In recent years natural disasters have become more frequent and have resulted in growing concern about natural disaster preparedness, response and recovery. This concern was apparent in the surveys, interviews and focus groups. One of the key findings was that there are significant unmet training needs in the area of natural disasters.
The survey respondents indicated the overall top three general unmet training needs were related to natural disaster response, recovery and protection. The respondents reported a wide spectrum of training needs for natural disasters. These needs range from awareness, risk assessment, mitigation, response and recovery. There was an expressed need to increase awareness of natural hazards at all levels of government and the public.
There were great concerns that the public is unprepared and has unrealistic expectations of government’s capacity to respond to natural disasters. Many advocated the inclusion of non-governmental organizations and the general public in trainings, and to increase training for public communication and awareness of natural disasters. A number of respondents noted that the “first responders” were in reality the citizens who were “often ill equipped to deal with the disaster.”