FEMA Updates Its National Risk Index

FEMA has recently updated its National Risk Index. Since 2016, FEMA’s Natural Hazards Risk Assessment Program has collaborated with federal, local, and state government and private industry to help illustrate areas in the U.S. most at risk for 18 natural hazards. The intention of the National Risk Index is to inform users of their relative natural hazard risks and the impacts they could expect to face during and after a disaster.

The accompanying report, National Risk Index: Technical Documentation, details the background, data sources, and processing methodologies of the National Risk Index, as well as the Expected Annual Loss (EAL) for each Census tract or county. “The National Risk Index’s most important and central component, EAL, is a robust measurement that quantifies in dollars the anticipated economic damage resulting from natural hazards each year.”

In addition, the analysis of this information considers three other major components: natural hazard risk, Social Vulnerability, and Community Resilience. These components are crucial in measuring the overall Community Risk Factor (CRF), which in combination with the EAL, calculates risk. The report delves deeper into precisely how the risk scores are calculated.

Natural hazards can vary drastically within different communities, with many social, economic, and ecological factors to consider. The National Risk index serves as a helpful tool to individuals seeking a better understanding of natural hazards in their areas.

For more information, check out HSDL’s In Focus topics on Disaster Economics and documents related to natural hazards.

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