The 15 Worst States for Emergency Preparedness

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The quality of your state’s emergency preparedness efforts could mean the difference between successfully weathering the storm or becoming a storm victim. We took a look at research conducted by WalletHub to analyze the states that are least prepared when it comes to an emergency. WalletHub’s research was based on factors, such as road safety, road quality, and the total amount of money lost due to damage from climate disasters. Here are the 15 worst states for emergency preparedness, according to WalletHub.

15. South Carolina 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 36
South Carolina (No. 13 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) loses points when it comes to road quality. The state received a score of 14 (out of a possible 100) for its roads. In addition, South Carolina is not adequately prepared for a major fire event. There are only four active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Furthermore, the state scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $5,041 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

14. North Carolina 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 37
North Carolina (No. 6 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) received a score of 12 for road quality. In addition, the state does not have adequate manpower if it were faced with a major fire event. There are only four active firefighters per 1,000 residents. North Carolina also scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. During the past decade, the state lost roughly $4,184 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

13. North Dakota 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 38
If you need to get out of North Dakota in a hurry, you might have some issues. The state received a score of 10 for road quality. Compared to the other states on this list, North Dakota does a lot better when it comes to manpower if it were faced with a major fire event. There are 12 active firefighters per 1,000 residents. North Dakota scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. During the past decade, the state lost roughly $29,286 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

12. Missouri 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 39
Missouri (No. 9 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) received a score of 24 for road quality. In addition, the state is pretty lean when it comes to its fire department. There are just four active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Furthermore, Missouri scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $5,483 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

11. South Dakota 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 40
South Dakota received a score of 11 for road quality. In addition, the state could use a little help when it comes to fighting fires. There are just nine active firefighters per 1,000 residents. South Dakota also scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $12,947 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

10. Montana 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 41
Montana received a score of just 9 for road quality. In addition, the state is lacking manpower when it comes to fighting fires. There are six active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Montana scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. With the past decade, the state lost roughly $9,921 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

9. Nebraska 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 42
Nebraska’s roads aren’t the best. The state received a score of 5 for road quality. In addition, the state doesn’t have adequate manpower if it was faced with a major fire event. There are only six active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Nebraska also scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $8,834 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

8. Florida 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 43
Florida received a score of 9 for road quality. In addition, the state has a pretty small group of firefighters available to help out during a major fire event. There are just two active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Florida also scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $7,629 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

7. Alabama 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 44
Alabama (No. 5 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) received a score of 11 for road quality. Similar to the states on this list, there aren’t many firefighters to go around.  There are just four active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Alabama also scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $6,176 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

6. Oklahoma 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 45
Oklahoma (No. 2 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) received a score of 30 for road quality. Although this score isn’t great, it’s the highest of all the other states on this list. In addition, the state has just four active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Oklahoma scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $6,924 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

5. Kansas 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 46
Kansas (No. 11 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) received a score of 13 for road quality. In addition, there are just five active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Kansas scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $7,854 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

4. Texas 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 47
Texas (No. 1 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) received a score of 18 for road quality. In addition, the state is severely understaffed in the event of a major fire situation. There are only two active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Texas scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $4,721 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more. However, that number could significantly increase once the final numbers from Hurricane Harvey are calculated.

3. Iowa 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 48
Iowa received a score of 19 for road quality. In addition, the state faces challenges when it comes to fire department staff. There are only six active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Iowa scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $10,058 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

2. Louisiana 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 49
Considering the devastating results and poor emergency response seen during Hurricane Katrina, it’s no surprise that Louisiana made the list. Hurricane Katrina resulted in roughly 1,833 deaths, and total damage was $160 billion. Poor road quality contributes to the state’s lack of preparation. The state received a score of 24 for its roads. In addition, Louisiana is not adequately prepared for a major fire event. There are only four active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Furthermore, the state scores high when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $35,653 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

1. Mississippi 

Emergency preparedness rank (scale of 1 to 50; 1 = best): 50
Mississippi (No. 8 on our list of worst states for natural disasters) is the worst when it comes to emergency preparedness. The state received a score of 26 for its roads. In addition, Mississippi is not adequately prepared for a major fire event. There are only four active firefighters per 1,000 residents. Furthermore, the state scores among the worst when it comes to total losses from climate disasters. Within the past decade, the state lost roughly $20,630 per capita from climate disasters resulting in damage of $1 billion or more.

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