A Survey

Emergency Management and Internet Applications

Disaster researchers Eve Gruntfest and Marc Weber of the University of Colorado­Colorado Springs are studying how the Internet may be influencing emergency management and would like specific information on the nature and extent of Internet use by professionals in the discipline. They ask that emergency management professionals take a few moments to examine and fill out their survey on the World Wide Web:


Persons without access to the World Wide Web can request the survey by e-mailing mweber@mail.uccs.edu.

Water--Too Much . . . Too Little

The Leading Cause of Natural Disasters

World Disaster Reduction Day -- October 8, 1997

Without water, life is not possible. Yet, too much water is dangerous and too little water can be devastating. Indeed these two extremes are the most common feature of natural disasters. Coastal and river floods, for example, are the most frequent natural disasters and are increasing more rapidly than any other disasters. At the same time, drought still affects more people than any other disaster. Hence the International Decade for Natural Hazards Reduction (IDNDR) World Disaster Reduction Day 1997 is dedicated to examining the relationships between water, disasters, and development, as well as demonstrating the steps that individuals, communities, and nations can take to reduce hardship due to floods and drought.

Some people believe that natural disasters, including floods, cyclones, and drought, are "acts of God," but the recent steep rise in losses due to natural disasters suggests a more worldly cause. Economic damage from natural disasters has quadrupled in the last 30 years, and the 1995 costs were at least double those of 1994. Humankind is clearly contributing to the rise in disasters. Floods, for example, are not uniquely determined by storm tides, heavy rains, or melting snows. The increase in floods worldwide can also be seen as a result of environmentally damaging development practices or overdevelopment in coastal zones and along river corridors, where human habitation is obviously dangerous. In addition, widespread development has simply decreased the amount of land and wetland available to absorb precipitation and runoff.

Similarly, drought is clearly not merely the result of too little rain. Overgrazing, deforestation, poor water and soil management all contribute to drought, as do social and economic cirumstances that circumscribe and define the lives of people in drought-prone areas.

Just as clearly, reducing the social and economic impacts of floods and drought is possible if disaster mitigation is linked to development. Vulnerability to hazards is the result of human decisions and policies that could have been made differently, that can be altered, and that can be approached differently in the future.

To support this end, the United Nations IDNDR Secretariat is undertaking several activities and offering much information to encourage disaster mitigation at all levels. They are preparing a Second IDNDR Internet Conference to be held September 15-October 15 (details will be available in the next issue of the Observer); posters and guidelines for the creation of local exhibits and materials; information for inclusion in national media press kits that emphasizes feasible, collective measures for risk management; and guidelines, materials, and information for developing local events (conferences, roundtables, etc.). For more information about World Disaster Reduction Day 1997 and the resources available from the U.N., contact the IDNDR Secretariat, United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; tel: (41-22) 798 68 94; fax: (41-22) 733 86 95; e-mail: idndr@dha.unicc.org.

RISK & Society: A Schools Project

Too often, a single sectoral approach to risk decisions has prevented us from developing a complete picture or realizing our full potential to avert risk. Only by working toward solutions that acknowledge the interests of all segments of society can we realize a sustainable culture; there is a real place for a multidisciplinary, multisectoral, multigenerational approach to the reduction of unacceptable risk.

RISK & Society: A Schools Project is a multilateral research, education, awareness, and communication project currently moving into its second year. Endorsed by the Canadian Committee for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), this initiative has numerous partners and supporters from all levels of government, NGOs, associations, and the private sector. The project is design to promote the objectives of the Decade and create a robust multidisciplinary ethic by strengthening the links among research, policy, mitigation, and practice concerning disasters.

The project was launched in schools in Aylmer, Quebec, and Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, where research teams studied young people who had lived through natural disasters, their views on their own place in nature, and their perceived responsibilities for preparing for and responding to disaster. Subsequently, a multidisciplinary, intergenerational National Roundtable on Risk was held to discuss directions the project should take and to examine disaster priorities in the contexts of Canada's social, economic, and environmental conditions.

One of the results of that meeting was the development of a "RISK & Society Youth Survey" that was used to obtain information on what influences young Canadians in their risk perceptions; who they trust; how they pay attention to the weather, environment, and geography around them; and what role they believe the government has in their safety. This information is now being used to develop a curriculum based on the risk interpretations of youth.

