Disaster Resilience Indicators

FEMA’s new 2014-2018 Strategic Plan provides a road map for FEMA’s emergency management mission delivery over the next 4 years. The Plan calls for a strategy to build a risk and threat exposure baseline model with indicators to measure community-level and national performance in hazard risk reduction (see Strategy 4.1.2). FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) is leading the development of Priority 4 of the Strategic Plan –Enabling Disaster Risk Reduction Nationally. This priority encapsulates FEMA’s mission with respect to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and community disaster resiliency and sustainability. FEMA is conducting stakeholder engagement as part of the Strategic Plan Priority 4 development process.

This strategy also draws upon the National Academy’s Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative (2012) which outlines the current state of knowledge about resilience to disasters in the United States along with the types of data and tools needed to support decision-making with respect to increasing resilience. “Resilience” is a term used in emergency management to describe the capacity of people, organizations or systems to adapt to changing conditions and withstand and rapidly recover from disruption due to emergencies. FEMA will work with the whole community – which is a critical part of the emergency management team – to identify key, nationally-applicable indicators of physical, economic, environmental and social resilience against disasters and threats, including climate change. FEMA will use these indicators of disaster resilience at a community-level to provide an overall picture of the resilience of the nation in preparing for, responding to, and mitigating against disasters.

Strategy 4.1.2 is broken down into the following topical areas for public comment.

  • Organizations that have developed or are currently developing resilience indicators or resilience indexing methods and/or tools
  • Literature or articles after 2012 (post-National Academy Report) that define, discuss or recommend approaches to measuring physical, social, economic and/or environmental resilience at community, regional or national scales
  • Literature or articles after 2012 that define leading indicators of resilience that are generally applicable at the community level
  • Approaches to quantifying (indexing) indicators so that they can be measured and compared (scoring or indexing)
  • National performance metrics related to disaster resilience or related topics such as sustainability
  • Key hazard vulnerability and threat data sets that FEMA and partners can make more readily available for whole community use
  • Technology supporting indicators and quantification or indexing approaches
  • Community resilience self-assessment approaches
  • Communities’ current level of awareness of – and use of – resilience indicators – to drive community decisions and investments

Please help us shape FEMA’s resilience index project by providing your thoughts, ideas or suggestions for strategic goals and objectives related to each topic listed above that could improve the national approach to community disaster resiliency and climate change adaptation.

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