New IOM Report Explores Role of Public in Disaster Planning

While average citizens may lack the expertise to comment on technical issues related to emergencies, they are very capable of deliberating on the values underlying public policy decisions. A new workshop summary from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) considers the role of public engagement in the process of disaster planning and decision making.
Public engagement can help inform members of the community, increase legitimacy and acceptance of disaster plans, and reveal public misunderstandings, biases, and areas of disagreement. By including community members and stakeholders in planning discussions, policy makers can address issues affecting a diverse range of citizens and help to create more realistic and sustainable disaster plans.
The report summarizes a workshop aimed at providing practitioners with guidance and key principles of public engagement that was hosted by the IOM Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events in March 2013. The workshop built on recommendations and guidance from the 2012 IOM report, Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response.