Preparedness is a cornerstone of emergency management.  Being prepared may not prevent a disaster, but it is key to reducing the loss of life and property.  According to the 2017 National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI), Maryland scored 7.5 out of 10 for its efforts to not just respond to, but prepare for emergencies.

Analyzing over 130 measures–such as hazard planning in schools, monitoring food and water safety, wireless 9-1-1 capabilities, flu vaccination rates, and numbers of paramedics and hospitals–the NHSPI calculates a composite score that provides the most comprehensive picture of health security and preparedness available.  More than 50 sources of preparedness data are collected, aggregated, and measured.  Originally developed by the CDC to drive dialogue to improve health security and preparedness, the Index remains a collaborative effort involving more than 30 organizations.

Maryland outranked the national average of 6.8 and also outranked its neighbors, Washington, D.C., Delaware, and West Virginia.  The United States’ score of 6.8 is a 1.5% improvement over the last year, and a 6.3% improvement since the Index began 4 years ago.  While improvements were seen in nearly two-thirds of states, significant inequities in preparedness exist across the nation.  A gap of 32% separates the highest state (Vermont, 7.8) and the lowest state (Alaska, 5.9).  Overall, 18 states achieved preparedness levels that significantly exceed the national average, while 20 states are significantly below.

The NHSPI has launched a Preparedness Innovator Challenge to collect and submit best practices for using the Index to improve preparedness.  Through July 31, users will submit their stories about how they used Index findings as a tool to focus efforts and ultimately improve health security in their community.  For more information about the NHSPI or the Preparedness Innovator Challenge, visit


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