Collaborating With and Engaging At-Risk Populations

Courtesy of North Carolina Center for Preparedness and Response

  • Determine if a committee already exists in your county that has broad representation from organizations that serve at-risk populations. Agencies such as social services, aging, disability, and emergency management may be sources of information on existing at-risk planning groups. If no such committee exists, consider developing a subgroup of a preparedness committee that will tackle at-risk population issues.
  • Identify potential partners by contacting overarching organizations, such as the United Way, that fund or partner with agencies providing direct services to at-risk persons. See a list of these overarching organizations here.
  • Establish a “case” to persuade prospective partners of the benefits of disaster planning for at-risk populations. Such planning is often in the best interests of the organization.
  • Encourage partner participation by emphasizing that continuity of operations planning can increase organizational resiliency during disasters.
  • Conduct community forums to identify which at-risk populations in your county are most vulnerable to disasters, establish priorities, and get public support for your activities.
  • Create networks by acting as a hub for information exchange on at-risk populations. Build upon the experience and credibility that your local health department has established by serving at-risk populations through clinic services and programs such as WIC and STD prevention.
  • Host monthly social lunch meetings for people involved in emergency planning. The sole purpose of these meetings should be to build relationships (i.e., no meeting agenda or formal discussion).
  • Consult secondary data sources to obtain a profile of your county’s most populated at-risk groups that can be disseminated at your first multi-organizational planning committee meeting.
  • Maintain interest between meetings of your committee by sending out progress updates on email distribution lists or listservs. If resources allow, develop a newsletter to keep your partners connected. These communication tools can facilitate an exchange of information between all partners.


  • Ohio Department of Health H1N1 Outreach to Multicultural Communities [Download PDF]
  • Lake County Health Department Non-English Speakers Public Information Plan [Download PDF]

Emergency Planning for At-Risk Groups