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The 2020 National Preparedness Report from FEMA

Only in America does the 2020 National Preparedness Report cover 2019.

by Eric Holdeman / December 27, 2020

You would think that the the report title would reflect the year for which it covers, but noooooo, the 2020 National Preparedness Report covers 2019 and not 2020. 

Here's the intro:

"FEMA released the 2020 National Preparedness Report, which only deals with actions taken in 2019 [my emphasis]. In its ninth year, this report presents an updated, risk-focused approach to summarizing the state of national preparedness.

"The National Preparedness Report published in 2021 will explore the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and evaluate the response to it, reflecting the data that becomes available as the incident continues.

"As an annual requirement of Presidential Policy Directive 8 and consistent with the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act reporting responsibilities, the National Preparedness Report (NPR) has assessed the nation’s preparedness posture since 2012. This report provides partners across the nation with insights into risks, vulnerabilities, and capabilities to support decisions about program priorities, resource allocations and community actions.

"The 2020 NPR takes an updated, risk-focused approach to summarizing the state of national preparedness in 2019. The report presents a discussion of the risks the nation faces and how those risks drive the nation’s capability requirements, as well as how the nation uses capabilities to manage risks, including a high-level overview of the nation’s current capabilities. Also, the report includes initial results for the National Risk and Capability Assessment (NRCA). The NRCA meets requirements of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, which requires “tiered, capability-specific performance objectives” to assess national preparedness. The 2020 report found that although affected communities may not be fully prepared to respond to nationally catastrophic incidents, an analysis of shared national capabilities indicates the nation as a whole is closer to achieving its national goals though some significant capability gaps still remain.

"The report also highlights some of the persistent challenges the nation faces, how the Nation is working collectively to solve those challenges, and what the nation must continue to do to build on those successes. It also provides a deeper assessment of four identified focus areas: Cascading Impacts, Public-Private Partnerships, Vulnerable Populations, and Housing."

I thumbed through the report. As I read, I was wondering what a "FEMA new administration" will do to change up the process that has been followed for several years. Each new administration and leaders seem to put "their twist" on how things should be done. I've called it the "consulting firms dream," redoing everything in either four- or eight-year cycles. 

I've gone through several of these capability rating sessions at counties in recent years, trying to assign "what our readiness is" for different capabilities. It is a VERY subjective drill. 

One of my next blog posts will be addressing what I see as the risks facing us in 2021 and beyond. Are we ready as communities, states and a nation for the truly mega events? Nope, no way. Likely we will never want to put the money into being ready before a catastrophic event.

One thing that would help significantly is a national infrastructure effort to first maintain and then replace and improve our failing physical infrastructure. And, in my humble opinion, build out a robust national communications network that connects rural and small communities and enables them to keep pace with innovation and make them, once again, attractive places to live and work. 

I'm hopeful that with the new administration coming in, infrastructure will finally bubble up to the top of the legislative priorities. It should be something that everyone can agree on — please!

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