Washington Update

HUD Announces Funds for Disaster Recovery Initiative

When a community is hit hard by a natural disaster, recovery can be a long and difficult process, particularly if that community is poor. In June 1997, President Clinton signed the 1997 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from Natural Disasters (Public Law 105-18), which, in addition to providing assistance to victims of recent disasters, makes $500 million available to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish a new program--the Disaster Recovery Initiative.

The initiative will provide grants to community, county, or state governments that will fill significant funding gaps in current federal disaster assistance. Funds must be used primarily to benefit those of low or moderate income through the redevelopment of viable communities by providing "decent housing and a suitable living environment" to victims of disaster.

According to HUD, funds can be used for

Recipients may not use grants for activities that are already covered by other federal programs. For cities and counties, grants from the Disaster Recovery Initiative are considered part of the grantees' Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, and are included in cost cap calculations and program requirements for use of the CDBG funds.

The notice of funds availability and a detailed description of the program can be found in the Federal Register, Vol. 62, No. 173 (September 8, 1997), pp. 47343-47358. Copies are also available at some federal depository libraries or via the Internet: http://www.acc ess.gpo.gov.

The complete text of Public Law 105-18 can also be found at some federal depository libraries or via the Internet: http://thomas.loc.gov.

FEMA Drafts a Strategic Plan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants "to change the emergency management culture from one that reactively responds to disasters to one that proactively helps communities and citizens avoid becoming disaster victims." In order to accomplish this, the agency will bring together private industry, the insurance industry, mortgage lenders, the real estate industry, homebuilders, and others to create model disaster-resistant communities in high-risk areas (see page 4 of this Observer); overhaul FEMA's public assistance process to reduce red tape and time; establish a federal predisaster response fund; and continue to build and strengthen public-private partnerships for emergency management.

These goals and objectives are listed in the agency's draft version of its Strategic Plan: Partnership for a Safer Future (1997, 56 pp., free), which outlines FEMA's goals for fiscal years 1998 through 2007 and outlines operations objectives through fiscal year 2002. An updated strategic plan is required of federal agencies under the Government Performance and Results Act, and FEMA is interested in receiving written comments from interested individuals and organizations about its plan.

The plan also includes three strategic goals to be accomplished over the next 10 years:

  1. Protect lives and prevent the loss of property from all hazards, including reducing by 10% the risk of loss of life and injury from hazards, as well as reducing by 15% the risk of property loss and economic disruption during the same period;
  2. Reduce human suffering and enhance the recovery of communities after disaster strikes, including reducing by 25% the human suffering from the impact of disasters and increasing by 20% the speed with which individuals, businesses, and public entities are able to recover through "facilitated restoration of eligible public services";
  3. Ensure that the public is served in a timely and cost-efficient manner by improving service efficiency by 20% and achieving a 90% overall customer satisfaction rating.

Copies of the Strategic Plan can be found on the FEMA Web site: http://www.fema.gov/nwz97/spln_1.html.

Also, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has published a review of FEMA's plan entitled Results Act: Observations on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Draft Strategic Plan (GAO/RCED-97-204R, 1997, 14 pp., free). Copies can be ordered from GAO, Document Distribution Center, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015; (202) 512-6000; fax: (301) 258-4006; e-mail: info@gao.gov; WWW: http://www.gao.gov. The complete text of the report is also available via the Internet: http://www.access.gpo.gov.

FEMA Revises HMGP Designation Process

In a recent notice in the Federal Register (Vol. 62, No. 129, July 7, 1997, pp. 36289-36290), FEMA Director James L. Witt announced that his agency had revised the current process for designating counties eligible for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

In the past, HMGP funds were only available to counties designated eligible by FEMA for Individual Assistance (IA) or Public Assistance (PA). According to the Stafford Act, both IA and PA funds address damage or hardship resulting from a major disaster; however, HMGP funds are intended to reduce the risk of future damage or hardship. As a result, FEMA has determined that the use of HMGP funds should not be limited only to counties designated eligible for IA or PA funds. The notice states that, "following the declaration of a major disaster by the President, all counties within the State may be designated by FEMA as eligible for HMGP funds. The process of requesting that FEMA designate areas for assistance will remain unchanged."

