It’s Here! The 2016 National Preparedness Report

dhs-seal-250The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), have released the 2016 National Preparedness Report. The report “evaluates and measures gains individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of governments have made in preparedness and identifies where challenges remain.” Specifically, this year’s version of the report looks at the preparedness activities of 2015 and discusses progress made in implementing the 32 core capabilities of the National Preparedness Goal. The report combines input from more than 450 data sources, 124 federal offices, and 66 non-Federal organizations, including the American Red Cross, the National Emergency Management Association, National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Overall, the National Preparedness Report issues 37 key findings, which span across the five different mission areas (prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery). While analysis and data surrounding the core capabilities show progress, challenges and areas for improvement are also revealed. The capabilities of 1) Planning, 2) Public Health, Healthcare and Emergency Medical Services, and 3) Risk and Disaster Resilience Assessment were found to have “demonstrated acceptable levels of performance.” However, there are six core capabilities where improvement is needed. Four of these areas have been previously identified: 1) Cybersecurity, 2) Economic Recovery, 3) Housing, and 4) Infrastructure Systems. Two new capabilities were also identified for improvement: 1) Natural and Cultural Resources and 2) Supply Chain Integrity and Security.

On the White House Blog, Craig Fugate discusses the results of this year’s report, which he calls a “guidepost” for building a more resilient nation. The 2016 National Preparedness Report data shows an uptake in community resilience, a big plus for disaster recovery since greater resilience before a disaster strikes means a stronger and faster recovery. However, the data from the report also shows that the discussion and implementation of a household emergency plan has fallen for the past two years. In light of this data, and with yesterday marking the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, the White House urges Americans to take the following three steps for hurricane preparedness: 1) know your evacuation zone, 2) download the FEMA app, and 3) make a plan and build a kit. Fore more information on hurricane preparedness and making emergency kits, please visit Ready.gov.

The report’s section on ‘2015 Year in Review’ puts into clear perspective why disaster preparedness is important. From droughts and drinking water contamination, to infectious disease, terrorist attacks and active shooters, and malicious cyber activity, the definition of “disaster” is expanding. The exigence with which governments, non-federal organizations, communities and individuals collaborate on disaster preparedness is critical to the success of our nation in mitigating, responding to, and recovering from threats and hazards. The National Preparedness Report is meant to be practical, and applicable even for the average person. Preparedness is a shared responsibility, and it starts with knowing where you stand. Read this year’s report, and learn how you can make a difference in your community.