Over the past five years, this country has experienced a range of emergencies – from terrorist attacks to natural disasters. Cities across the nation have focused on strategies to increase homeland security, improve disaster preparedness and enhancece emergency response plans.

But there is still room for improvement, according to a survey recently released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The survey was based on responses from 183 cities in 38 states.

While 56 percent of responding cities – and 73 percent for the larger cities in the survey – said that they have recently created or updated evacuation plans for their cities, overall confidence levels to handle an emergency are on the low side.

On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the highest), the average level of confidence in being prepared to survive on its own for 72 hours following a disaster was 6.9. Using the same scale, the average level of confidence in FEMA stepping in to assist in the event of an emergency dropped to 5.2, according to the survey.

Survey results show that cities feel the need for greater federal support – from resources to enhance communications interoperability to plans for military support to stabilize a city in the event of an emergency.