For further information about this notice, contact Robert F. Shea, Mitigation Directorate, FEMA, 500 C Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20472; (202) 646-3619; fax: (202) 646-3104.

NEHRP Reauthorized

On October 1, President Clinton signed into law the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) authorization bill (Public Law 105-47) for fiscal years 1998 and 1999. The law contains several new initiatives and includes increased funding for research and development in earthquake science, engineering, public education, and mitigation.

The law authorizes $105.8 million for FY 98 and $108.9 million for FY 99. Among other things, this legislation requires the U.S. Geological Survey to develop a "real-time seismic hazard warning system"; mandates an assessment of regional seismic monitoring networks; directs NSF to develop earth science teaching materials and provide them to schools; orders improvement of hazards assessments of seismic zones in the U.S.; charges FEMA to assess and report on earthquake training capabilities and programs; and compels NSF to work with the other NEHRP agencies to develop a plan to effectively use earthquake engineering research facilities.

The complete text of the bill can be found via the Internet at http://thomas.loc.gov.

FEMA Issues Final Rule on Snow Assistance

In the past, one of the areas of great confusion regarding federal disaster assistance involved the costs of snow removal. Often, false expectations arose concerning eligibility for assistance, or governments failed to plan for such circumstances. These events, which can become "slow emergencies" due to the continual accumulation of snow over an extended period of time, rarely received presidential disaster declarations. In order to clarify their policy, FEMA has issued a final rule that presidential disaster declarations will only be issued for snowstorms that are at or near record levels, as established by official government records. In addition, winter storms that cause extensive power outages, serious safety hazards, and significant physical damage to public infrastructure may require a declaration that authorizes several categories of recovery assistance. Indeed, the final rule notes that the extent of damage and needed assistance will continue to be the basis for a presidential disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Copies of the final rule can be found in the Federal Register, Vol. 62, No. 166 (August 27, 1997), pp. 45328-25330; WWW: http://www.access.gpo.gov. For further information on this rule, contact Melissa H. Howard, FEMA, Infrastructure Support Division, 500 C Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20472; (202) 646-3243.

GAO Says GOES Needs More Attention

The Russian space station Mir isn't the only aging space jalopy orbiting the earth. Following a request from Congress, the General Accounting Office (GAO) reviewed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) management of the Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite (GOES) program, focusing on NOAA's strategy for replacing aging weather satellites, which will begin to reach the end of their useful lives by 2002.

In its report, Weather Satellite: Planning for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program Needs More Attention (GAO/AIMD-97-37), the GAO noted that the potential for a gap in geostationary satellite coverage will be significant in the early years of the next century if procurement of new satellites does not begin soon. In order to prevent this, NOAA plans to purchase two to four spacecraft that will carry the same instruments as the current satellites and will incorporate modest technical improvements; the satellites are planned for launch beginning in 2002.

The GAO believes that NOAA's plans are reasonable, but that there are inherent difficulties in determining exactly when and how many of the new satellites will be needed. Thus, GAO includes several suggestions in this report for improving NOAA's spacecraft planning process, including implementing the replacement program earlier than 2003, as currently planned; re-examining the GOES architecture; conducting an updated analysis of user needs; moving new technology development outside the operational satellite program; and developing greater cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Copies of the report are free and can be obtained from the GAO, Document Distribution Center, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015; (202) 512-6000; fax: (301) 258-4006; e-mail: info@gao.gov; WWW: http://www.gao.gov. The complete text of the report is also available via the Internet: http://www.access.gpo.gov.

Congress Questions Weather Office Closures

In its recent report, National Weather Service: Closure of Regional Offices Not Supported by Risk Analysis (GAO/AIMD-97-133), the General Accounting Office (GAO) reviews proposed staffing cuts at the National Weather Service (NWS). The GAO concludes that the NWS did not perform any documented risk analysis to support its decision to close its southern regional headquarters office, noting that the closure of this office was undertaken in response to a $47 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 1997.

