FEMA’s National Preparedness Goal is simple enough. They want “a secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” The risks include both man-made and natural disasters.
In order to track progress towards this goal, the National Preparedness Report comes out annually and was recently released.
So, how prepared is our nation for disaster? Here are some of the top findings from the report:
Where our nation needs to improve
- Cybersecurity – we need a well-trained workforce
- Health and social services – we need systems to assess community health recovery
- Housing – we need better sources for temporary housing
- Infrastructure systems – we need to overcome challenges to keep electricity working
- Long-term vulnerability reduction – we need better insurance against national floods and fires
Where our nation needs to sustain
These 5 key capability areas may experience capability gaps and fluctuating demand in the future. We need to be sure these capabilities are in place and strong when we need them:
- Interdiction and disruption – we need good boundaries for keeping terrorists from accessing nuclear weapons or weapon making materials
- On-scene security and protections – authorities need excellent tactics and training for dealing with active shooter situations
- Operational communications – large-scale technology shifts must not interfere with operational communications
- Public and private services and resources – partnerships must be in place to gain access to necessary resources quickly
- Public health and medical services – we need the budget for local public health agencies to respond after disasters
Although it may have taken catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy, droughts, fires and bombings to encourage change, our nation is making progress towards being better prepared for disasters. The national government is putting policies in place and planning initiatives that are uniting efforts to better mitigate national risks. There may be a lot more work to do, but this annual risk analysis shows we’re moving in the right direction and better understand where we need to go.
What are your predictions and thoughts as they relate to our nation’s ability to handle disasters? Have we learned from our mistakes? Are we making strides forward?