Community Disaster Preparedness

The Center for Urban Rural Interface Studies (CURIS) was established in 2005 to address sustainable development and disaster preparedness needs in rural communities. The CURIS Region includes 20 counties and parishes in four of the five coastal states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Because of the location, these states experience a wide range of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts and wildfires. Natural disasters have caused serious damages to the nation’s coastal communities, especially the recent hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. The expedited path to economic recovery is foremost in the priorities among the local leadership and business sector of rural counties and parishes affected by recent natural disasters.

CURIS defines Disaster Prepardness as the knowledge and capacities developed by governments, professional response and recovery organizations, communities and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from, the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions.  This definition is from the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. The Community Disaster Preparedness Index (CDPI) measures disaster preparedness based on eight variables:

disaster preparedness plan, communication, security, transportation, sheltering, volunteer collaboration, utilities and critical infrastructure.

Based on responses is each community, these variables are scored with a numeric value and form a basis for the CDPI representing the current level of disaster preparedness of the county/parish.