Resilient Communities are the Foundations of a Resilient America.

CARRI Announces First Two Laboratory Communities

Project part of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Southeast Region Research Initiative


Oak Ridge, Tenn. – Leaders from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI) announced today that Gulfport, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee are participating in a new partnership to better define community resilience and to help more communities prepare for and quickly recover from natural and man-made disasters.


An important new initiative of ORNL’s Southeast Regional Research Initiative , CARRI is working closely with leaders in Gulfport and Memphis, as well as a third-city soon to be named on the southeastern seaboard, to help develop and share the essential benchmarks, tools and techniques that any community or region should take to strengthen its ability to prepare for, respond to, and rapidly recover from significant natural and man-made disasters with minimal downtime to basic community, government and business services.


“We will be looking to draw insights from the experiences of all sectors of the Gulfport and Memphis communities as we begin to construct what we are calling our “resiliency toolbox,” said CARRI Director Warren Edwards. “If we can identify what these “laboratory communities” need to be truly resilient, then we can use that information to assess vulnerabilities in other communities and then work with them to help them close the gaps.


“A resilient community is not only prepared to help prevent or minimize the loss or damage to life, property and the environment, but also it has the ability to more quickly return citizens to work, reopen businesses, and restore other essential services needed for a full and swift economic recovery,” said Edwards.


Edwards said that the decision to approach Gulfport and Memphis about becoming the first “laboratory communities” for the project was strategic since both cities are susceptible to both natural and man-made disasters.


“Memphis is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because of its proximity to the New Madrid fault line,” Edwards said. “And, of course, Gulfport is currently in the process of recovering from Hurricane Katrina and trying to rebuild itself with a strong commitment to becoming an even more resilient community in the
event of future storms.”


Edwards said that he hopes that one of the results of CARRI will be to help communities move beyond their reliance on government and first responders and to draw on all of the resources within a community: business, education, and civic resources, to quickly get the right resources to the right people as efficiently and quickly as possible in the event of a disaster. CARRI will also have access to national and international researchers and practitioners who can augment the findings from the community activities with the best information and practices available.


“Both Gulfport and Memphis are already doing some great work. So we look forward to working closely with key leaders in those communities to learn from what they are doing well, to help them locate and address any gaps, and to then formalize and develop some new best practices that can be shared and used by other communities.”


Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI) is a new program of the Southeast Region Research Initiative. For more information, please visit our website as