Using the National Risk Index

Using the National Risk Index

FEMA recently published the National Risk Index (NRI) raking each county in the United States. Access the NRI here.

In this blog post we will discuss how businesses can and should use this valuable resource to prepare their business continuity plans.

What is it?:  

The National Risk Index (The Index) is an online tool to help illustrate the nation’s communities most at risk of natural hazards. It is made possible through a collaboration between FEMA and dozens of partners in academia; local, state and federal government; and private industry.

Why is it important?:

A good business continuity plan is only as good as the data behind it. Many continuity plans are filled with assumptions about the risks that businesses face. That is why it is a good idea to consult outside sources to get an unbiased view of the true risks facing your business. Resources like the NRI are valuable ones that can give you a more accurate picture.

How should I use it?:

This is the simple part. Go to the NRI and click on the Counties tab.

National Risk Index

Using the map shown here, click on the counties in which you operate. Review the statistics shown on the left hand page to understand the ratings, expected annual loss, social vulnerability and community resilience for your county:

NOTE: The weaker your community resilience, the stronger your own business continuity plan will need to be. A weak community resilience shows that external support may be hard to come by to assist with your recovery.

Business Continuity Risk Assessment

Next, review the "Individual Hazard Details" and use this information to complete the natural disaster Risk Assessment portion of your business continuity plan. An example from the Tempest Risk Management Business Continuity Plan Template is shown here. You can use the NRI to complete your probability of each type of natural disaster. Those with a high or very high probability should prompt you to develop pre-plans for each of those potential occurrences.


Resources like the National Risk Index are valuable tools to help your business prepare for potential disruptions. Use these resources to make sure you put more focus on the right scenarios and not waste too much time on unlikely occurrences.

Good luck, be smart and keep it simple.

Andy Ziegler - Tempest Risk Management LLC

If you are interested in engaging Tempest Risk Management to provide Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery consultation, email to schedule a no cost, no obligation consultation.

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