In Emergency Management we always talk about preparedness which is simply being prepared for an event that takes place. If you think about it preparedness in its simplest form is something we do every day, most of the time as a habit, such as taking a raincoat with you in the morning when rain is predicted in the afternoon or gassing up the car when it gets to half full so you don’t have to stop on the way to work the next day.  In this post, we are going to be focusing on preparedness for those natural events that occur infrequently.  Examples of these events are earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, high wind events, snowstorms, etc.   Information on what it takes to be prepared for these events and more are available by following the “Be Prepared” link at the top of this page. Considering that the average person or family does not have the resources to be prepared for every possible event that may occur you need to know which events happen more often than others.    Knowing what the risk of a specific event occurring in your area will give you an idea of how to prioritize the use of your limited resources. A good place to find out what our local risks are is to check the National Risk Index. The website is where you can look up locations on the National Risk Index Map. What is the National Risk Index? The National Risk Index is a dataset and online tool to help illustrate the United States communities most at risk for 18 natural hazards (Avalanche, Coastal Flooding, Cold-Wave, Drought, Earthquake, Hail, Heat Wave, Hurricane, Ice Storm, Landslide, Lightning, Riverine Flooding, Strong Wind, Tornado, Tsunami, Volcanic Activity, Wildfire, Winter Weather).

To come up with the Risk Index FEMA takes into consideration the following: Expected Annual Loss, Social Vulnerability (the measure of the susceptibility of social groups to the adverse impacts of natural hazards), and Community Resilience (the measure of a community’s ability to prepare for, adapt to, withstand, and recover from the effects of natural hazards). There is not enough space here to explain the formula however if If you have the time the National Risk Index website has a link to the 411-page document that explains the formula. For our purposes – preparedness – we need only to search the National Risk Index Map to find what are our top risks.

Much of this information will be of no surprise for those of us who have lived in North Wildwood for many years however, for new residents this should be helpful.

From the search, the following is the National Risk Index is for North Wildwood (Census tract 34009021300) – Cape May County, New Jersey, Risk Index is Very High Score 41.77 – New Jersey Average is 14.09 and the National Average is 16.91 – 99.3% of U.S. Census tracts have a lower Risk Index – 98.5% of Census tracts in New Jersey have a lower Risk Index.

Risk Index Overview – Compared to the rest of the U.S. North Wildwood’s Risk Index components are: Expected Annual Loss Very High, Social Vulnerability Relatively Moderate, Community Resilience Very High

Hazard Type Risk Ratings – Compared to the rest of the U.S., our risk to each hazard type is:

(listed in order of descending risk)

Coastal Flooding – Very High – Score 48.45

Strong Wind – Relatively High – Score 38.47

Riverine Flooding – Relatively High – Score 29.98 (flooding from rain or runoff)

Tornado – Relatively Low -Score 25.51

Lightning – Relatively Moderate -Score 24.01

Heat Wave – Relatively Moderate – Score 19.55

Winter Weather – Relatively High – Score 17.73

Hurricane – Relatively Moderate – Score 16.78

Ice Storm – Relatively Moderate – Score 16.58

Earthquake – Relatively Low – Score 11.59

Hail – Very Low – Score 5.00

Wildfire – Very Low – Score 1.91

Cold Wave – No Rating – Score 0.00

Drought – No Rating – Score 0.00

Landslide – No Rating -Score 0.00

Tsunami – Insufficient Data

Volcanic Activity – Not Applicable

Avalanche – Not Applicable

Hopefully, this information is helpful in making choices on what to do in terms of where to focus your limited resources toward preparedness.   Take a moment to visit the National Risk Index website you will find it interesting.