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FEMA Launches National Risk Index Update

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at August 17, 2021

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) yesterday announced the full application launch of the National Risk Index update, a new free online resource that it said “provides a clear, visual guide to natural hazard risks throughout the United States, and information to help communities to understand and reduce those risks, whether they involve flooding, wildfire, extreme heat, or drought.”

A New Tool For Corporate Executives

Business leaders can use to Index to help identify natural hazards and risks that could create a crisis for their companies and organizations, help update their crisis management plans and conduct periodic tests and exercises to ensure their plans will work when needed.

The online mapping application identifies communities most at risk to 18 natural hazards. The application visualizes natural hazard risk metrics and includes data about expected annual losses from natural hazards, social vulnerability and community resilience. 

“It is important for people to educate themselves about the severe weather events that can pose a serious threat to their communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “The National Risk Index is a free tool that allows anyone to take a deeper look at local hazards, and can help inform risk based decision making, so that people can be as prepared as possible.”

Multiple Risk Factors

The Index provides an at-a-glance overview of multiple risk factors, and can be used to help communities:

  • Update emergency operations plans
  • Enhance hazard mitigation plans
  • Prioritize and allocate resources
  • Identify the need for more refined risk assessments
  • Encourage community-level risk communication and engagement
  • Educate homeowners and renters
  • Support the development and adoption of enhanced codes and standards
  • Inform long-term community recovery

Earlier Version

FEMA said an earlier version of the Index was released in November 2020 in a limited capacity. “Now made fully available for state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the Index can generate more customized analyses and reports, including community risk profiles and risk comparison reports for any county or census tract,” the agency said.

Guidelines For Managers

I wrote in May that FEMA had published guidelines to help managers plan, respond, and recover from disasters and other emergencies while following public health recommendations to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. 

Though written for emergency managers at FEMA’s state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, the advice, guidance, and topics covered in the document can serve as a reality check and to-do list for business leaders to help ensure they are prepared for a variety of nature-related and other crisis scenarios.

The 85-page Covid-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance: All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery outlines how FEMA has adapted their response and recovery operations to the realities and risks of the coronavirus in 2021.


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