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, not all publications include a description. However,
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:
"Canadian Natural Hazards Assessment," Journal of the
International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards,
Vol. 28, Issue No. 2-3 (March 2003). Annual subscriptions: $847.00,
institutional; $164.00, individual. To obtain a subscription, contact Kluwer
Academic Publishers, Customer Service Department, P.O. Box 358, Accord Station,
Hingham, MA 02018-0358; (781) 871-6600 or (866) 269-9527; fax : (781) 681-9045;
http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/0921-030X.This special issue is devoted to an
assessment of natural hazards and disasters in Canada. Articles address disaster
management, community planning, and public participation; achieving sustainable
hazard mitigation; the contribution of philosophy to hazards assessment and
decision making; a general framework for mitigation-oriented planning
assessments of mobile telecommunications lifelines; seismic hazard mitigation
for buildings, and other topics.
Steven Biel, editor. 2001. 416 pp. $18.00. To order, contact New York University
Press, 838 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003-4812; (800) 996-6987;
Disasters reveal something about the
society in which they occur, and this book explores the lingering social and
cultural impacts of American disasters. Chapters examine the immediate and
long-term responses to disasters throughout history, from hurricanes and British
colonial society, through the 1909 San Francisco earthquake, the great Chicago
fire, the Challenger disaster, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill, among others.
Contributing authors highlight how Americans have understood and explained
disasters and how our culture interprets and gives meaning to disaster response
Droughts, and Climate Change. Michael Collier
and Robert H. Webb. 2002. 160 pp. $17.95. To purchase a copy, contact the
University of Arizona Press, 355 South Euclid, Suite 103, Tucson, AZ 85719;
(520) 621-1441; fax: (520) 621-8899;
Floods, Droughts and Climate Change
provides an introduction to climate patterns that links isolated and dramatic
events to the forces, human and otherwise, behind the weather. The authors
describe climate variability and its impacts, emphasizing the natural, long-term
mechanisms of climate change. Topics also include the atmosphere, the geology of
climate, winds, oceans and air, climate history, El Niño, hurricanes, and global
Disaster Reduction for Sustainable Mountain Development.
2002. 16 pp. Free. Copies can be obtained from the UN Inter-Agency Secretariat
for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), Palais des Nations
CH-1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland; fax (41-22) 917-0563. The complete report can
also be downloaded from
Mountain communities are especially vulnerable to natural disasters. In
conjunction with the International Year of the Mountain 2002, this booklet
presents key concepts about integrated mountain development, natural hazards,
and risk reduction. The publication highlights successful disaster reduction
programs in mountain communities, and provides a global overview of disaster
Best Practices in Natural Hazards Planning and Mitigation.
2003. 57 pp. Free. The report is available on-line from the Colorado Department
of Local Affairs:
This state-level report features an array of land use planning practices,
strategies, and resources for addressing development in areas subject to natural
hazards, including wildfire, flooding, swelling or expansive soils, avalanches,
and landslides. Contact information for each jurisdiction is also included.
Planning practices range from overlay zoning districts and defensible space
requirements for development in the wildland/urban interface to regulatory and
permitting processes that limit development in floodplain areas. The report also
includes a section detailing local government drought policies and programs.
Comprehensive Emergency Management for Local Governments:
Demystifying Emergency Planning. James
A. Gordon. 2002. 212 pp. $89.00. Copies can be purchased from Rothstein
Associates, (202) 740-7444 or (888) 768-4783; e-mail:
This guide was written for staff in
small to mid-sized local governments who are preparing for natural and
human-caused emergencies. It includes an introductory chapter on the nature of
local government emergency planning and a final chapter of tips on "putting it
all together." Also included are detailed chapters on each of the four phases of
comprehensive emergency management−mitigation, preparedness, response, and
Why Can’t We Talk? Working Together to Bridge the Com-munications
Gap to Save Lives−A Guide for Public Officials. 2003. 104 pp. Free.
Available electronically from the Department of Justice AGILE program at
This publication, written by the National Task Force on Interoperability,
was developed as a result of the ongoing dialogue among state and local decision
makers and public safety officials to address why many public officials working
in the same jurisdiction cannot easily communicate. This inability is a threat
to public safety and often results in the loss of lives and property. A task
force comprised of 18 national associations representing a wide array of
interests collaborated on this guide.
