the degree of self-sufficiency and mutual support, the style and quality of local governance and the availability ofA� resources or assets that that can be mobilized to strengthen and protect the community and respond and adapt to threats when they occur.
  • Disaster Management: how well prepared the community is able to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster.A� Factors include residentsa�� involvement in disaster preparedness planning, the quality of existing emergency preparedness plans, and the capabilities of local fire-fighting, medical and policing personnel.
  • Hazard Resilience: the specific measures that a community has taken to become resilient to local and regional hazards.
Guide Overview
Each step and associated activity outlined in the process diagram will guide you through planning, assessing your resilience, referencing the resource guide and tools.

The Rural Disaster Resilience Planning (RDRP) approach has been designed with rural communities in mind. The RDRP process includes a user-friendly guide to help you work through the various steps to increase resiliency in your community including:

Step 1: Getting Started – what steps to take in preparing for disaster resilience planning.
Step 2: Resilience Assessment – how to assess what disasters are likely to take place and your community’s current state of resiliency.
Step 3: Building a Resilience Plan – identifying strategies and goals for building resilience in your community.
Step 4: Plan Implementation – how to develop an Action Plan to help your community increase its overall resiliency and adopt strategies to help the community survive a disaster.

Using the Guide

This website contains all of the information you require to complete the 4 steps outlined in the diagram. Here are some instructions on using the site:

  • To access each step and associated activity, use the menu on the left or at the top of the page.
  • Each Step provides an overview of activities to be completed as well as a short case study.
  • Each Activity page includes instructions and information about completing the activity. To access any ‘Resources’ for the activity, links are made available on the right side of the page.
  • Some activities will require you to use a ‘Tool’ to complete an assessment. To use these online tools you must first create an account by clicking the ‘Create Account’ link in the left menu.
  • You can access the Tools directly by clicking My Tools & Reports in the menu on the left or clicking on My Tools in the top menu. You will be prompted to login or create an account if you have not done so already.
  • Once you have created and account, the next time you open the website you can simply enter your username and password in the Login field in the left menu.
  • All of the information on this website, including Resources, Tools and Reports, is available in downloadable PDF format in the ‘Resources’ section.
Video Tutorials

Below are five short tutorial videos on how to use the Rural Disaster Resilience Planning (RDRP) website.