With hurricane season in full force and a winter season filled with potentially devastating ice and snowstorms quickly approaching, being financially prepared to pay for such disasters is key. Natural disasters and emergencies can cause financial harm for your community in many ways, such as:
- They might damage or destroy government equipment, capital facilities, and property.
- They might require the local government to provide emergency police, fire, sanitation, and general welfare services.
- The local governmen tmight have to help the community replace or repair lost private property.
- A disaster might temporarily undermine the health of the local business community. If business activity and employment decrease, governmental revenues may drop and expenditure pressures may increase until the commercial sector can recover.
- If the disaster is very large, residents and businesses might leave the area permanently, altering the economic and demographic base of the community.
So if a disaster such as a fire, earthquake, hurricane, blizzard, flood, tornado, landslide, or even exposure to chemical hazards were to hit your community, how financially prepared are you? Has your government analyzed its needs for reserves to respond to a natural disaster or emergency? If you are unsure about both of these questions, take the following test from Evaluating Financial Condition: A Handbook for Local Government to determine if your community lacks financial preparation for predictable natural disasters. Examining the risk of occurrence of a natural disaster by taking a test such as this and creating a plan for the financial consequences relating to the event will set you up for success versus failure.
For more information on disaster risk or other financial risks to your community, download Evaluating Financial Condition: A Handbook for Local Government, today!
Nollenberger, Karl (2003) "Disaster Risk.” (Original Text by Sanford M. Groves and Maureen Godsey Valente) In Evaluating Financial Condition: A Handbook for Local Government: pp 142-144. ICMA: Washington, D.C.