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One of the most immediate, and critical, operational needs for ESF 14 is the timely and accurate assessment of post-disaster community needs that is incorporated into community recovery strategy.  A timely impact analysis and accurate needs assessment sets the operational tempo for the long-term community recovery and provides the necessary intelligence for local, regional, state and federal partners as to the necessity of ESF 14 support.    A community’s impact assessment process should be comprised of three stages: 1) community impact profiles, 2) community cross-sector impact analysis, and 3) impact assessment and analysis.  This information will be used not only to justify the necessity of ESF 14, but also provide an operational framework in which disaster management leadership and local community stakeholders are afforded a visionary perspective of potential disaster recovery issues.  Most importantly, these assessments provide communities with a strategic perspective that extends beyond tactical operations of delivering immediate community needs and provide a framework for the management of sustained long-term recovery operations.

There has been growing attention of the importance of thoroughly understanding pre-disaster vulnerabilities and their association with understanding potential disaster impacts.  Evidence has demonstrated that large-scale hazard events exacerbate the preexisting conditions of a community.  This finding provides clarity that a community’s threat and hazard risks is a function not only of a community’s core capabilities and potential hazard impacts but also provides support that consideration must be made to evaluate the community’s pre-disaster conditions that either heighten or reduce its vulnerability to disaster.  When disasters happen they have a cascading impact on a community and its residents, essential services, and critical assets.  This understanding can assist in conducting a timely and accurate assessment of community hazard impacts.