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National Preparedness Goal

The purpose of this page is to provide an overview of the National Preparedness Goal. The intended audience for this page is the whole community–individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and state, local, tribal, territorial, insular area and Federal governments.


The National Preparedness Goal defines what it means for the whole community to be prepared for all types of disasters and emergencies. The goal itself is succinct:

“A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”

These risks include events such as natural disasters, disease pandemics, chemical spills and other manmade hazards, terrorist attacks and cyber attacks.

To learn more about the commitment to whole community involvement, visit the whole community page on this site.

Capabilities to Reach the Goal

In addition to stating the goal, the National Preparedness Goal describes 32 activities, called core capabilities, that address the greatest risks to the nation. 

Each of these core capabilities is tied to a capability target. These targets recognize that everyone needs the flexibility to determine how they apply their resources, based on the threats that are most relevant to them and their communities. A Midwestern city, for example, may determine it is at high risk for a catastrophic tornado. As a result, the city could set a target to have a certain number of shelters in place. The same applies across all potential risks, understanding that each risk is different; therefore, each target is different.

To see a full list of the core capabilities, including details about each one, visit the Core Capabilities page on this site.

The National Preparedness Goal organizes the core capabilities into the five mission areas:

  • Prevention. Prevent, avoid or stop an imminent, threatened or actual act of terrorism.
  • Protection. Protect our citizens, residents, visitors and assets against the greatest threats and hazards in a manner that allows our interests, aspirations and way of life to thrive.
  • Mitigation. Reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of future disasters.
  • Response. Respond quickly to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs in the aftermath of a catastrophic incident.
  • Recovery. Recover through a focus on the timely restoration, strengthening and revitalization of infrastructure, housing and a sustainable economy, as well as the health, social, cultural, historic and environmental fabric of communities affected by a catastrophic incident.

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Last Updated: 
08/09/2017 - 15:16