4 Pillars of Recovery


This is primarily why community recovery exists – to support those affected directly or indirectly by the event. Though in British Columbia there are usually 4 pillars (sectors-sections-divisions-call them what you will) of a community recovery plan, at times more will be added depending on the size and expanse of the event and who is coordinating it.

The people “pillar” includes topics like health, education, temporary and long term housing, pets, social engagement, social capitol, cultural awareness and literacy, community events, emotional supports, education, health care, the vulnerable….. and the list continues.

For those who have been through a wildfire; flood; landslide or any other major event, they will be all too aware of the many aspects that may need support and work to move forward and rebuild their lives.

Though the various aspects of community recovery are set out in different streams, they will almost always interconnect at different points. Traditional hunting areas on land burned out by wildfire is an example; it affects the people and the environment – but it may also include other values on the land (hunting cabins, trap lines, guide outfitter trails); which in turn affects infrastructure, and possibly the economic stability of the area. Recovery is complex.


The Environmental pillar of community recovery deals with all that surrounds us and supports us – the land, the air, the water….. Direct environmental considerations after wildfire goes through a rural area, may include: where to find fire wood; rebuilding fencing; stream flow analysis; potable water; agriculture; potential damage to cultural sites on the land; loss of traditional foods; environmental tourism….etc.


In order to survive and rebound after disaster the economic side of community recovery is of course, important. From “company towns” with one main employer that may have to close down temporarily or permanently, to the many small businesses found in rural areas that may be affected, the particular event, depending on size and scope, may cause some that are less resilient to have to close or relocate unless supports and new ways of imagining a community can help the economy to rebound.

On a larger scale, depending on the scale of the event, regional economic issues may be identified, such as loss of resources or regional tourism.

Infrastructure & Reconstruction

Without getting at least the basics of local government infrastructure in communities repaired and running again, evacuation of residents may be extended, or if lucky, the basics of water, sanitation, roads, etc may not suffer too much damage and people may be able to return home relatively quickly after a disaster. There may be a combination of both – while the water or power system may be repaired in a relatively short time, the roads may take longer to repair, but some residents may still be able to get back into their homes.

BC Housing has recently implemented training for rapid damage assessments which will build capacity in terms of the numbers of trained people who can enter a community post disaster and knowledgably assess the buildings to make sure they are safe for residents to return to.

“Infrastructure” owned by local government or First Nations communities may include : municipal water , sewage or power systems, buildings or public land (owned by the local government or First Nation), community parks, sidewalks, some roads, culverts, etc. For more information regarding Disaster Financial Assistance and what is eligible for support please go to the DFA webpage .

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