State officials just learned that southern Nevada will have its disaster relief budget cut by $3 million in the wake of FEMA budget cuts

Deploying a disaster preparedness consultant to address federal relief cuts

Considering that 2011 was a record year for natural disasters is the United States, municipalities everywhere should be considering steps they can take to enhance their continuity of operations plan should emergency conditions continue to occur at a similar rate.

While many municipalities are eligible for disaster relief funds from the federal government that they can then put toward their disaster prevention planning, the potential to receive those funds has been diminished as the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) agency recently had its budget cut by $1.5 billion, according to reports.

This significant budget cut will have a drastic impact for some municipalities. For example, elected officials in southern Nevada have seen their grant funds reduced by $3 million this year, a 60 percent decrease from 2011. The funding decrease reportedly occurred because southern Nevada dropped down eight spots on FEMA's ranking of high-risk communities.

The diminished funding is dismaying to local officials, as Nevada sites such as the Hoover Dam, Creech Air Force Base and the Nevada National Security Site are all vulnerable to emergency conditions.

"It's inconceivable that Las Vegas' ranking would be lowered so significantly," stated Lawrence Weekly, the commissioner of Clark County, Nevada. "These are important monies for securing our community."

In order to ensure that federal relief cuts do not impact the quality of protection a municipality can provide its citizens, decision makers should consider conferring with a certified business continuity consultant experienced in disaster relief to tailor an emergency plan based on a fixed budget.

It may also prove beneficial for decision makers to attend the Continuity Insights Management Conference 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona, this April to gain in-depth perspective from industry experts on the best practices for disaster preparedness.