The nation, from individuals to the highest levels of government, has embraced a “culture of resilience.” Information on risks to and vulnerability of individuals and communities is transparent and easily accessible to all. Proactive investments and policy decisions, including those for preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery, have reduced the loss of lives, costs, and socioeconomic impacts of disasters. Community coalitions are widely organized, recognized, and supported to provide essential services before and after disasters occur. Recovery after disasters is rapid and includes funding from private capital. The per-capita federal cost of responding to disasters has been declining for a decade.

Key elements of this culture of resilience include

  • Individuals and communities realize that they provide their own first line of defense against disasters.
  • National leadership in resilience is implemented by policy decisions, funding, and actions throughout all federal agencies and Congress.
  • Federal, state, and regional investment in and support for community-led resilience efforts are pervasive.
  • Site-specific information on risk is readily available, transparent, and effectively communicated. This information has triggered dialogue within communities regarding the risks they face and how best to actively prepare for and manage them.
  • Based on risk information, zoning ordinances are enacted and enforced that protect critical functions and help communities reap the benefit of natural defenses to natural hazards (e.g., floodplains, coastal wetlands, sand dunes).
  • Building codes and retrofit standards have been widely adopted and are strictly enforced.
  • A significant proportion of post-disaster recovery is funded through private capital and insurance payouts.
  • Insurance premiums are risk based, and private insurers provide substantial premium reductions for buildings meeting current codes or retrofit standards.
  • To speed recovery, community coalitions have developed contingency plans for governance and business continuity as well as for providing services, particularly for the most vulnerable populations.
  • Post-disaster recovery is greatly accelerated by sufficient redundancy in infrastructure upgraded and hardened to take into account regional interdependencies.

Also included in these characteristics of a resilient nation (but well beyond the scope of recommendations) are a vibrant and diverse economy and citizenry who are safer, healthier, and better educated than previous generations. (The National Academies, 2012, pp. 210-211)


The National Academies. (2012). Building a more resilient nation: The path forward. In

Disaster resilience: A national imperative (pp. 210-211). Retrieved from


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