The nature of the impacts of disasters is changing in our country as are the ways in which we respond to them. Reed noted that Superstorm Sandy was an example of a well-orchestrated and aggressive response effort at all levels. Nearly a month after the storm struck, the situation had progressed from one of emergency response to a long-term recovery effort. He cited other examples of the changing nature of the impacts of disasters by referring to the year 2011 which was itself a record-breaking year with nearly 100 presidentially declared disasters. Fourteen of those events exceeded $1 billion each. The cost implications are significant, he said, when comparing the large cost of responding to disasters relative to what can be lower, front-end costs of investing in disaster mitigation and building resilience.
President Obama signed a presidential policy directive (PPD) on national preparedness (Box 2-1) which outlines his vision for strengthening the security and resilience of our country through systematic preparation against various kinds of threats, such as pandemics, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters.