“Serious Games” simulation will allow community residents to identity & report back key assets and gaps in disaster response to local elected officials and policymakers

(MIAMI) — Nearly 200 residents from 15 neighborhoods across South Florida are expected to gather this Saturday, June 30th at Miami Dade College Wolfson campus to create what they hope is a more community-focused response plan to hurricanes and other potential disasters.

Residents from vulnerable neighborhoods who are interested in attending the free civic planning event can still RSVP for the day by visiting http://newfm.win/serious1

Dubbed the “2018 Serious Games,” the day-long workshop will explore how both how local emergency management procedures worked and failed in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and what residents can do to become much more prepared for future extreme weather events. Community-based organizations and health providers will help residents examine and report back to elected officials and policymakers on 26 core mission critical functions, which consist of everything from energy and evacuation routes to emergency shelters and supply chains.  

“Hurricane Irma proved that South Florida is not yet fully prepared for a severe natural disaster,” said Nancy Metayer, New Florida Majority Climate Program Manager. “These games are an important step in executing disaster plans that take into account local assets and address specific community needs. Residents, working with each other and with the public and private sectors, will ensure that all communities have the physical and social infrastructure needed to not just survive, but thrive past such a storm.”

A critical component of the day is the Serious Games disaster simulation, where participants will be asked to navigate real-life disaster scenarios so that they can gauge gaps in mission critical functions such as water, energy, communication. The group will then report back their findings to a group of assembled policymakers, with neighborhood specific groups being able to identify specific funding needed to execute neighborhood-specific responses.

The effort is the culmination of nearly a year’ worth of organizing and community meetings led by a variety of local climate organizations, including the Miami Climate Alliance, the New Florida Majority, Catalyst Miami, FANM, Sant La Neighborhood Services and the CLEO Institute. (More community partners can be found below.).

Elected officials and other climate leaders that are expected to attend include: Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Frank Rollason, South Miami Mayor Philip K. Stoddard, Miami-Dade County Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava and Eileen Higgins, FL State Representative Shevrin Jones and FL State Senator Annette Taddeo.

A FULL DAY OF CLIMATE COMMUNITY ANALYSIS & PROBLEM SOLVING

Saturday’s event  will begin with a three hour deeply immersive real-life disaster preparedness exercise designed to build community resilience ahead of what very well may prove to be another dramatic year of extreme weather. In the later half of the day, participants will form “solution teams” — one for each mission critical function — to begin developing specific community-led solutions to the most pressing needs identified during the morning’s disaster simulation exercise.

The workshop will culminate with a full-group assembly in which each solution team will be asked to present their recommendations to a response panel of elected leaders, emergency management officials, and other experts from both inside and outside the government — who then in turn will give their feedback in order improve the quality of each solution set.

These revised solution sets will serve as the basis for drafting a community-informed South Florida Disaster Preparedness Plan — a strategic planning document that will serve as a roadmap for community-based resilience capacity-building across the region with a special focus on our region’s most vulnerable populations.

Participating organizations and institutions in the Serious Games include Black Broward, Catalyst Miami, The CLEO Institute, City of Miami Office of Resilience, Family Action Network Movement (FANM), FIU Sea Level Solution Center, Health Initiatives Foundation, Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience, Miami Workers Center, New Florida Majority, Oviar Global Resilience Systems, Sierra Club, We Count, and many other organizations working on the frontlines of elevating health, human security, social equity, resilience, resilience, and sustainability in South Florida.

This Saturday’s disaster preparedness exercise is an integral part of the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative, a year-long project funded through the Miami Foundation as part of the Irma Community Recovery Fund.