Communicating in a Crisis: Risk Communication Guidelines for
Public Officials. SMA 02-3641. 2002. 96 pp. Free. Copies
obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration, Mental Health Services Clearinghouse,
Sound and thoughtful communication can help
public officials to prevent ineffective, fear-driven, and potentially damaging
public responses to serious crises. This primer was written with the goal of
providing a resource for public officials about the basic tenets of effective
communication, with a special focus on the media. There are steps that public
officials can take in advance of any incident to better prepare communities,
risk managers, elected officials, public health officials, and others to respond
to the management challenges of crises and disasters.
The Public Transportation System Security and Emergency
Preparedness Planning Guide. DOT-VNTSC-FTA-03-1. 2003. 181 pp. Free.
Individual copies can be requested from the U.S. Department of Transportation,
400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590; (202) 366-4000. The document can
also be downloaded from
Recent events have focused renewed attention on the vulnerability of the
nation’s critical infrastructure to catastrophic events, including terrorism.
This guide was prepared to assist public transportation systems in planning for
and responding to major security threats and emergencies. It emphasizes the
importance of developing critical relationships, preparing strategies and
policies, and setting training and funding priorities.
Transportation Disaster Response Handbook. Jay Levinson and
Hayim Granot. 2002. 290 pp. $70.00. Copies are available from the Disaster
Recovery Journal Bookstore, P.O. Box 510110, St. Louis, MO 63151; (314)
894-0276; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
This handbook presents information and strategies for dealing with all types
of disasters and looks at the unique aspects of transportation-related
incidents. It outlines how to prepare for emergencies, what to expect during a
disaster, how individuals within emergency agencies should respond, and how
these agencies can quickly mobilize to minimize damage and provide assistance to
victims. There are chapters that discuss disaster preparedness plans, assessing
incidents as they occur, assisting victims and support emergency personnel,
coordinating with emergency units and aid groups, searching for physical
evidence, dealing with the media, and other topics.
Health Care at the Crossroads: Strategies for Creating and
Sustaining Community-Wide Emergency Preparedness Systems. 2003. 52 pp. Free.
The report can be downloaded from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of
Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) web site:
Further information about this report can be obtained from JCAHO, 601 13th
Street, N.W., Suite 1150N, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 783-6655; fax: (202)
The purpose of this report is to frame healthcare issues that must be
addressed in developing community-wide disaster preparedness, delineate federal
and state roles, and facilitate sustained community-based emergency preparedness
across the United States. Sections address enlisting the community in preparing
local response, preserving the ability to provide medical care to the community,
establishing oversight, and ensuring accountability.
Orientation Manual for First Responders on the Evacuation of
People with Disabilities. FA-235. 2002. 31 pp. Free. Copies can be requested
from the Publications Center, United States Fire Administration, 16825 South
Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21717; (800) 561-3356 or (301) 447-1000; fax: (301)
The first section of this manual provides guidance on dealing with the
disabled in emergency situations, such as identifying those with special needs
and disabilities in the community and including them in emergency preparedness
planning. The remainder of the manual contains information on types of
impairment and rescue techniques in volig wheel chairs, evacuation devices, and
Crisis Management in a Crowded Humanitarian Space: The Politics
of Hosting Refugee Influxes. 2003. 300 pp. For ordering information, contact
Crisis Management Research and Training (CRISMART), P.O. Box 27805, SE-11593,
Stockholm, Sweden, Office: Valhallavägen 117; tel:+46-8-788 75 00; fax:
+46-8-788 94 57; e-mail:
New York City Department of Buildings World Trade Center
Building Code Task Force Findings and Recommendations.
2003. 48 pp. Free. The report can be downloaded from the City of New York web
In an effort to apply the lessons from the September 11, 2001, World Trade
Center collapse, the New York City Department of Buildings recently outlined the
recommendations of a task force working to ensure the safety of occupants of
tall buildings. The group concluded that, given the extent of damage, the
ability of the structures to stand as long as they did and allow so many people
to escape was remarkable. However, the task force members deter-mined that it is
possible to achieve higher levels of safety for high rise buildings.
Recommendations include larger, sturdier, and more numerous stairwells; full
sprinkler systems; and better protected ductwork.
