Recent Publications

Below are summaries of some of the recent, most useful publications on hazards and disasters received by the Natural Hazards Center. Due to space limitations, we have provided descriptions of only a few key publications or those with a title that may not indicate content. All items contain information on how to obtain a copy. A complete bibliography of publications received from 1995 to the present can be found on our web site:

All Hazards

Disaster Safety Review. Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 2002). Free. Copies are available from the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), 4775 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33617; (866) 657-4247; fax: (813) 286-9960; e-mail: A downloadable version can be found on the IBHS web site:
            The inaugural issue of the IBHS quarterly technical journal Disaster Safety Review contains news, research, and articles pertaining to natural disaster safety. It was created by the organization to be a forum for communicating research and perspectives into new ways to build stronger, safer homes and businesses. Topics include “billion dollar thunderstorms,” whether a market for mitigation exists, and wind-resistant retrofit testing.

Atlas of Natural Hazards in the Hawaiian Coastal Zone. 2002. 186 pp. $38.00. Copies can be ordered by calling the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Science Information Center, Box 25286, Building 810, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225; (303) 202-4200 or (888) 275-8747; fax: (303) 202-4188; e-mail: The entire atlas can also be found on-line at
            This report was created to help citizens and regulatory authorities better understand coastal hazards in Hawaii, as well as their impacts on property and the natural environment. It is intended to help planners and managers more effectively guide coastal land use and planning. It provides information on seven potentially hazardous threats: coastal erosion, sea-level rise, major storms, volcanic and seismic activity, tsunami inundation, coastal stream flooding, and extreme seasonal high-wave events. The atlas ranks each hazard as low, moderately low, moderately high, or high for given segments of the Hawaiian coast. Maps also indicate a general history of hazards for each island.

Citizen Corps: A Guide for Local Leaders. 2002. 34 pp. Free. The document can be downloaded from the Citizen Corps web site:
            Citizen Corps was recently created by President Bush to be a broad network of volunteers to prepare local communities to effectively prevent and respond to terrorism, crime, or any kind of disaster. Citizen Corps Councils will guide local citizen participation by coordinating Citizen Corps programs, developing community action plans, assessing possible threats and identifying local resources. This guidebook describes the program and its components, outlines citizen corps councils and their responsibilities, offers tips for establishing a council, describes available resources, examines communications issues, and delineates state and federal government roles. The appendix lists pertinent web sites, potential resources, opportunities for volunteering, and facts regarding the Citizen Corps program.

Crisis Information Management Software (CIMS) Feature Comparison Report. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Special Report No. NCJ 197065. 2002. 57 pp. Free. Copies can be downloaded from the NIJ web site: or
            The CIMS Test Bed Project was implemented by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice/Office of Science and Technology in support of its Critical Incident Technology Program. Through this work, NIJ advances research and development of public safety technologies that will assist state and local public safety entities in their prevention of and response to critical incidents. CIMS, the software found in emergency management operations centers, supports the management of crisis information and the corresponding response by public safety agencies. The Test Bed Project was established to assist responders in comparing commercially available software. The outcome of the project is presented in this report and includes the project background, general findings and implications for the selection of an appropriate product, a description of how the feature comparisons were conducted, CIMS candidate product information, and a feature comparison matrix.

Confronting Catastrophe: A GIS Handbook. R.W. Greene. 2002. 160 pp. $14.95. To order the book, contact ESRI Press by calling (800) 447-9778 or by visiting their web site:
Geographic information system (GIS) technology is a practical tool that every community can use to plan for, respond to, and recover from major disasters, whether they are natural events such as hurricanes or human-caused incidents such as terrorist attacks. By giving responders and disaster managers a way to visually analyze each stage of a disaster and synthesize complex information sets, GIS permits swifter decision-making and clearer communication. Confronting Catastrophe guides readers through five stages of hazards management—identification and planning, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery—and demonstrates how GIS can be incorporated into each.

