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FEMA Launches National Risk Index Update

Thursday, August 19, 2021

FEMA announced the full application launch of the National Risk Index, a new online resource that provides a clear, visual guide to natural hazard risks throughout the United States, and information to help communities to understand and reduce those risks, whether they involve flooding, wildfire, extreme heat, or drought.

Developed with attention to the increased risks from climate change, and the need to develop new approaches to reduce those risks, this online mapping application provides simple measures of a community’s risk for 18 natural hazards. The online mapping application also measures resilience, social vulnerability and expected annual loss.

“It is important for people to educate themselves about the severe weather events that can pose a serious threat to their communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “The National Risk Index is a free tool that allows anyone to take a deeper look at local hazards, and can help inform risk based decision making, so that people can be as prepared as possible.”

Climate change is a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration and FEMA. The Index is specifically designed to help enable communities to develop new preventive strategies, and emergency responses, by helping them to increase resilience and adaptation. By providing standardized risk data and an overview of multiple risk factors this interactive mapping and analysis tool can enable communities, especially those with limited flood mapping and risk assessment capabilities, to prepare for natural hazards.

FEMA released this application a week after nearly $5 billion in new funding opportunities was made available to help communities prepare for extreme weather and climate-related disasters. The Index provides efficient, standardized risk assessment methodology, free interactive web maps and geographic information system services. States, tribes, territories and local communities can also use the Index to meet certain grant application requirements.

The Index was originally released in November 2020 in a limited capacity. Now made fully available for state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the Index can generate more customized analyses and reports, including community risk profiles and risk comparison reports for any county or census tract.

The data and reporting tools in the Index were custom designed and developed to help any community discover its risk to natural hazards. Users can share reports through unique links, save them as printable PDFs or extract the underlying data in spatial or tabular formats. The Index based ratings on data from the best available resources from 2014 through 2019 and frequent updates, including responses to new information as it becomes available, are expected to keep ratings current.

The Index is free and easy to use, and data from the site can be downloaded. Visit FEMA’s National Risk Index webpage to learn more about the data and the natural hazards that may affect your community.