A communication strategy has also been developed for this project that targets special groups with an interest in risk policy, research, mitigation, and reduction, as well as higher levels of the education community. Information about the project will be disseminated through the Internet via various news groups, listserves, and networks, such as Canada's School Net and UNICEF's Young Leaders.

RISK & Society projects planned for the near future include:

For more information about the RISK & Society Schools Project, contact Kate White or Venus Victor, Black & White Communications, Inc.; (613) 730-5804; fax: (613) 730-0197; e-mail: black&white@ottawa.com or vvictor@magi.com.

The Leadership Coalition for Global Business Recovery

In 1996, IBM Global Services joined with the United Nations, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and others to improve disaster preparation, prevention, and recovery worldwide. The global task force that resulted--the Leadership Coalition for Global Business Recovery--defined its principle goal as securing public- and private-sector assistance in preparing for, mitigating, and recovering from natural and human-caused disasters.

The objectives of the Leadership Coalition are to encourage leaders to prepare for disasters; develop global guidelines, standards, and best practices for disaster recovery; and encourage public- and private-sector cooperation and strengthen partnerships in disaster management. The group is currently working to establish standards for risk management, response, and recovery; disseminate business protection guidelines; develop and implement a communications strategy; and enhance formal disaster networks.

Member organizations include the Business Council for the United Nations, the United Nations Secretariat for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, IBM Global Services, Civil Service Commissions of the Philippines and India; Deloitte & Touche; the Office of the Mayor of Mexico City; the Office of the Mayor of New York City, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; AT&T; and Texas Instruments Corporation.

For further information on the Leadership Coalition for Global Business Recovery, contact Randy Johnson, IBM Global Services, 611 12th Avenue, Union Grove, WI 53182; (414) 878-9342; e-mail: rhjohns@us.ibm.com.

Growing Smart at the State Level

As part of its Growing Smart planning statute reform project (see the Observer, Vol. XXI, No. 2, p. 13), the American Planning Association (APA) has prepared summaries of the planning statutes of all 50 states. Researched by law students at the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent School of Law in Chicago and the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, the summaries were prepared to assist governments and other interested parties in reforming state planning statutes and to provide citizens with information on the planning laws of their states.

Each summary includes an overview and describes the legal authority and implementing agencies involved in planning; state development; regional and interstate planning authority; special purpose regional agencies; regional development initiatives; local planning structures and authorities; local development programs; specialized adjudicatory procedures; state environmental policy acts; financing requirements, including impact fees; and specialized taxation and tax relief devices.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is participating in this effort to ensure that appropriate authorities exist within state law to provide the tools necessary for state and local governments to identify and manage their unique hazards and risks. The Growing Smart project has produced a Phase 1 Interim Edition Legislative Guidebook that provides legislative models for planning professionals to use when considering land-use and development decisions. It contains chapters on initiating planning statute reform, purposes and grant of power, definitions, state planning, state land-use control, regional planning, and a partially completed chapter on tax equity devices and tax relief programs. Other chapters are forthcoming.

Copies of the statutes and the Legislative Guidebook are available from the Growing Smart Web site: http://www.planning.org/plnginfo/growsmar/gsindex.html. For more information on the Growing Smart project, contact the APA, 122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600, Chicago IL 60657; (312) 431-9100; fax: (312) 431-9985; e-mail: research@planning.org.

California Maps Earthquake Hazards

A critical tool for all levels of government in reducing the impacts of natural hazards is risk mapping, and in April, California began using this tool to safeguard residents from improper development in areas of seismic hazard. According to the Califrnia Department of Conservation, the official maps, mandated by the California Seismic Hazards Act of 1990 (Public Resources Code 2690-2699.6) and produced by the Seismic Hazard Zoning Mapping Program, are to be used by cities and counties to regulate development in seismically hazardous areas. The first five of 38 official maps were issued on April 8, 1997. The maps will assist building departments in requiring developers to conduct geotechnical studies in hazardous areas and to submit plans for reducing those hazards when they build.

In fact, local governments can withhold development permits unless developers meet the mitigation requirements. However, most single-family homes built by individuals are exempt from the requirements, and the state has been given no authority to coerce local officials into implementing uniform standards; nevertheless, the state is publishing guidelines for these standards.

