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Survey of Emergency Management and Preparedness Agencies in Pennsylvania’s Rural Counties

Posted: January 20, 2011

A study compiled for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania titled, Survey of Emergency Management and Preparedness Agencies in Pennsylvania’s Rural Counties, explores the differences between rural and urban counties regarding the overall quality of emergency preparedness services.

Through analysis of budgets, policies, and numerous interviews with practitioners as well as emergency preparedness officials, the study found rural counties continually underperformed in emergency preparedness services in contrast to those located in urban areas.  In comparison to urban areas, rural areas lacked adequate funding, staff, 911 capabilities, and sufficient equipment.  Emergency preparedness services in rural areas also did not have adequate information on services available to distribute to community members who, if properly informed, would increase a community’s preparedness.

Overall, the study found Pennsylvania has room for improvement when addressing emergency preparedness.  Increased funding from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) will result in greater synergy between various forms of government and their emergency preparedness programs, better staffing, and the formation of a state grant program specifically designed to assist emergency preparedness in rural communities.

The report can be read in its entirety at the Center for Rural Pennsylvania website.

Prepared by Addison Weinstein, research assistant to Dr. Theodore Alter