New Jersey scores low on preparedness report

New Jersey received a failing grade in the category of emergency preparedness and response in a recent report.

New Jersey ranked near the bottom of the lists of states for preparedness in the "Ready or Not - Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism" report, which was compiled prior to analysis of Hurricane Sandy's impact, reports.

The Princeton-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health released the report. The group has studied the progress of state and national preparedness every year since 2001.

In addition to New Jersey's low score, the report also found that the United States is lagging behind for several key reasons, including the slowness of Congress to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act and federal budget cuts to programs meant to aid states and communities in preparing for emergencies.

In addition, many states had had to slash their homeland security budgets. New Jersey, however, only cut its budget by 1.3 percent, according to

The report cited New Jersey's inability to meet the federal goal to vaccinate 90 percent of the population and a lack of a climate change adaptation plan. The state also failed to require that all child care facilities have multi-hazard written evacuation and relocation plans.

The state also does not have level or increased funding for preparedness or a public health lab with enough staff and supplies to work non-stop for eight weeks in the event of a health emergency, the report said.