Description: Representatives of the City of Highland Village expressed concern over the risk of wildfires for their community. Anthropology provides many tools for and examples of disaster assessment of preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. These tools combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can provide a holistic, cultural ecological look at how such a disaster may take place in the city. The project's methods included a detailed survey of preparedness steps which was analyzed using SPSS and also imported into ArcGIS for spatial analysis, and semi-formal, in-depth interviews with residents of the community regarding preparedness, response, and recovery. Residents fell into a middle category of preparedness, with the majority of participants considering or implementing a few recommended preparedness steps. Interview participants expressed respect for and trust of the city and first-responders, as well as a willingness to volunteer their help during response and recovery stages. Finally the American Community Survey showed that resident socioeconomic vulnerability was considerably low, and no action needed to be taken to advocate for at-risk individuals. Overall, the City of Highland Village showed a high resiliency to disaster. A wildfire likely will not have a major impact on the community as a whole, though the city may reduce the impact even further by informing the public of their risk, clearing natural areas of dead brush, sharing preparedness and evacuation information via social media and newsletters, and planning relief stations for those who may have been impacted.
Date: May 2016
Creator: MacKinnon, Jessica