Although in the past local governments and other parties created their own maps for special purposes, these new maps differ in three key aspects:

The five maps that are currently available show approximately 60-square-mile areas of possible quake-induced liquefaction and landslides in the Simi Valley, parts of Orange County from Anaheim to Newport Beach, and a large section of San Francisco (see the Observer, Vol. XXI, No. 5, p. 9). Maps of most other urban areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties and part of Ventura County will be released by mid-1998.

The maps can be purchased from California county building departments or can be viewed and purchased through the Internet: http://www.consrv.ca.gov/dmg/shezp. For more information on the Seismic Hazard Zone Mapping Program, contact the California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, 801 K Street, MS 12-31, Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 323-1886.

A New Twist in Disaster Recovery

Much of America's cultural heritage is in the care of museums, libraries, art institutions, and other organizations, and protecting these valuable resources can be difficult under the best of conditions. In a disaster, collections that have been carefully built over many years can be damaged, endangering national treasures.

The National Task Force on Emergency Response, a partnership of 29 government agencies and national service agencies, is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), and the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property (NIC). This group recently created a useful tool to guide caretakers in protecting and salvaging their collections--the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel (1997)--which outlines steps to take in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. It discusses creating disaster plans, working with emergency management agencies in the community, and obtaining assistance from national conservation organizations.

The wheel also provides information on responding to a disaster warning; taking protective action during a disaster; initiating recovery activities away from the site; stabilizing a building and its environment; handling documentation; retrieving and protecting artifacts; assessing damage; prioritizing salvage activities; revitalizing historic buildings; and restoring photographs, books and papers, electronic records, textiles, furniture, ceramic, stone, metal, organic materials, natural history specimens, and framed artwork. The wheel can be purchased for $9.95 for single copies, and 10 or more copies can be purchased for $8.45 each. Nonprofit and government organizations can purchase the wheel for $5.95 each, or for $4.95 each for 10 or more copies. For orders outside North America, add $1.75 per wheel for international air postage.

To obtain an Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel, contact the National Task Force on Emergency Response, 3299 K Street, N.W., Suite 602, Washington, DC 20007; (202) 625-1495; fax: (202) 625-1485.

Educational Opportunities in Disaster Management

CSEM Offers On-Line Masters Program

An accredited Master of Science in Management, concentrating on crisis and emergency management, is now available on-line. The Center for the Study of Emergency Management (CSEM) in San Luis Obispo, California, (formerly the Pacific Emergency Management Center) administers this program, in cooperation with the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI), the National Interagency Counterdrug Institute (NICI), and Hope International University (formerly Pacific Christian College). Some courses require attendance at one-week seminars in San Luis Obispo. The degree program, as well as certificates in Emergency Management and Crisis Communications, are open to anyone internationally with access to e-mail. The degree is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) as part of Hope's international development program. More information on this new program is available via the World Wide Web at http://www.simeon.org/msm.html; interested persons can also contact Wes Balda, Center for the Study of Emergency Management, 1241 Johnson Avenue, Department 160, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; (805) 782-6787; fax: (805) 782-6730; e-mail: wbalda@simeon.org.

OSU Offers Master's of Political Science with Fire/Emergency Emphasis

Oklahoma State University offers a Masters of Political Science degree with emphasis in fire and emergency services administration. The program is designed to provide a sound educational foundation for anyone serving, or desiring to serve, as a manager or administrator in fire protection or emergency services. For details, contact Michael Hirlinger, Graduate Director, OSU, Department of Political Science, 516 Math Sciences, Stillwater OK 74078; (405) 744-5574; e-mail: mhirlin@okway.okstate.edu.

QC Offers Undergraduate EM Program

Quincy College, Quincy, Massachusetts, recently developed a program in emergency management that has now been approved by its college curriculum committee. The school will begin accepting students into the program in September 1997. The program will lead to an Associate of Science Degree with a concentration in emergency management and will include courses in fire science and emergency medical service. For more information on this new academic program, contact David T. Williams, Quincy College, 34 Coddington Street, Quincy, MA 02169; (617) 984-1600.

EMI Seeks ICS Curricula

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Management Institute (FEMA/EMI), in cooperation with the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), is developing additional courses for the EMI Incident Command System (ICS) curriculum. With more and more state and local agencies adopting ICS as a standard, there is a growing need for training in the system. Because several state and local agencies have already developed ICS courses, EMI and NEMA are asking those agencies to send copies of any noncopyrighted ICS training materials to EMI to aid the development of additional courses.