Responding to the Unexpected: Report of the Workshop Held in New York City February 2-March 1, 2002. Yigal Arens and Paul Rosenbloom, editors. 2002. 69 pp. Free. The on-line report is available at For ordering information, contact University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute (USC/ISI), 4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 1001, Marina Del Ray, CA 90292; (303) 822-1511; fax: (310) 823-6714.
            Responding to unexpected events, whether natural or human-caused, is the great challenge facing the United States, as evidenced during the terrorist attacks of September 11. With National Science Foundation support, USC/ISI convened a workshop that focused on new developments in information technology (IT), engineering, and social science and the creation of highly effective virtual organizations that can respond immediately to a disaster. The workshop brought a small group of leading researchers from across academic disciplines together with representatives of agencies and organizations that are intimately involved in crisis response. The goals of the workshop were to begin understanding and developing the new technical, social, and policy requirements for responding to unexpected events, and to do so in a manner that will transform our society into one that is more resilient and secure.

 “Providing Relief to Families After a Mass Fatality: Roles of the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Family Assistance Center.” Ray L. Blakeney. OVC Bulletin, November 2002. (Document No. NCJ 188912.) Free. Copies can be ordered from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, 810 Seventh Street, N.W., Eighth Floor, Washington, DC 20531; (202) 307–5983; fax: (202) 514–6383. The document can also be downloaded from
            This issue of OVC Bulletin deals with an issue common in many disasters—providing relief to families following an event that causes mass fatalities. Topics include understanding the primary issues and concerns of victims’ families; implementing a state/federal partnership to provide victim assistance services in a medical examiner’s office; instituting effective methods for assisting victims; establishing a family assistance center; operating Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams; formulating a crisis response plan; enhancing victim support tasks; and planning for such events among emergency preparedness, medical, mental health, and victim assistance professionals.

Southern Building, September/October 2002. For subscription information, contact the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI), 900 Montclair Road, Birmingham, AL 35213-1206; (205) 591-1206; fax: (205) 591-0775; The publication can also be viewed for free on-line at
            This issue of Southern Building contains two articles that may be of interest to Observer readers. “After 10 Years, Andrew Gains Strength,” by Andrew LePore, discusses the scientific re-examination of Hurricane Andrew’s wind speeds and subsequent reclassification of the storm as a category 5 (increased from its original category 4). “Surviving Nature’s Wrath and Human Shortsightedness,” by James. E. Waller, examines the reluctance of the home-building industry to adopt tornado shelters and safe rooms to reduce the loss of life from severe wind catastrophes. He describes the risks to regions in the U.S. due to hurricanes and tornadoes, types of shelters that protect individuals from risk, future trends in the storm shelter industry, and the National Storm Shelter Association.

 Homeland Security

 A Governor’s Guide to Emergency Management—Volume Two: Homeland Security. 2002. 137 pp. Free. The guide can be downloaded from Information about this report can be obtained from the National Governors’ Association (NGA), Publications, P.O. Box 421, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701; (301) 498-3738; fax: (301) 206-9789; e-mail:;
            The past year has demonstrated that homeland security is a complex challenge that demands significant investment and collaboration among local, state, and federal governments as well as integration with the private sector. The National Governors’ Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices recently released this volume as a reference document for state and territorial governors to assist them in facing the challenges of homeland security. In addition to outlining state-focused homeland security information, policies, and procedures, the guide addresses state structure and how to set up a homeland security team, including the development of state plans, emergency powers of the governor, role of the National Guard, how to establish continuity of operations and alert systems, and how to communicate with the public during a crisis. It also discusses potential terrorist threats—biological, agricultural, chemical, nuclear, radiological, and cyber. Chapters provide governors with detailed background information and checklists for each of these potential threats, identify federal resources and model response plans, and discuss how to prepare responses to these threats.

 “Measuring the Effects of the September 11 Attack on New York City.” Jason Bram, James Orr, and Carol Rapaport. Economic Policy Review, Vol. 8, No. 2 (November 2002). The article can be viewed on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York web site:
            This article measures the short-term economic effects of the events of September 2001 on New York City’s labor force and capital stock through June 2002, the end of the recovery process at the World Trade Center site. Using a lifetime-earnings loss concept, the authors estimate that the nearly 3,000 workers killed in the attack lost $7.8 billion in prospective income. Moreover, the employment impact in key affected sectors—such as finance, air transportation, hotels, and restaurants—translated into an estimated earnings shortfall of $3.6 billion to $6.4 billion, while the cost of repairing and replacing the damaged physical capital stock and infrastructure totaled an estimated $21.6 billion. Accordingly, the authors determine that the total attack-related cost to New York City during this period was between $33 and $36 billion. The article also examines the attack’s effects on the city’s most economically vulnerable residents and analyzes survey findings on the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol and drug use after September 11.

