Emergency plans for major U.S. cities analyzed

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Cities Readiness Initiative has assessed the emergency management plans, protocols and capabilities of 72 of America’s largest metropolitan areas.

The CRI, launched as a federally funded program in 2004, divided the nation into Metropolitan Statistical Areas that encompass more than 50 percent of the nation’s population.

The program examines the capabilities of public health departments in these areas of responding to a major bioterrorism attack and helps state and local authorities to develop procedures to dispense antibiotics to their populations within 48 hours.

The CRI has calculated a score for the 72 MSA’s and four large non-MSA cities based on a 100 point scale. A score of 69 or above means that an area has established an acceptable plan to receive and distribute medical countermeasures from the Strategic National Stockpile.

Forbes averaged the grades of each area from the three CRI scoring cycles that have occurred since 2007 in an attempt to rate the most and least disaster-proof U.S. metropolitan areas.

The most dangerous areas appear to be scattered across the country, Forbes reports. Albuquerque, New Mexico; Hartford, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, all suffer from relatively poor planning.

New York City has the highest CRI score in the nation. In the last two scorings it has received a perfect 100. Florida’s major cities also take top spots. Miami and Orlando ranked eighth and ninth respectively, according to Forbes.com.