How to use the Guide

Using the Guide

The Vulnerable and At-Risk Populations Resource Guide is intended to support local and state planning and preparedness activities by providing a filter or guide for the extensive array of existing resources, templates, PowerPoint presentations, Memorandums of Understanding, and case studies. The Guide provides direct links to population-specific resources and tools to help users work with vulnerable population groups to build or maintain partnerships. The tips and resources contained in the Guide provide information related to:

  • Identifying Vulnerable and At-Risk Populations
  • Planning for Vulnerable and At-Risk Populations
  • Building Community Partnerships

The Guide provides new, custom mapping using the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index to illustrate each jurisdiction’s vulnerable populations at the census tract level. Each tract is ranked according to its level of vulnerability in comparison to the average across the state. The features of the Guide are designed to give users instant access to maps and resources, thereby decreasing lag time to find information useful to planning activities.

Click here to learn more about Applications to Practice >>


Watch a video of the official launch and

“virtual” tour of the site.

Features & Functions

The Guide offers a simple and innovative tool for a broad range of users who are engaged in local and state planning and preparedness efforts. It helps increase awareness and promote evidence-based planning for vulnerable and at-risk populations. Unlike other tools, the Guide combines a resource database with geographic information to provide a quick and user-friendly tool available for local, state, and tribal planning. The Guide is enhanced with specific resources targeted to each users’ self-identified needs and adapts CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) for local use offering recalculated SVI measures for different planning regions and “footprints,” designed for users with limited (or no) geographic information system (GIS) experience.

About Us

Learn more about the project, the team behind the Guide, and the partners that have helped make it possible. You can also review related publications, presentations, and other information. When possible, copies of presentations, posters, and publications have been provided.


Check out the filter options and select the partners and/or populations you’re most interested in finding more specific resources, tips, and links. If you’d like to come back to a resource, registered users can simply “bookmark” the resource. A complete list of bookmarks can then be found on your MyPage, for registered users. Don’t forget, if you find a resource you like, you can also let other user know as well by clicking the “thumbs up” icon to the right of the resource link.

Success Stories

Learn from the experiences of others and find “stories” of interest to you. View images, listen to interviews of local coordinators, and read descriptions of their activities. Similar to the Resources page, these entries can also be filtered and “bookmarked” for later reference.

Previous users of the original Guide represent a range of agencies, departments and organizations. The utility of the Guide is developed for preparedness planning, but is no longer limited to public health, and expanded to emergency management and healthcare preparedness. The re-designed Guide incorporates user and partner-requested enhancements to improve its ability to serve a broad range of users.

Maps & Data

The Guide provides state to local map options that allow the user to view varying levels of vulnerability across the state, regions, and counties to identify overall vulnerability, four domains, and up to 15 individual variables. (Learn more about the SVI here >>)

To create your map, use the drop down menu to narrow your search by selecting a location to explore.

Choose a state > Choose an Area > Choose a Place

Use the drop down menu beneath to select the level or variable of vulnerability to view. You can view the level of vulnerability for each census tract in the map by hovering over the tract. Alternatively, you can view a table of the data by clicking on the “Data” tab located at the top of the map area.


Registered users will see a link to MyPage in the menu toolbar that connects to a personalized page with lists and links to allow users to:

  • View Bookmarks

  • Access saved maps

  • Update account information

This feature is unique to registered users and provide a space for you to manage and reference your saved maps, data, resources, favorite success stories, and account information.

Bookmarks & Exports

Maps and resources of interest to users can be “bookmarked” or saved to your MyPage. Resources may be saved by clicking the banner symbol to the right of the resource. Maps created in Maps & Data may also be saved to your MyPage by clicking on the banner icon located on the upper-right of the map or data table. The map and/or data is saved for future reference.

Bonus >> You also have the option of letting others know that you may prefer a particular page or resource by clicking on the thumbs up icon to “Like” an item. The number of “likes” is indicated in the parentheses next to the icon.

Feedback & Suggestions
As a pilot project, we appreciate feedback and suggestions from our users. Please contact us and let us know. If you run into a question, the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page with a listing of common questions and answers. If you don’t see your question listed, simply Ask a Question and a project team member will get back to you in a timely manner.

Accessing Special Features >>

Features, including bookmarks, “likes,” image saving/exporting, and data downloads, are limited to registered users.


Applying the Guide to Practice and Planning

Recently, at-risk populations have been incorporated into many of FEMA’s core capabilities (former TCLs), CDC’s new public health preparedness capabilities, and Hospital Preparedness Capabilities, including community preparedness, emergency public information and warning, and medical countermeasure dispensing. However, one of the most challenging tasks when planning for at-risk groups is deciding how to define “at-risk.” The Guide is designed to assist state and local planning through jurisdictional mapping and direct matching to resources and information.

For more information on how to apply the Guide to your planning and practice, check out the Applications to Practice page >>


Note: As a PERRC Pilot Project, we are continuing to update content on this site. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please contact us at [email protected].