Nearly 40% of the U.S. population lives in coastal regions, and that number is only expected to increase. In these areas, major storms result in major impacts — from loss of life to major economic losses. America’s coastal environments are critical to many industries such as seafood production, tourism, and commercial trade. The 2017 hurricane season was the most costly in U.S. history, causing more than $200 billion in damages.
OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program was created in 2017 to strengthen existing operational capabilities to ensure the National Ocean Service and its partners have the tools necessary to plan for and respond to disasters so commerce, communities, and natural resources can recover as quickly as possible.
To strengthen commerce and communities, the program uses NOAA’s expertise to ensure that response plans are reviewed and tested regularly, equipment is maintained, and staff are well trained. The program aids NOS and partners who deliver critical disaster response services in events ranging from human-caused disasters such as oil spills, to natural disasters such as hurricanes.
The OR&R supports disaster preparedness for NOS and our partners through:
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The Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center (DRC) is a NOAA facility in Mobile, Alabama that establishes an unprecedented regional presence for the Gulf of Mexico region. Working under OR&R's Disaster Preparedness Program, experts at the DRC use tools and sound science to advise decision makers.
Training for likely or even worst-case scenarios is the best way to prepare for disasters. OR&R's Disaster Preparedness Program provides emergency preparedness, response, and recovery training for NOAA field responders, federal partners, and state and local emergency managers.