Although NWS officials admit that no risk analysis was conducted, they relied on their professional judgement, believing that no degradation of service would occur from the closure because the southern region office's responsibilities were transferred to other regional offices. Nevertheless, users raised concerns about whether the closure would affect weather services and jeopardize public safety.

In the report, the GAO proposes several alternative strategies for maintaining the current regional structure, despite objections by officials at NWS headquarters that the strategies did not meet the agency's overall staffing targets for the regions. On June 25, 1997, the Secretary of Commerce delayed the closure of the southern office for 60 days to give outside experts an opportunity to review the NWS budget and operations.

Copies of the report are available from the GAO at the above address.

GAO Says NWS Modernization May Not Achieve Full Potential

In testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Governmental Affairs, the General Accounting Office's (GAO) director of Information Resources Management, Joel C. Willemssen, discussed the National Weather Service's systems modernization program. This testimony is available in the GAO report, Weather Service Modernization: Risks Remain that Full Systems Potential Will Not Be Achieved (GAO/T-AIMD-97-85).

Willemssen noted that, in order to provide better forecasting and earlier warnings with smaller, downsized operations, the NWS has been acquiring new observing systems, including radars, satellites, and ground-based sensors that work in conjunction with powerful forecaster workstations. Willemssen believes that the NWS has generated better weather data, particularly with the new radars and satellites, and has greatly improved forecasts and warnings as a result. However, these modernization efforts have experienced cost increases and schedule delays, which may be attributed to changes in requirements, as well as program management and development problems.

Copies of the report can be obtained from the GAO at the address above.

FEMA to Rewrite Coastal Construction Manual

The Mitigation Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has initiated a process to revise FEMA's well-known Coastal Construction Manual (CCM). The consulting engineering firm of Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc. was recently awarded the contract to undertake this effort. The revised document is intended to present state-of-the-art engineering techniques for building coastal residential structures.

The revised CCM will include case studies highlighting proper design and construction practices, innovative use of materials, and other building successes. It will place particular emphasis on design and construction capable of withstanding the simultaneous effects of high-velocity flow, wave action, debris impact, high winds, and erosion. Multi-

hazard issues, such as the use of open foundation systems (also known as soft understories) beneath coastal buildings in seismically active areas, will also be explored.

Currently, an international effort is underway to identify the state-of-the-art in coastal residential construction. Architects, engineers, building officials, contractors, trade groups, material suppliers, floodplain managers, and coastal zone managers are encouraged to provide information that can be used by others to reduce the vulnerability of coastal construction. Materials should be received no later than January 31, 1998. Please send comments, information, or literature to Vince DiCamillo, Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc., 9001 Edmonston Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 220-1873; e-mail: Eletvin@G-and-O.com.

FEMA Recruiting BPAT Members

In response to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) often deploys Building Performance Assessment Teams (BPATs) to conduct field investigations at disaster sites. BPATs inspect disaster-induced damage incurred by residential and commercial buildings and other structures; evaluate local design practices, construction methods and materials, building codes, and building inspection and code enforcement processes; and make recommendations regarding design, construction, and code issues. With its goal of reducing the damage caused by future disasters, the BPAT process is an important part of FEMA's hazard mitigation activities.

The ability to quickly form and deploy BPATs whose members have the required skills and expertise is essential to the program's success. Therefore, FEMA created a national database of experts who are available for rapid deployment (within 48 hours of notification). The database is maintained by the engineering firm of Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc. (G&O), which also provides the technical and administrative support for BPAT. Private-sector members of BPATs work as consultants to G&O.

The BPAT database also serves as a source of experts who can support FEMA's other hazard mitigation activities, such as conducting research and providing technical support to state and local governments in structure vulnerability assessment, hazards-resistant design and construction, and hazards awareness and mitigation training.

BPAT members have expertise in one or more of the following fields: structural and civil engineering; building design and construction; coastal construction; flood-, wind-, and earthquake-resistant design and construction; shoreline and coastal erosion; building inspection; and building code development and enforcement. If you are an expert in one of these fields, can be available for temporary field assignments on short notice, and would like to be considered for BPAT assignments, send your name, area of expertise, company/affiliation, address, phone, and fax number, to Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc., 9001 Edmonston Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770, attn: Vince DiCamillo; fax: (301) 220-2606. G&O will then contact you for additional information.

