Researchers report on U.S. disaster preparedness

Researchers recently reported on the economic crisis and how it resulted in shortfalls in funding for communities to respond to man-made and natural disasters, according to the University of Southern California.

Seth Seabury, a co-author of the report from the Keck School of Medicine at USC, and his colleagues with George Washington University and the Cabarrus Health Alliance found the economic crisis is exposing significant issues with U.S. preparedness for public health emergencies.

"With more limited government funding in the foreseeable future, the government needs to be smarter about how it spends its money on emergency preparedness in this country," Seabury said. "We need to know which communities are prepared and which aren't, when money is spent, and whether it's really making these communities better off in handling a disaster."

Seabury and his two co-authors made seven recommendations in the study to help the U.S. sustain its preparedness efforts. The recommendations for the federal government include developing and assessing emergency preparedness at the community-level throughout the U.S., developing measures to conduct a nationwide gap analysis of community preparedness, determining alternative ways of distributing funding, providing clear metrics of grant effectiveness, improving coordination, the development of coalitions at the local level and the encouragement to engage in methods for financing local preparedness efforts.

"A lot of communities out there have found creative ways to get local businesses to invest in preparedness," Jesse Pines, a co-author of the study, said. "The more locals buying into the importance of preparedness, the more resilient a community is. How Boston responded and recovered so effectively after the marathon bombings is a great example of a prepared community."