Two major catastrophic events have forced a nationwide reaction and prompted reevaluations of disaster planning, response and recovery: Hurricane Hugo in 1986, and the Gulf hurricane season of 2005. These catastrophes revealed major discrepancies in the recovery process as well as public education. Given the increase in public awareness of natural disasters, education becomes more crucial along with the need for local governments to become more proactive in preparation for and self-sufficiency throughout the duration of a disaster. This paper will provide examples of shortcomings in public education regarding disasters and offer suggestions for correcting this problem. It will also provide an overview of some long term recovery glitches and examples of methods that have proven successful in other areas. The suggestions and solutions are being taken from sources such as the Journal of Homeland Security and the United States Government Accountability Office. Other sources that have been consulted were produced by specialists being consulted by the emergency and disaster management leaders. Long term recovery and public education go hand in hand. When the members of a community know what situations they could be facing in a disaster, they will be better equipped to face, survive, and recover more effectively than those of the same community who have not been given crucial information. Long term recovery regarding members of a community who understand the importance of their role as citizens is much more effective than that of a helpless community who has not been given the proper tools.
Keywords: disaster recovery and public education, Hurricane Hugo recovery, FEMA