Reducing Earthquake Risks in Major Metropolitan Areas . . .

Radius Project Seeks Associate Cities

In connection with last year's International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Internet conference, which focused on urban issues, the IDNDR Secretariat announced the RADIUS (Risk Assessment Tools for Diagnosis of Urban Areas against Seismic Disasters) Project to deal with seismic risk in metropolitan settings, particularly in developing countries (see the Observer, Vol XXI, No. 5, p. 7). Since that announcement, RADIUS has received applications from 55 cities worldwide wishing to participate. Approximately 10 of these will be chosen for inclusion in the project, and will receive financial and technical assistance, as well as training for local experts.

To accommodate the many communities interested in this project and to create an interactive, global network of cities concerned about earthquake hazards, RADIUS has established an associate cities program and is now accepting applications. Candidate cities must have carried out, or be in the process of carrying out, a seismic risk assessment. Through information exchange via the resulting network of communities, an associate city will learn about state-of-the-art technologies from the international institutes and researchers participating in the project. At the same time, associate cities will share useful information with other participants and compare their degree of preparedness.

The organizers hope that cities not selected to be among the RADIUS case studies will nevertheless carry out similar studies and participate in the project as associate cities so that they can both learn from and contribute to the seismic safety of sister communities around the world. For more information, see the new RADIUS home page: http://pangea.stanford.edu/~tucker/Radius/RADIUS.html; or contact Kenji Okazaki, IDNDR Secretariat, U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland; tel: (41-22) 798-6894; fax: (41-22) 733-8695; e-mail: kenji.okazaki@dha.unicc.org.

SWT Establishes Center for Research and Policy on Hazards and Environmental Geography

The Department of Geography and Planning at Southwest Texas State University (SWT) has formed a Center for Research and Policy on Hazards and Environmental Geography. The center will provide institutional support for scholarship concerning a variety of hazards topics, ranging from adverse meterological and geomorphic events, to landfills and hazardous wastes, to flooding and hurricanes. The center's objective is to foster cooperative exploration of hazards-related topics by faculty and students; it currently comprises eight SWT faculty.

Several funded projects are already underway, including studies of avalanche impacts in Montana, industrial waste management practices and policies in Texas, freeze impacts on agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley, and response to recent floods in Nevada. The center is also conducting an inventory and analysis of closed landfills in Texas.

For more information about this new center, contact Craig E. Colten, Department of Geography and Planning, 601 University Drive, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666; (512) 245-7976; fax: (512) 245-8353.

Conferences And Training

Below are recent conference announcements received by the Hazards Center. A comprehensive list of hazard/disaster meetings is posted on our World Wide Web site:


Planning for the Next Drought: A National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) Workshop. Sponsor: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Salt Lake City, Utah: November 17-19, 1997. The drought that gripped the Southwest and Southern Great Plains in 1996 served as a reminder of the West's continuing and apparently increasing vulnerability to drought. Even though drought is a slow-onset disaster, local, state, federal, and tribal governments found that without drought contingency plans in place, it was difficult to respond quickly and effectively. The National Drought Mitigation Center is organizing a series of four workshops, each in a different region of the country, on how to prepare for drought. Salt Lake City is the second in this series; other workshops will be planned for the Midwest and the Southeast. The objectives of the workshops are to help people understand drought and the need for drought planning; teach natural resource managers, water utility managers, emergency managers, planners, and others how to develop drought contingency plans; and help different levels and agencies of government coordinate drought-related programs. To obtain additional information, such as the dates of future meetings, contact the NDMC, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, P.O. Box 830749, Lincoln, NE 68583-0749; (402) 472-6707; fax: (402) 472-6614; e-mail: ndmc@enso.unl.edu; WWW: http://enso.unl.edu/ndmc/.

