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Quantifying the relationship between predisaster mitigation spending and major disaster declarations for US states and territories

Katharina Renken, PhD, Andrea M. Jackman, PhD, Mario G. Beruvides, PhD, PE


Since the Stafford Act of 1988, the process of obtaining a formal Major Disaster Declaration has been codified for national implementation, with tasks defined at the smallest levels of local government up to the President. The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) placed additional requirements on local government to plan for mitigation activities within their jurisdictions. The goal of DMA 2000 was to not only implement more mitigative actions at the local level, but also initiate a process by which local governments could set up ongoing conversations and collaborative efforts with neighboring jurisdictions to ensure continuous, proactive measures were taken against the impacts of disasters. Based on the increased attention paid to mitigation and planning activities, a reasonable expectation would be to see a decline in the number of major disaster declarations since DMA 2000. However, simple correlation analysis shows that since DMA 2000, the number of major disaster declarations continues to increase. This article is intended as a preliminary study to encourage more detailed analysis in the future of the impacts of federal policy on local-level disaster prevention.


emergency management, predisaster, postdisaster, correlation, absence of correlation, major disaster, major disaster declaration

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