The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently presented its National Risk Index (NRI) for natural hazards. The online map application identifies communities that are most exposed to 1
Casey Zuzak, senior risk analyst at FEMA, described the index in the recent Triple-I Resilience Town Hall – the first this year in a series presented by Triple-I and ResilientH2O Partners.
Zuzak explained that the NRI draws from a wide range of data and analytics resources and considers the probability or frequency of 18 natural hazards and the exposure of population and property value. Expected annual loss is calculated separately for each hazard and then summed to generate a composite score for all 18.
NRI enables FEMA to talk to communities about specific risks, identify opportunities to reduce the effects and learn how to do so. the best use of their risk management resources.
"The NRI was not built in a silo," Zuzak said. “We brought in local and county and state governments, tribal and territorial governments to make sure we had the best available data. We also brought in the academic world, non-profit organizations and the private industry to make sure we had everyone's contributions.
As part of an effort to reduce costs and eliminate inconsistent risk assessment for planning, the NRI uses a national basic risk assessment to identify areas that provide high returns on risk-reducing investments. NRI can help communities:
- Update emergency plans;
- Improving Risk Reduction Plans;
- Prioritize and allocate resources;
- Identify the need for more refined risk assessments;
- Encourage community risk communication and engagement;
- Educate homeowners and tenants;
- Support the adoption of improved codes and standards;
- Inform long-term recovery in society.
"Nothing like this – a free, consistent, comprehensive nationwide risk assessment tool that addresses multiple risks and includes social vulnerability and economics – existed in the past," said Dr. Michel Léonard, CBE, Vice President and Senior Triple-I Economist. "This is an important addition to the toolbox for risk managers, insurers, policy makers and others working to create a safer and more resilient world."