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. San Francisco, California: December 8-12, 1997. The fall AGU meeting includes a Special Session on "Hazard Mitigation: Use of Real-Time Information," sponsored by the Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction (SNDR), Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council. For details, contact Peter Ward, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, MS 977, Menlo Park, CA 94025; (415) 329-4736; e-mail: ward@andreas.wr.usgs.gov.

78th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting. Phoenix, Arizona: January 11-16, 1998. The AMS annual meeting includes numerous parallel conferences, symposia, and workshops, many of which deal with meteorological hazards. For a complete description, consult the AMS Web site: http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS/, or contact AMS, 45 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-3693; (617) 227-2425; fax: (617) 742-8718; e-mail: amsmtgs@ametsoc.org.

Engineering for Extreme Winds 1998. Offered by the Wind Engineering Research Center, Texas Tech University. Lubbock, Texas: February 4-6, 1998. This course is directed toward architects, engineers, building officials, and other personnel who are involved in the design of buildings to resist extreme winds, as well as toward individuals involved with the interpretation of wind load standards and codes. The course will cover wind load standards, examples of both successful design and wind-induced damage, and design for hurricanes and tornadoes. To register or receive additional information, contact Ariel Fernandez, Division of Continuing Education, Texas Tech University, Box 41006, Lubbock TX 79409-1006; (806) 742-2352, ext. 237; fax: (806) 742-2318.

Disaster '98--Assessing Threats to Your Community. Sponsors: Florida Emergency Medicine Foundation and others. February 19-22, 1998. The Disaster '98 conference will include sessions on community risk assessment and mitigation for a broad range of risks. The meeting will also feature a preconference workshop on "Children's Emergencies in Disasters," February 18-19. To request a conference brochure, contact the Florida Emergency Medicine Foundation, 3717 South Conway Road, Orlando, FL 32812-7607; (407) 281-7396 or (800) 766-6335; fax: (407) 281-4407.

Eighth Annual Conference and Trade Show on Disaster Recovery, Contingency Planning, and Business Continuation Using Telecommunications. Sponsor: International (Telecommunications) Disaster Recovery Association (IDRA). Boston, Massachusetts: March 15-18, 1998. All presentations and exhibits at this conference focus on contingency planning, business continuation, and disaster recovery using telecommunications. The program includes multiple tracks covering everything from basics in telecommunications to advanced systems. For a complete brochure or to suggest possible contributors, contact IDRA, P.O. Box 4515, Shrewsbury, MA 01545; (508) 845-6000; fax: (508) 842-2585; WWW: http://www.idra.com.

Identification of Emergency Management Innovation Seminar. Mt. Macedon, Victoria, Australia: March 16-20, 1998;
Community Emergency Risk Management Workshop. Mt. Macedon, Victoria, Australia: March 30-April 3, 1998.
For details about these and other upcoming workshops offered by the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI), contact AEMI, Mt. Macedon, Victoria 3441, Australia; tel: 61-3-54-215 100; fax: 61-3-54-215 273; e-mail: aemi@ema.gov.au; WWW: http://www.ema.gov.au.

Second Western Washington School Emergency Management Conference. Sponsor: King County Emergency Management. Shoreline, Washington: March 31, 1998. This conference brings together school and district counseling staff, teachers, parent/teacher associations, and others with a role in emergency management for schools. The program will address the four phases of emergency management as they pertain to schools at all levels--from daycare to college. For a conference announcement and registration information, contact King County Emergency Management, 7300 Perimeter Road South, Room 128, Seattle, WA 98018; (206) 296-3830; fax: (206) 296-3838; e-mail: richard.gelb@metrokc.gov.

14th International Meeting on Prevention, Preparedness, and Response to Hazardous Material Spills. Sponsor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Chicago, Illinois: April 5-9. 1998. Under the theme "Risk Management: Closing the Loop," this conference will address the many aspects of hazardous materials spills management--from planning and analysis to response and recovery. The conference planning committee is currently seeking suggestions for topics, presentations, and training. For details, see: WWW: http://www.nrt.org/nrt/hazmat98.nsf or http://www.epa.gov/ceppo/pubs/postcard.html; or e-mail: hazmat98@icfkaiser.com.