Anyone with materials they are willing to share should send them to the EMI ICS course manager, Stephen M. Borth, National Emergency Training Center, Emergency Management Institute, 16825 South Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21727. Questions about the ICS curriculum or this project, can be directed to Borth at (301) 447-1249, or e-mail: steve.borth@fema.gov.

EERI Announces Hazards Reduction Fellowship

Under a cooperative agreement established with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is offering a professional fellowship for 1998 that will enable a practicing professional to gain greater skills and broader expertise in earthquake hazards reduction. The fellowship is designed to bring together an experienced practitioner with professionals conducting significant research and provides a stipend of $30,000, commencing January 1998, to cover tuition, fees, relocation, and living expenses for a six-month period. The fellowship is not intended to fund work toward a degree. The deadline for applying is September 5, 1997. For more information and an application form, contact EERI, 499 14th Street, Suite 320, Oakland, CA 94612-1934; (510) 451-0905; fax: (510) 451-5411; e-mail: eeri@eeri.org; WWW: http://www.eeri.org.

USGS Establishes Liaison with Insurance Industry

The Insurance Institute for Property Loss Reduction (IIPLR) has formed a private-public partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop better ways to protect people and property from earthquakes. Under the agreement, IIPLR and the USGS will work together to improve earthquake loss computer modeling, develop earthquake education programs, and sponsor research. Regarding this partnership, USGS Chief Geologist Patrick Leahy said, "Over the last few years, annual losses from natural disasters have cost the U.S. billions of dollars each year. This new agreement will enable us to cut this `disaster tax' on all citizens." On its part, IIPLR will assist in identifying the needs of insurers for ground-shaking maps and historic and current earthquake information and will distribute earthquake information developed by the USGS to insurers and the general public. The agencies' overall goal is to ensure that earthquake hazard mitigation becomes a salient public goal. For more information on this partnership, contact IIPLR, 73 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108-3910; (617) 722-0200: fax: (617) 722-0202.

The U.N. Global Programme for the Integration of Public Administration and the Science of Disasters

Established in January 1996 by the United Nations Department for Development Support and Management Services (UN/DDSMS), the U.N. Global Programme for the Integration of Public Administration and the Science of Disasters is an effort to strengthen the capacity of communities to assess and mitigate the risk of natural disasters by reinforcing public administration systems that provide the backbone for community preparedness and disaster mitigation. To show how public administrators have adapted scientific information to improve disaster preparedness, the program recently issued A Best Practice Case of Earthquake Preparedness in China, a paper detailing the efforts of public administrators of Qinglong County, China--the site of the Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976 that killed at least a quarter of a million people. To obtain copies of this paper or more information about the U.N. Global Programme for the Integration of Public Administration and the Science of Disasters, contact the Division for Governance, Public Administration and Finance, UN/DDSMS, DC1-986, New York, NY 10017; (212) 963-8377; fax: (212) 963-2916; e-mail: col@un.org.

Introducing CRID . . .

PAHO/IDNDR Disaster Documentation Center

For several years, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Regional Disaster Documentation Center in San José, Costa Rica, has served as one of the western hemisphere's principal repositories of information, in both Spanish and English, on hazard and disaster management. In addition, in recent years, the center has doubled as a regional center for the United Nation's International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR).

The center is now expanding even further; plans are underway to make the center a multiagency project. Several donor agencies and international organizations recently agreed to establish a partnership to transform the center into a multidisciplinary Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID). Already participating in this project are PAHO, the U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs/IDNDR, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors without Borders, the Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CENAPRED), the National Emergency Commission of Costa Rica, and LA RED--the Network of Disaster Prevention Social Studies.

Under their plan, the member organizations will create a cooperative regional disaster information system with CRID serving as the coordinating center. To learn more about this project, contact the PAHO Regional Disaster Information Center, Apartado 3745-1000, San José, Costa Rica; fax: (506) 231-5973; e-mail: cddcor@nx.netsalud.sa.cr; or the Editor, Disasters--Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas, PAHO, 525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20037-2895; e-mail: disaster@paho.org.

[Adapted from Disasters--Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas, a newsletter of the Pan American Health Organization]

Introducing REC . . .

