Reports show that funding for Pennsylvania 911 centers could drastically drop by 2014. It's crucial for emergency preparedness to include quality contact centers for residents and businesses.

Pennsylvania 911 funding expected to see serious drop

Disasters might be unpredictable on many levels but businesses and even towns and residences can prepare in many different ways, ensuring that the recovery process can be as smooth as possible. Everything from running table top exercises to creating acceptable hot sites can be crucial for preparedness. However, without proper funding, comprehensive continuity of operations planning can be difficult.

Pennsylvania is beginning to see the reality of that situation, as reports are continually showing that the state's funding for 911 centers is dwindling. For example, Centre County may see a major decrease for those services by 2014.

As reported by The Daily Collegian, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) currently covers the cost of the Centre County 911 services. In the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year, Centre County requested $1,288,000 for 911 services and PEMA was able to give the county $1,279,000, according to PEMA records.

"What is happening is the amount needed is growing and some of the money we give out is being used to cover prior years expenses," Jonathan Hansen, director of PEMA's 911 center told the news source.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Steve Dershem added that the country is trying to prepare for the fact that soon there won't be any funding to cover 911 expenses.

Pennsylvania legislators released a report last May detailing similar issues. According to the report,  the collective cost of running 911 centers increased by 27 percent from 2006 to 2011, from $214 million to $273 million.

Without thorough risk assessments, no residential or business areas will be able to prepare themselves for natural disasters. Being able to reach out to emergency services is crucial in many situations, but business continuity plans must be even more extensive. Working with consulting firms that specialize in emergency situations will ensure that all individuals or employees are prepared.