The Emergency and Disaster Aspects of International Health-Summer School. Offered by the School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield. Sheffield, U.K.: May 11-15, 1998. This five-day course is intended for an international audience of high-level managers and decision makers involved in preparing for and responding to emergencies and disasters. Subjects will include the epidemiology of disasters; planning and preparedness for emergency situations; recent European complex disasters; the psychological aspects of emergency management; water and sanitation; immunization and communicable disease control; primary health care; physical and mental health; education and training for disaster preparedness and management; handling of mass casualties; legal issues; outcome monitoring and review; research; human rights aspects of emergencies and disasters; and humanitarian and development assistance. For further information, see the conference Web page: http://www.shef.ac.uk/~scharr/flyer.html; or contact Deborah Owen; tel: +44 114 222 0720; fax: +44 114 272 4095; e-mail: d.owen@sheffield.ac.uk.

Hazards '98--Seventh International Symposium on Natural and Man-Made Hazards. Sponsors: International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards and others. Chania, Island of Crete, Greece: May 17-22, 1998. The theme of the 1998 Hazards Symposium is "Natural Disasters--How Do We Mitigate Them?" The objectives of this conference series are to promote the hazard sciences, to explore those aspects that may be similar among various hazards, to review the latest developments in selected fields, and to outline new directions for research. Presentations on virtually all aspects of hazards management and research are currently being solicited, and abstracts are due December 31, 1997. For details and a conference brochure, contact the Natural Hazards Society, P.O. Box 49511, 80 Glen Shields Avenue, Concord, Ontario, Canada L4K 4P6; or Tad S. Murty, Baird & Associates, 1145 Hunt Club Road, Suite 1, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1V 0Y3; (613) 731-8900; fax: (613) 731-9778; e-mail: t_murty@ottawa.baird.com; or G.A. Papadopoulos, Chair, Local Organizing Committee, Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, P.O. Box 20048, 11810 Athens, Greece.

Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) 22nd Annual Conference. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: May 17-22, 1998. The ASFPM annual conference is one of the foremost venues in the U.S. for addressing flood and floodplain management issues. Reflecting the rapidly evolving profession, the theme of the 1998 ASFPM meeting is "Times Are Changing," and the conference organizers are particularly interested in offering presentations on new technologies available to floodplain managers. For a conference brochure, contact the ASFPM Executive Office, 4233 West Beltline Highway, Madison, WI 53711; (608) 274-0123; fax: (608) 274-0696; e-mail: asfpm@execpc.com.

Response '98. Sponsor: National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR). Portland, Oregon: May 27-30, 1998 (pre-conference training May 22-26). The 1998 NASAR conference includes educational tracks covering management, urban search and rescue (SAR), water SAR, canine SAR, technical SAR, medical aspects of SAR, and general SAR, as well as plenary sessions, an exhibition, and demonstrations. The preconference training is a comprehensive, hands-on program with workshops covering many different aspects of the discipline. For a conference brochure, contact NASAR Headquarters, 4500 Southgate Place, Suite 100, Chantilly, VA 20151; (703) 222-6277; fax: (703) 222-6283; e-mail: conference@nasar.org; WWW: http://www.nasar.org.

55th Annual Eastern Snow Conference. Sponsors: U.S. Army Cold Regions Research Laboratory and others. Jackson, New Hampshire: June 3-5, 1998. The main goal of this meeting is to document current progress in forecasting, modeling, measuring, and managing snow. The conference will bring together the snow research and operational communities to share their knowledge and thus to improve understanding and management of snow. Abstracts are due January 15, 1998. For more information, contact R. Brown, 2121 TransCanada Highway, Dorval, QC, Canada H9P 1J3; (514) 421-4772; fax: (514) 421-4768; e-mail: ross.brown@ec.gc.ca; WWW: http://www.tor.ec.gc.ca/CRYSYS/esc/.

