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Disaster Preparedness

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 economic losses. America’s coastal environments are critical to many industries such as seafood production, tourism, and commercial trade. The 2017 hurricane season was recorded as the most costly in U.S. history, causing more than $200 billion in damages. 

OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program is responsible for strengthening 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. The program uses NOAA’s expertise to ensure that response plans are reviewed and tested regularly, equipment is maintained, and staff is well trained.

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NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration prepares for, evaluates, and responds to threats to coastal environments from oil and chemical spills, hazardous waste sites, marine debris, and natural disasters. To fulfill our mission of protecting and restoring NOAA trust resources, OR&R supports and strengthens hurricane preparedness, response, and recovery for more resilient communities and economies.

The Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center (DRC) is an NOAA facility located in Mobile, Alabama, and 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 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.