Beyond the Beltway: Focusing on Hometown Security. Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness (ESDP), John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 2002. 55 pp. Free. The report can be downloaded from
            Beyond the Beltway examines local planning and preparation for terrorist attacks, based on the premise that domestic preparedness requires action and emergency planning focused in hometowns, not solely Washington, D.C. It focuses on the most urgent local and state needs and offers a blueprint for addressing them. It contains recommendations for areas often overlooked by local responders, such as off-duty commitments of responders, involvement of mental health providers, working with public health officials, relying on neighborhood police officers, engaging hometown businesses, working with a regional focus, using the National Guard, educating members of the media, and ensuring an all-hazards preparedness approach.

Bioterrorism: A Guide for Community Leaders and First Responders. 2002. 34 pp. Free. Copies can be downloaded from the Washington National Guard web site:
            The School of Public Health at New York Medical College prepared this report for the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The report discusses local plans and resources, data collection, coalition building, strategic planning, disaster-resistant communities, communication, frequently asked questions, and public health activities and lists numerous web sites for further information.

Emergency Response in the Wake of World Trade Center Attacks: The Remote Sensing Perspective, 2002. Charles K. Huyck and Beverley J. Adams. Report No. 02-SP05. 2002. $25.00. 58 pp. To order a printed copy, contact the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, Publications Department, State University of New York at Buffalo, Red Jacket Quadrangle, Box 610025, Buffalo, NY 14261-0025; (716) 645-3391; fax: (716) 645-3399; e-mail: The report can also be downloaded from the MCEER web site:

 Climate Change

 Risk, Reliability, Uncertainty, and Robustness of Water Resources Systems. Janos J. Bogardi and Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz, editors. 2002. 236 pp. $110.00. Copies can be obtained from Cambridge University Press; 110 Midland Avenue, Port Chester, NY 10573-4930; (800) 872-7423; fax: (914) 937-4712;
            In this volume, 35 scientists review research on water resources systems, including aspects of extreme hydrological events such as floods and droughts, water quantity and quality, dams, reservoirs and hydraulic structures, sustainability, and climate change impacts. In addition to discussing essential challenges and research directions, authors examine the application of theoretical methods to practical problems in water resources.

Global Warming: Causes, Effects, and the Future. Mark Maslin. 2002. 72 pp. $16.95. To obtain a copy, contact Voyageur Press, World Life Library Series, 123 North 2nd Street, Stillwater, MN 55082; (800) 888-9653; fax: (651) 430-2211; e-mail:;
            Global warming is caused by the increase in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, put into the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuel has already elevated the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide to its highest level in 20 million years. The most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leaves us with little doubt that the scientific uncertainties of global warming are essentially resolved. This book explains what global warming is, presents the evidence that it is really happening, and examines the devastating effects global warming will have on human society, including drastic changes in health, agriculture, water resources, coastal regions, storms, forests, and wildlife.


Killer ’Cane: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928. Robert Mykle. 2002. 320 pp. $26.95. To order a copy, contact Cooper Square Press; (800) 462-6420 or (717) 794-3800; e-mail:;
            On the night of September 16, 1928, a hurricane swung up from Puerto Rico and collided unexpectedly with the Florida Everglades region. The powerful winds from the storm burst a dike and sent a 20-foot wall of water through three towns, killing over 2,000 people, a third of the area’s population. The author describes how residents believed prior to the storm that they had tamed nature, how racial attitudes compounded the disaster, and how the difficult cleanup in the storm’s aftermath caused severe psychological distress. Killer ’Cane describes one of the greatest natural disasters in the U.S. and places it in context with the financial collapse of the Florida real estate markets and the onset of the Great Depression.

Hurricane! Coping with Disaster. Robert Simpson, editor. 2003. 360 pp. Non-member, $39.00; American Geophysical Union Member (AGU), $27.30. To obtain a copy, contact AGU, 2000 Florida Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20009-1277; (202) 462-6900; fax: (202) 328-0566
   Hurricane research implies something more than science: it is also the key to saving lives and mitigating economic damage. From the Galveston catastrophe of 1900, where more than 8,000 people died, to the economic devastation wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, scientists have striven to understand and track hurricanes while charting their societal effects. Hurricane! Coping with Disaster tells the dramatic history of that effort by leading meteorologists those who brought hurricane science into the 21st century and who sustain it today. The book includes sections on understanding and tracking hurricanes, their societal and economic challenges, and the potential impact of science and technology in both the present and future.

