Between hurricanes and wildfires, 2017 was the costliest year for natural disasters in the U.S. ever recorded. A new report on the preparedness of states puts Utah above the national average.
The report compiles data from a variety of sources including the CDC and EPA to evaluate states’ responsiveness to health emergencies.
It does not factor in local risks since they vary from one state to another. For example, Utah is unlikely to have a hurricane, but the threat of wildfires, disease outbreaks or active shooter situations are higher. Instead, the report incorporates 140 different factors like whether schools have disaster plans, the number of paramedics and whether state’s have rapid emergency response systems.
Anna Hoover is an assistant professor with the University of Kentucky. She is one of the authors of the report which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
"Utah is outperforming the nation and it’s outperforming the region. The majority of states in the southwest and mountain west are underperforming the national average," Hoover said.
Hoover said the report shows Utah is slightly below average when it comes to environmental and occupational health – things like wastewater testing, the percent of bridges and dams in good condition and whether states have climate adaptation plans.