Every community must prepare for and respond to hazardous events, whether a natural disaster like a tornado or a disease outbreak, or a human-made event such as a harmful chemical spill. Several factors, including poverty, lack of access to transportation, and crowded housing may weaken a community’s ability to prevent human suffering and financial loss in a disaster. These factors are known as social vulnerability. Using U.S. Census data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first version of the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) in 2011 to enable emergency response planners and public health officials to identify, map, and plan support for communities that will most likely need support before, during, and after a public health emergency.

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