“Hurricane Georges: A Cross-National Study Examining Preparedness, Resource Loss, and Psychological Distress in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United States,” David N. Sattler, Andrew J. Preston, Charles F. Kaiser, Vivian E. Olivera, Juan Valdez, and Shannon Schlueter. Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 15, No. 5 (October 2002). Subscription/ information available from Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers; contact Sharon Panulla, 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013-1578; (212) 620-8000; fax: (212) 463-0742;
This cross-national study examines preparation for and psychological functioning following Hurricane Georges in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United States. Four to five weeks after the storm made landfall, 697 college students completed a questionnaire assessing a variety of characteristics to determine symptoms associated with acute stress disorder. Location, resource loss, and social support accounted for a significant portion of study variance.

Avalanches and Winter Storms

Secrets of the Snow: Visual Clues to Avalanche and Ski Conditions. Edward R. LaChapelle. 2002. 128 pp. $12.95. University of Washington Press. Copies may be ordered from a local or on-line bookseller.

White Death: The Blizzard of ‘77. 1999. 360 pp. $22.00. To obtain a copy, contact Seventy Seven (77) Publishing, 147 Tennessee Avenue, Port Colorne, ON, Canada L3K 2R8; (905) 835-8051; fax: (905) 835-2928; e-mail:;
   On Friday, January 28, 1977, a monster snowstorm struck Canada and the United States. Southern portions of the province of Ontario and parts of western and northern New York state were besieged by the blizzard. Thousands of people were stranded. Most highways were impassable, train lines were blocked, and airports were closed. This volume contains the experiences of many Canadian and American survivors.

GAO Reports Available

Here are the latest items of interest to Observer readers from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). All reports are free and can be requested from the GAO, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013; (202) 512-6000; fax: (202) 512-6061; TDD (202) 512-2537; e-mail: The complete text of each report is also available on-line at

  • Highlights of a GAO Forum: Mergers and Transformation: Lessons Learned for a Department of Homeland Security and Other Federal Agencies. GAO-03-293SP. 2002. 14 pp.
  • Hazard Mitigation: Proposed Changes to FEMA’s Multihazard Mitigation Programs Present Challenges. GAO-02-1035. 2002. 42 pp.
  • Catastrophe Insurance Risks: The Role of Risk-Linked Securities. GAO-03-195T. 2002. 8 pp.
  • September 11: Small Business Assistance Provided in Lower Manhattan in Response to Terrorist Attacks. GAO-03-88. 2002. 34 pp.
  • Catastrophe Insurance Risks: The Role of Risk-Linked Securities and Factors Affecting Their Use. GAO-02-941. 2002. 60 pp.


Electronic Fare

 Getting Started: Building Support for Mitigation Planning. State and Local Mitigation Planning How-To Guide. Document No. FEMA 386-1 CD. 2002. CD-ROM. Free.
Integrating Human-Caused Hazards Into Mitigation Planning. State and Local Mitigation Planning How-To Guide. Document No. FEMA 386-7 CD. 2002. CD-ROM. Free.
Both items can be requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Publications Distribution Center, P.O. Box 2012, Jessup, MD 20794-2012; (800) 480-2520.
   Getting Started is the first in the series of FEMA’s State and Local Mitigation Planning How-To Guides (see the Observer, Vol. XXVI, No. 3, p. 4). It contains tips for assessing community support for natural hazard mitigation, building a planning team, and engaging the public. Future CDs (not yet available) will address such topics as using risk assessment results to draft a hazard mitigation plan, implementing and evaluating a plan, and using benefit/cost analysis throughout the mitigation process. Appendices include a glossary, a list of web sites and publications, a worksheet for creating a planning committee, and a sample questionnaire.
   The second CD addresses the need to incorporate new threats into emergency management planning, particularly terrorism and technological disasters. In this volume, mitigation refers to specific measures that can be taken to reduce loss of life and property from human-caused hazards by modifying the built environment to reduce the potential consequences of these events. It presents guidance for local officials to organize resources and obtain public support, assess risks, develop a mitigation plan, and implement the plan and monitor progress. Appendices include a list of significant research publications on the topic, a list of web sites, and worksheets for completing each task.

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