“‘Vulnerability’ is the degree to which a population, individual or organization is unable to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impacts of disasters.”
Environmental Health in Emergencies and Disasters: A Practical Guide. (WHO, 2002)
Confronting life-threatening risks in the wake of a disaster is never ideal. Far better is addressing a community’s risk long before an earthquake, wildfire, or flood occurs. This is particularly important in certain communities where socioeconomic, demographic and topographic factors, as well as lower income and education levels, make them even more vulnerable to foreseeable disasters.
Every community can be ready when disasters strike by taking the steps to prepare now.
With the help of local civic leaders, faith-based organizations, schools and community organizations, Red Cross preparedness resources can reach people where they live, work and play and build a network of resilient communities across Southern California
Putting the maps together
By overlaying census data, the Red Cross and its partners can invest time and resources in communities where the need is greatest.
For example, take a look at what happens when mapping data about social vulnerability factors like education, transportation, and financial security are overlaid with one-another. Then, observe what happens when data from Red Cross home fire responses and geographic factors like flood zones and soil liquefaction zones is added to the map.
The picture becomes clear: certain communities are at far greater risk than others.
So what can be done? The Red Cross is working with leaders in these communities to bring preparedness education, tools and resources in an effort to build that community’s resiliency.