Who Will Be Left Standing If Disaster Strikes?

     A recent article published at InsuranceJournal.com discusses which U.S. metro areas are the most able to withstand a disaster. The data used to determine these figures were compiled using The Resilience Capacity Index (RCI). RCI was developed by Kathryn A. Foster, a member of the Building Resilient Regions (BRR) research network and director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute.

     The RCI has been used to measure more than 360 U.S. cities across 12 economic, socio-demographic and community connectivity indicators. The categories of consideration include: income inequality, regional affordability, civic infrastructure and homeownership.

     The good news it seems, is the Northeast is ranked among the highest in terms of resilience in the event of a disaster. Among the ranked cities in the Northeast, two Massachusetts towns can be found in the top ten list of town preparedness. Barnstable can be found in the number four spot, while Worcester ranks in at number nine.

     Barnstable scored ‘very high’ in both socio-demographic and community connectivity which offsets their ‘low’ score in the category of regional economic capacity. Income equality is the measure of distribution of economic resources, as measure by income, across a population. Socio-demographic attributes will determine how residents are able to respond both individually or collectively in the event of a disaster. Factors that affect this category include literacy, education level and percentage of residents of with health insurance.

     Barnstable also scored high in the category of Civic Infrastructure, which is the measure of civic organizations that during a time of crisis can offer assistance and support to its residents. Metropolitan Stability is a measure of how long members of the population have been living in the city. Those residents who have been there a longer period of time will have a greater understanding of the resources at their disposal at the time of an incident.

     Worcester on the contrary received its highest marks in the category of regional economic capacity and held its own in the category of socio- demographic but fell drastically in the category of community connectivity. Community connectivity is measure by civic infrastructure, metropolitan stability, homeownership, and voter participation.

     Worcester scored high in the area of regional economic capacity which measures how income is shared across the population, how economic resources are shared across areas of industry, and what ratio money spent on housing stands up to a resident’s income.

     The BRR provides data available as a color-coded regional map ranking areas from very high to very low in terms of their stability. The BRR also has a chart that individually breaks down the cities resilience by each capacity type for which it is being measured.

     One of the most important things a homeowner can do to ensure how prepared they are for a disaster is to make sure that they have an itemized list of their home’s contents. The simple act of filling out a Homeowners Inventory Chart can make a huge difference when you find yourself in the midst of the claim process. Be sure to store the chart at an offsite location to ensure its safety. If you store it in your home it would be destined to be destroyed as well in the event of a major loss.