Homeland Security and Emergency Services

National Academies Press to launch a National Discussion on Disaster Resilience in America

November 30, 2012

Through keynote presentations and a series of panel discussions with nationally recognized experts in disaster resilience, the event will start a national conversation on resilience that translates to resilience-building actions

This builds upon a recent National Academies report, Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative

Communities and the nation face difficult fiscal, social, cultural, and environmental choices about the best ways to ensure basic security and quality of life against hazards, deliberate attacks, and disasters.  Beyond the unquantifiable costs of injury and loss of life from disasters, statistics for 2011 alone indicate economic damages from natural disasters in the United States exceeded $55 billion, with 14 events costing more than a billion dollars in damages each.

One way to reduce the impacts of disasters on the nation and its communities is to invest in enhancing resilience--the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events.  Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative addresses the broad issue of increasing the nation's resilience to disasters.  This book defines "national resilience," describes the state of knowledge about resilience to hazards and disasters, and frames the main issues related to increasing resilience in the United States.  It also provide goals, baseline conditions, or performance metrics for national resilience and outlines additional information, data, gaps, and/or obstacles that need to be addressed to increase the nation's resilience to disasters.  

Enhanced resilience allows better anticipation of disasters and better planning to reduce disaster losses, rather than waiting for an event to occur and paying for it afterward.  Although disasters will continue to occur, actions that move the nation from reactive approaches to disasters to a proactive stance where communities actively engage in enhancing resilience will reduce many of the broad societal and economic burdens that disasters can cause.