Schools of Ground Zero: Early Lessons Learned in Children’s
Environmental Health. Sarah Bartlett and John Petrarca. 2002. 402 pp.
$21.50, American Public Health Association (APHA) members; $29.95, nonmembers.
Terrorism and Public Health. Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel, editors.
2002. 368 pp. $41.95, APHA members; $49.95, nonmembers.
To purchase a copy of either book, contact APHA Publications Sales, P.O. Box
753, Waldorf, MD 20604-0753; (301) 893-1894; fax: (301) 843-0159; e-mail:
The first volume describes how public school districts in Lower Manhattan
dealt with the events of September 11, 2001. At the time of the attacks, more
than 6,000 children were in classrooms in the vicinity of the World Trade
Center. The book focuses on the environmental health impacts on the
schoolchildren and efforts to clean up the schools in order to allow the
children to return to their classrooms. Drawing on interviews with parents,
teachers, New York Board of Education officials, and environmental consultants,
the authors make recommendations about safeguarding the health and safety of
children in times of crisis.
The second volume discusses how public health is a critical
element in responding to terrorist incidents and in reducing or preventing
threats from future attacks. It is designed to assist public health
professionals and their organizations by providing up-to-date, science-based
information on, and a practical approach to, a wide range of public health
issues as they relate to terrorism. The book is based in part on scientific
sessions presented at the 2001 Annual Meeting of APHA.
Federal Manager’s/Decision Maker’s Emergency Guide. 2003. 12
pp. Free. Copies can be downloaded from
A Federal Employee’s Emergency Guide. 2003. 12 pp. Free. Copies are
These brochures were developed by the United States Office of Personnel
Management to provide guidance to federal managers and employees regarding
Preparing Makes Sense: Get Ready Now. 2003. 11 pp. Free.
Copies can be requested by calling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS): (800) 237-3239. The brochure can also be downloaded from the DHS web
Taking Care of Ourselves, Our Families, and Our Communities.
Responding to the Stress of Terrorism and Armed Conflicts. 2003. 5 pp. Free.
Helping Your Child Cope. 2003. 7 pp. Free.
Helping Your Teens Cope. 2003. 7 pp. Free.
Self-Care for Caregivers. 2003. 5 pp. Free.
Each of these brochures can be downloaded from the web site of the Centre for
Emergency Preparedness and Response, Health Canada:
Will Duct Tape and Plastic Really Work? Issues Related to
Expedient Shelter-In-Place. John H. Sorensen and Barbara A. Vogt. 2001. 9
pp. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the web site of the Oak Ridge
National Laboratory, Emergency Management Center:
Small Business Administration: Response to
September 11 Victims and Performance Measures for Disaster Lending.
GAO-03-385. 37 pp. Free. Copies can be obtained from the U.S.General Accounting
Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013; (202) 512-6000; fax: (202)
512-6061; TDD (202) 512-2537; e-mail:
email@example.com. The complete text of
the report is also available on-line at
The September 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks and subsequent federal action had a substantial impact on businesses in
both the declared disaster areas and around the nation. In the aftermath of the
attacks, Congress, among other actions, appropriated emergency supplemental
funds to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to aid victims. Given the
unique aspects of this disaster and changes in the program, the General
Accounting Office (GAO) analyzed SBA’s lending performance goals and measures;
that analysis is contained in this report.
Potential Terrorist Attacks: Additional Actions Needed to Better
Prepare Critical Financial Market Participants. GAO-03-414. 91 pp. Free.
Copies can be obtained from the U.S.General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050,
Washington, DC 20013; (202) 512-6000; fax: (202) 512-6061; TDD (202) 512-2537;
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The complete
text of the report is also available on-line at
September 11, 2001, exposed the vulnerability of U.S. financial markets to
wide-scale disasters. Because the markets are vital to the nation’s economy, GAO
assessed the effects of the attacks on market participants’ facilities and
telecommunications systems as well as how well they were prepared for attacks at
that time. In addition, GAO examined physical and information security as well
as the plans participants had in place for business continuity after the
attacks. Finally, the agency looked at regulatory efforts to improve
preparedness and oversight of market participants’ risk reduction efforts.
Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams.
