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Community resilience

Community resilience is the ability to prepare for anticipated hazards, adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.

Community resilience is the ability to prepare for anticipated hazards, adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions. Activities, such as disaster preparedness—which includes prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery—are key steps to resilience. 

NIST manages a multi-faceted program, assisting communities and stakeholders on issues related to buildings and the interdependencies of physical infrastructure systems. The Community Resilience Program, part of NIST's broader disaster resilience work, complements efforts by others in the public and private sectors. NIST focuses on research, community planning and guidance and stakeholder engagement.

2020 Virtual Disaster Resilience Symposium

The 2020 Disaster Resilience Symposium was held virtually on July 28-29, 2020 and included 25 presentations from recipients of 2016 and 2018 NIST Disaster Resilience Grants and keynote presentations were given by Birgitte Messerschmidt of the National Fire Protection Agency and Erik Rasmussen of the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meterological Studies in the National Severe Storms Lab. The presentations covered research conducted in the areas of Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fire, Earthquake Engineering, Windstorm Engineering, and Disaster & Failure Studies.

>>Watch videos of all presentations and Q&A sessions here.

How can states get the most bang for their disaster buck? 

Dr. Jennifer Helgeson sat down with Federal News Radio to discuss how the EDGe$ tool can be used to help communities prioritize decisions on hazard mitigation.

>>Listen to the interview here.

Toward a Resilient Nashua, New Hampshire 

streetlight lit scene of buildings on a waterfront at night
Credit: City of Nashua, New Hampshire
Nashua, New Hampshire, at night. 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is conducting research in community resilience. Among other locales, NIST has worked closely with Nashua, New Hampshire. Nashua’s leadership in community resilience is an excellent example of the goals described in the newly published National Mitigation Investment Strategy (NMIS). In the NMIS, the federal government seeks to promote and integrate hazard mitigation as an essential component of comprehensive emergency management. NMIS emphasizes the importance of information sharing between emergency managers and community planners, strategy coordination, and better tools to measure risk and communicate it to stakeholders.

>>Read more of this guest blog post by Justin Kates, Nashua Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director.

Embracing Resilience: Collaborative and Equitable Resilience Practices

Community resilience planning is a dynamic process that involves multiple parties with varying interests, issues, and goals. Many communities are developing and implementing resilience plans, however, the needs and challenges vary considerably from place to place. Within the planning process, strong leadership, inclusive collaboration, and decision-making grounded in equity must be given key consideration.

Dr. Therese McAllister, NIST Community Resilience Group Lead and Program Manager, authored a blog post at NewCities, which describes key components of collaborative and equitable community resilience planning. 

>>Read more in this blog post hosted by NewCities.

News and Updates

Industry Impacts


Eliciting Lessons from Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) for Natural Disaster Resilience Planning and Recovery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: SME Complex Event Resilience

Jennifer F. Helgeson, Juan F. Fung, Yating Zhang, Alfredo R. Roa Henriquez, Ariela Zycherman, Claudia Nierenberg, David T. Butry, Donna H. Ramkissoon
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 44% of U.S. economic activities and are the lifeline for many local economies, employing 59 million people in