Rescue Engineering Council Formed

The Rescue Engineering Council (REC) was recently formed to recruit engineers and construction personnel to train and prepare for responding to disasters. (Many of the engineers involved in this effort were members of search and rescue teams established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency around the country to provide hands-on expertise during disaster response and recovery.) REC recently held its first meeting, and additional information is available from Dean Tills, REC, P.O. Box 290, Germantown, MD 20875; e-mail: Rescueeng@aol.com.

Upcoming on EENET

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Education Network recently released the following schedule of upcoming broadcasts:
Date/Time [Eastern Time]                Title

July 31, 1:00-4:00 p.m.       Emergency Food and Shelter Program

                                (EFSP) Training Workshop

August 7, 1:00-4:30 p.m.      Consequences of Terrorism: Emergency

                                Response to Chemical Agents--

                                Medical Staff

September 11, 1:00-4:30 p.m.  Consequences of Terrorism: Emergency

                                Response to Biological Agents--

                                Medical Staff

October 2, 1:00-5:00 p.m.     Emergency Response to Terrorist


These broadcasts are in addition to regularly scheduled National Alert broadcasts that occur on the third Wednesday of each month, 2:00-3:30 p.m. (see the Observer, Vol XXI, No 5, p. 18). For more information, including satellite broadcast specifics, or to be placed on the EENET mailing list, call (800) 527-4893 or (301) 447-1068; fax: (301) 447-1363.

Washington Update

FEMA Looks at the Costs and Benefits of Mitigation

A long-standing question for those who work to reduce the impacts of natural hazards is whether or not mitigation is worth the time and expense. Specifically, are the costs required to reduce or eliminate the impacts of natural hazards substantially less than the benefits they provide? In an effort to answer this question, FEMA recently published a Report on Costs and Benefits of Natural Hazard Mitigation (1997, 60 pp., free).

The report reviews the benefits that can accrue to different segments of society from mitigative measures, the costs that can be incurred by undertaking mitigation activities, and the analyses needed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these measures. In addition, the report reviews the tools of mitigation and how they are implemented.

This document contains 16 case studies that were implemented in various locations across the U.S. and demonstrates their efficiency against several types of natural hazards, as well as the effectiveness of other mitigation tools. The studies include seismic retrofitting of lifelines in Tennessee, reinforcement of highway bridges in California, historic preservation and community development in Wisconsin, mitigation in hospitals in California, reduction of business interruption costs in Iowa, seismic retrofitting in Los Angeles public schools, wind shutter protection in Florida, acquisition and relocation of floodplain structures in Missouri, regulation of unreinforced masonry buildings in Los Angeles, land- use and building regulation along the coasts of Florida, land-use and building requirements in floodplains, and seismic retrofitting to avoid business disruption. The cases include both public- and private-sector initiatives.

Copies of the report are free and can be ordered from the FEMA Distribution Center, 8231 Stayton Drive, Jessup, MD 20794; (800) 480-2520 or (202) 646-3484; fax: (301) 497-6378.

NAPA Looks at Disasters (Again)

In 1993, the National Academy for Public Administration (NAPA) examined the federal government's shared system of powers in responding to major disasters, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In that report, Coping with Catastrophe (see the Observer, Vol. XVII, No. 5, p. 14), NAPA concluded that National Guard units, the Department of Defense, and state governors "must devote more attention to the need for a more extensive role for state guards in emergency management, particularly disaster response."

Recently, NAPA released a report that examines this issue: The Role of the National Guard in Emergency Preparedness and Response (1997, 135 pp., $20.00).

The report notes that public expectations for rapid intergovernmental response to natural disasters continue to rise, despite no corresponding increase in federal funds to meet these expectations. Given this quandary, Congress asked NAPA to determine how the National Guard could further its dual mission of protecting the nation and serving states in need. Specifically, NAPA was charged with recommending ways for the Guard to enhance its disaster relief capabilities without compromising its role within the nation's "total force structure."

The NAPA panel found that the National Guard is affected by several factors, including the downsizing of all U.S. armed forces, the emergence of a highly professional civil emergency management field, the public's growing expectations, and the immediacy of modern communications, which tend to magnify crises. In its report, the panel concludes that the Guard's greatest potential for improving disaster response lies at the state and local levels.

The panel also recommends that:

Copies of The Role of the National Guard in Emergency Response and Preparedness can be ordered from NAPA Publications, P.O. Box 351, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701; (301) 617-7801; fax: (301) 953-2838; WWW: http://relm.lmi.org/napa.

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