Emergency Management

African American communities are disproportionately vulnerable to and impacted by disasters. Our socio-economic vulnerability is based on multiple factors, including pervasive lack of wealth to cushion us, oft-compromised quality of housing stock in many of our communities, our relative lack of mobility, etc. We also disproportionately live in coastal communities and in the Southeast, which are areas of considerable risk for hurricanes. With climate change resulting in an increase in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, African American communities are disproportionately and increasingly at significant risk as experience has shown that African Americans are disproportionately injured, displaced, and criminalized in disaster situations. Also, given these times of terrorism, urban areas have been more likely to be targets for terrorism and African Americans are disproportionately represented in urban areas.

Yet studies show that African American households are significantly less likely to be prepared for disasters than White Americans. Plus, African Americans are underrepresented in disaster response design and implementation. Thus, the systems and protocols established to address disasters often don’t fully take cultures and circumstances of African Americans into account, resulting in response mechanisms that fall far short of meeting our needs.

At the same time, African Americans have extensive assets, immense potential and an imperative for engagement in emergency management. African Americans are present in a range of first responder professions including firefighters, medical workers, etc. It is critical that we take that knowledge to contribute to the design, implementation, and evaluation of emergency management through working for agencies such as FEMA, Red Cross, etc., and or being a part of city council or other local, state and national governance structures where policies are made around preparedness, response, relief, reconstruction, and redevelopment. It’s also important that we volunteer, as many of us are already doing through our churches, local Red Cross, or through our branches. With our differential risk for civil and human rights violations in times of disaster and afterwards, we have a crucial role in understanding emergency management and being engaged in its implementation.”


In short, preparedness is preparing for an emergency before it occurs. It is important to not just plan, but to prepare as well.  The key to effective emergency management is being ready to provide a rapid emergency response to reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.

Below please find a list of links to preparedness resources.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Other Resources
Federal Disaster Declarations
Environmental Protection Agency
American Red Cross
National Storm Shelter Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Weather Service


Relief services include resources made available to individuals and communities that have experienced losses due to disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, tornadoes, and riots.

Below please find a list of links to learn more about relief.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

American Red Cross
Government Benefit Programs
Salvation Army
Catholic Charities
US Department of Agriculture
How to get Food Assistance
How to get Housing Assistance


Recovery is the process of returning to normal.  Salvage, resumption of business processes, and repair are typical recovery tasks.

Below please find a list of resources available during the recovery phase of emergency management:

Current Disaster Fact Sheets
SBA Disaster Loan Forms for Business
About Economic Injury Disaster Loans
SBA Disaster Recovery Index


Natural disasters displace thousands of homeowners and families every year.

Below please find a list of links to rebuilding/ redevelopment resources that help rebuild lives and homes of families:

American Red Cross
Guidance on Building Safer
Rebuilding Smarter and Stronger
Flood and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Information
Removing Mold from Your Home
Disaster Recovery and Building Reconstruction Finding a Contractor
Affordable Housing