Disaster Forum '98: Global Partnerships--Creating Solutions. Sponsors: Emergency Preparedness Canada and others. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: June 26-July 1, 1998. Disaster Forum '98 is intended to benefit any person or organization with an interest in emergency preparedness. June 26-27 will be devoted to preconference workshops; the subsequent four days will cover planning, response, recovery, and mitigation respectively and will include presentations, hands-on planning and response exercises, and a trade show. For further details or a conference brochure, contact Disaster Forum '98, Suite 437, 11215 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0L5; fax: (403) 422-1549; e-mail: disaster@freenet.edmonton.ab.ca; WWW: http://www.freenet.edmonton.ab.ca/disaster .

25th Symposium of the International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTECH). Lisbon, Portugal: August 18-22, 1998. Under the conference's general theme of "European Technology in a Global Context," this meeting will include sessions on "Technology and Natural Disasters." The organizers hope to include presentations on all types and all dimensions of disasters. Persons interested in participating should contact James C. Williams, Professor of History, De Anza College, 1130 Delynn Way, San Jose, California, 95125-3619; (408) 269-4837; e-mail: jcwl@netcom.com.

XXVI General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission (ESC). Sponsors: International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, and others. Tel Aviv, Israel: August 23-28, 1998. The ESC General Assembly will address all aspects of seismology, from physical science issues to human risk to seismic hazard preparedness, response, and mitigation. Abstracts are due March 31, 1998. For additional information contact the Assembly Secretariat, c/o Ortra Ltd., Nirim 1 St., P.O.B. 9352, Tel Aviv 61092, Israel; tel: +972-3-638-4444; fax: +972-3-638-4455; e-mail: esc@ortra.co.il; WWW: http://www.iprg.energy.gov.il:8080.

U.N. International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Conference on Early Warning Systems for the Reduction of Natural Disasters (EWC98). Potsdam, Germany: September 7-11, 1998. One of the key themes of the IDNDR is the realistic assessment of hazard, risk, and vulnerability and the development of early warning and response capabilities. To achieve these goals, to consolidate the accomplishments of the IDNDR, and to plan for the 21st century, the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany is hosting this international conference. EWC98 will feature a critical assessment of successes, failures, possibilities, and requirements for the effective use of early warning systems in disaster mitigation. It will examine existing state-of-the-art science, technology, and practice, as well as future needs for early warning of geological, hydrological, meteorological, and other environmental and human-caused hazards at all scales--local to global. Contributions are currently being solicited. For complete information, contact EWC98, GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam (GFZ), Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany; tel: +49 331 288 1523; fax: +49 331 288 1504; e-mail: ewc98@gfz-potsdam.de; WWW: http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/ewc98/.

Fourth International Conference on Corporate Earthquake Programs (formerly the U.S.-Japan Conference on Corporate Earthquake Programs). Shizuoka City, Japan: November 11-13, 1998. The objective of this conference is to improve corporate earthquake preparedness programs by bringing together risk managers, earthquake hazard reduction practitioners, and researchers from both the public and private sectors. The conference facilitates technology transfer among these individuals so that they can improve not only the state of the art, but also the level of implementation of earthquake safety programs in the private sector. Exhibits of technical products that have been developed for earthquake hazard reduction are also planned. Papers are currently being solicited in four areas:

The deadline for receipt of one-page abstracts is May 1, 1998. Abstracts should be sent to, and additional information is available from, Steven M. Vukazich, San Jose State University, Department of Civil Engineering, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0083; (408) 924-3858; fax: (408) 924-4004; e-mail: vukazich@email.sjsu.edu.

EMI 1997--1998

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) serves as a national focal point for the development and delivery of emergency management training. The institute offers both resident and nonresident courses to anyone with substantial involvement in emergency management, and courses are tuition free. EMI recently issued its catalog of courses for 1997-1998. For a copy, or for more information about the many training opportunities available, contact EMI, 16825 South Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21727; (301) 447-1000 or (800) 238-3358. Additionally, much information about EMI and its curriculum is available from the institute's Web site: http://www.fema.gov/emi.

For example . . .

Upcoming Flood Courses at EMI

The above-mentioned Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers courses on almost all aspects of ing courses covering floods and floodplain management.

Course and Dates

For more information about these courses, contact EMI at the address above.

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