2001. 430 pp. $69.95, hardbound; $25.00, paperback. To purchase a copy, contact
Zed Books, 7 Cynthia Street, London, N1 9JF, U.K.; (020) 7837 4014; fax: (020)
7833 3960; e-mail:
The book explains the history and politics of worldwide dam building and why
large dams have become so controversial. It details the ecological and human
impacts of large dams, and shows how the arguments for dam projects in national
interests are used to legitimize uneconomic and unjust projects. The author
describes the technical, safety, and economic problems of dam technology; the
structure of the international dam-building industry; the role played by
international banks and aid agencies; and the rapid growth of the international
anti-dam movement. In addition, he outlines alternatives to dams, and argues
that their replacement by less destructive measures requires that the industry’s
practices be open to public scrutiny.
The Tornado: Nature’s Ultimate Windstorm.
Thomas P. Grazulis. 2003. 324 pp. $19.95. To
order a copy, contact the University of Oklahoma Press, 4100 28th Avenue
Northwest, Norman, OK 73069; (800) 627-7377;
With chapters on storm formation, life cycle, speed, intensity, risk, and
safety, this comprehensive book presents a wealth of information about
tornadoes. This book includes an overview of tornadic storms, including their
formation and life cycle, tornado forecasting and warnings, wind speeds, the
Fujita scale of storm intensity, tornado myths, safety, numbers and records,
tornadoes outside the U.S., and tornado risk. Appendices list the deadliest
tornadoes in the U.S. and suggest further reading.
Seventh U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering
(7NCEE): Urban Earthquake Risk.
2003. 656 pp. paperback book and CD-ROM. $200.00. (A hardbound, five-volume set
is also available for $350.00.) To purchase the proceedings, contact the
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), 499 14th Street, Suite 320,
Oakland, CA 94612-1934; (510) 451-0905; fax: (510) 451-5411;
This book/CD-ROM set contains the proceedings of a meeting held in Boston,
Massachusetts, in July 2002 to examine the risk of earthquakes in urban areas.
Urban infrastructure in North America has evolved into a closely integrated and
highly sophisticated network of living spaces and lifelines. As demonstrated by
recent quakes, as well as the World Trade Center attack, damage or disruption
can result in losses far beyond what was once believed possible. This conference
provided an opportunity to assess understanding of urban earthquake risk and how
to effectively prepare for and abate it. Further, with the current national
focus on homeland security, it also provided an opportunity to examine whether
the measures to protect against natural hazards should be a part of a
multihazard protection strategy that would comprehensively include natural and
technological hazards. The proceedings contains papers on seismic awareness and
education, seismic design and retrofit, loss estimation, insurance issues,
lifelines and mitigation, nonstructural components, multihazard approaches,
earthquake response and recovery, seismic building codes, land use and urban
planning, business impacts, housing, and finance. The CD-ROM contains the full
text of the final program, the full proceedings, and a comprehensive authors’
The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in NEHRP–Investing in a
Safer Future. John R. Filson, Jill McCarthy, William L. Ellsworth, and Mary
Lou Zoback. U.S. Geological Survey Sheet 017-03. 2003. 6 pp. Free. Copies
may be obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey, Mail Stop 905, 12201 Sunrise
Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192, (703) 648-6714;
In 1977, Congress authorized the creation of the National Earthquake Hazards
Reduction Program (NEHRP) to improve understanding of earthquake hazards and to
mitigate their effects. After 25 years of NEHRP, the USGS Earthquake Hazards
Program is implementing research results to mitigate the effects of earthquakes
through active collaboration with state geological surveys, emergency response
officials, earthquake engineers, governments, and the public. NEHRP’s work has
resulted in dramatic improvements in earthquake preparedness and public safety
in the U.S., and this fact sheet provides an overview.
Rupture in South-Central Alaska−The Denali Fault Earthquake of
2002. Gary S. Fuis and Lisa A. Wald, compilers. U.S. Geological
Survey Fact Sheet 014-03. 2003. 4 pp. Free. Copies may be obtained from the U.S.
Geological Survey, Mail Stop 905, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192,
A powerful magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Alaska on November 3, 2002,
rupturing the earth’s surface for 209 miles along the Susitna Glacier, Denali,
and Totschunda Faults. Although it was the strongest quake ever recorded in the
interior of Alaska, stringent design specifications helped prevent any damage to
the Trans-Alaska pipeline. The effects of this earthquake, along with lessons
for earthquake preparedness, are profiled in this fact sheet.
Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic
Hazards: A Handbook. FEMA 154. 2003. Free.
Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: Supporting
Documentation. FEMA 155. 2003. Free.
Copies of each document can be ordered from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) Distribution Center, P.O. Box 2012, Jessup, MD 20794; (800)
480-2520; fax: (301) 362-5335.
These updated versions of two classic FEMA documents present a method to
quickly identify, inventory, and rank buildings that may pose a risk of death or
injury due to damage from an earthquake.
Communication During Volcanic Emergencies.
2003. 21 pp. Free. The complete report can be downloaded from the Benfield Greig
Hazard Research Centre web site:
This handbook aims to improve communication between volcano monitoring
scientists, emergency managers, and the media prior to and during volcanic
crises. The research underpinning the handbook was undertaken on the Caribbean
islands of Montserrat, Guadeloupe, and St. Vincent over the last three years. It
contains examples of good practices as well as practices to avoid, essential
checklists, lists of resources, an explanation of volcano warning levels, and a
sample press release.
Training Slide Set for Postearthquake Safety Evaluation of
Buildings. CD-ROM. 230 slides.
$35.00. Copies can be purchased from the Applied Technology Council (ATC), 555
Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 550, Redwood City, CA 94065; (650) 595-1542; fax,
(650) 593-2320; e-mail: email@example.com.
This CD contains 230 slides of photographs, schematic drawings, text, and
lecture notes. Developed jointly by ATC and FEMA, the slide set may be used for
education of the public and building professionals regarding earthquake
characteristics of buildings and post-earthquake building safety evaluation.
Topics include: posting notices on buildings; rapid evaluation procedures;
basics of structural dynamics and earthquakes; damage inspection of wood-frame,
masonry, concrete, and steel-frame structures; nonstructural elements;
geotechnical hazards; hazardous materials; and field safety. Example
applications are also included.
Munich Re’s Annual Disaster Data Fest
The Munich Reinsurance Group (MunichRe) has devoted decades to
the geoscientific analysis of natural catastrophe risks, especially earthquake,
windstorm, and flood, and has developed underwriting methods for dealing with
them. Every year, MunichRe publishes Topics−Annual Review: Natural
Catastrophes. Their 2003 report describes worldwide losses caused by
natural disasters in 2002 (52 pp., free). Articles include a review of the
catastrophes of 2002 (complete with photos), major engineering and fire
catastrophes, long-term data for natural disasters from 1950 to 2002, the summer
floods in Europe, a natural hazards index for megacities, geographical
under-writing, and protection of the environment and climate. In addition, the
report contains three inserts: the "World Map of Natural Catastrophes 2002," a
list of the "50 Significant Natural Catastrophes in 2002," and a poster listing
information regarding natural catastrophes in 2002. (Each insert can also be
downloaded from MunichRe’s web site.)
Other recent Munich Re reports of interest to Observer
High Rise Buildings (2000, 161 pp., free);
11th September 2001 (2001, 19 pp., free)
Perspectives 2001 – Munich Re Environmental Magazine
(2001, 69 pp., free) (contains articles on sustainable development as it
pertains to insurance and investment); and
Winter Storms in Europe (2002, 76 pp., free).
All publications are available from the Munich Re web site:
http://www.munichre.com. For further
information about any of these documents, contact Münchener
Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (Munich Re), Central Division, Corporate
Communications, Königstrasse 107, 80802 München, Germany; tel: +49 (0)
89/3891-5291; fax: +49 (0) 89/3891-5696.
ASPEP Calls for Papers
The American Society of Professional Emergency Planners (ASPEP)
has issued a call for papers for the 2003 edition of the organization's journal.
Articles and papers that contribute to the advancement of knowledge and
improvement in the practice of emergency management are welcome. Papers will be
accepted until June 15, 2003. Submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. (PST) on April
15, 2003. All papers should be submitted via e-mail to Bruce Binder:
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more
information, e-mail or write Bruce Binder, c/o ASPEP Journal, 8770 S.W.
Goldstone Place, Beaverton, OR 97007.
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