Natural Hazards Observer

January 2005
Volume XXIX | Number 3

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Below are new or updated Internet resources that the Natural Hazards Center staff have found informative and useful. For a more complete list, visit

All HazardsHurricanes and Coastal ManagementEarthquakesWildfire
Climate Change
Bioterrorism, Water Terrorism, and Hazardous Materials
Homeland Security and World Trade Center

All Hazards
This new search service from Google is aimed at scientists and academic researchers. Google Scholar is intended to be a first stop for researchers looking for scholarly literature, such as peer-reviewed papers, books, abstracts, and technical reports.
The United Nations/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning aims to help the development of early warning and preparedness systems by advocating for better early warning systems. Visit this new Web site, the start of a growing information resource on early warning systems, and sign up for their quarterly newsletter.
The cornerstone of the Ready New York campaign, this comprehensive household preparedness guide offers tips and information about a wide range of potentially hazardous situations New Yorkers may face.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research, with funding from the U.S. Weather Research Program, has established the Societal Impacts Program to develop a dedicated focal point for gathering, assembling, coordinating, and synthesizing information on the societal impacts and economic benefits of weather information. This new site is a work-in-progress that currently includes program information as well as the preliminary framework for a Digital Library of Societal Impacts.
The Disaster Research Center has established this Web site featuring results from its spring 2004 conference Disaster Research in the Social Sciences: Lessons Learned, Challenges, and Future Trajectories.
Operation Hope offers a free Emergency Financial First Aid Kit on its Web site. Designed to help Americans minimize the financial impact of a natural disaster or national emergency, this tool helps users identify and organize key financial records and serves as a quick reference to important financial documents. A Spanish version is under development.
This new report from the Congressional Research Service addresses Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets: Definition and Identification.
Integrating the professional first responder communities of fire, law enforcement, emergency medical, National Guard, and local, state, and federal governments with industry concerned with domestic preparedness is the aim of this site, which features news about grants, government, industry, people, reports, events, and more.
This Web site provides relevant and timely information for the military and air defense, emergency services, and remote sensing communities. Free subscriptions to e-mail updates are also available.

Hurricanes and Coastal Management
This Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment examines the effects of Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne in Haiti, Grenada, and the Dominican Republic.
Information recently released by the insurance industry ranks this year’s big four hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne) among the top ten costliest U.S. hurricanes in the past 25 years.
With four major events, the 2004 hurricane season inflicted tremendous losses on the United States. At the same time, Japan was hit by an unprecedented number of typhoons. In a new report, Hurricane Season 2004: Unusual but Not Unexpected, Swiss Re discusses the recent storms in the context of its event-based approach to risk analysis and portfolio management.
This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Organizational Chart for Coastal Managers was developed for coastal managers and staff to facilitate their understanding of the organizational structure, role, and responsibilities of NOAA offices involved in coastal management activities, such as weather, research, and fisheries management. Hard copies can be obtained by e-mailing
Hurricane Strike! an entertaining multimedia educational product, is now available in three versions (all at no charge) to meet the needs of students with hearing, motor, and visual impairments. This Web site provides access to the Web versions as well as instructions on how to order a master CD for those who want to publish and distribute free CD copies.


Mr. Hazards falling through crack
The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute has posted a preliminary report on the September 28, 2004, earthquake in Parkfield, California, along with links to other sites with related data.
A preliminary U.S. Geological Survey report on the magnitude 6.6 earthquake near the west coast of Honshu, Japan, on October 23, 2004, is available here along with links to additional related information.
This article from an Observer reader advocates the need for seismologists to view earthquake hazard mitigation issues as involving policy and economic issues as well as scientific ones and suggests some approaches.

Preparing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan: A Handbook for Wildland–Urban Interface Communities is a concise, step-by-step guide to developing a community wildfire protection plan. It addresses issues such as who to involve in developing a plan, how to involve other interested parties, what elements to consider in assessing community risks and priorities, and how to develop a mitigation or protection plan to address those risks.
Part of the Forest Service’s Forest Encyclopedia Network, this Encyclopedia of Southern Fire Science (ESFS) synthesizes volumes of scientific knowledge about fire science in the southern United States. ESFS delivers grounded information to field practitioners and the general public with viewer-navigated text, photos, graphics, plus a large bibliography and access to several fire science databases.

angry flame
The Joint Fire Science Program is a six-agency partnership established to address wildland fuels issues. Participating agencies are the Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The program provides wildland fire and fuels information and tools to specialists and managers who make wildland fuels management decisions.
The Northwest Fire Research Clearinghouse (FIREHouse) is a Web-based project providing data and documentation on fire science and technology relevant to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The goal is to provide “one-stop shopping” for resource managers, decision makers, scientists, students, and communities who want access to the results of efforts to understand and manage fire and fuels on public lands in the region.
The Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES) is a virtual collaborative workspace for wildland fire managers and researchers that serves them and others through the exchange of information and tools that are essential for wildland fire and fuels management.
The Nature Conservancy launched the Global Fire Initiative to help counter threats that fire poses to global conservation. The initiative is fulfilling a leading role in restoring ecosystems where fire dynamics have changed, and recently completed a global assessment that quantifies the scale of the problem. More information about the initiative, its tactics, and its projects is available on this Web site.

Climate Change
This new Web site from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aims to raise issue awareness, inform dialog, and support decision making regarding the Arctic climate and ecosystem. It shows the past and present state of the Arctic climate and ecosystem and presents data and information from reputable scientific sources with easy to read and understand narratives.

Bioterrorism, Water Terrorism, and Hazardous Materials
This Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document provides guidance for the initial response to a suspicious letter/container, offering recommendations for local responders based on existing procedures (including recommendations from the International Association of Fire Chiefs).
Developed to assist the medical and public health community as well as public utility and emergency response professionals, this new Web site offers a free terrorism preparedness guide that addresses the public health and security challenges resulting from intentional acts of water terrorism.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Region 1 has created this Palm version of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2004 Emergency Response Guide.

Homeland Security and World Trade Center
The primary role of the National Academic Consortium for Homeland Security is to promote, support, and enhance academic research, technology development, education and training, and service programs dealing with all aspects of international and homeland security through collaboration and information sharing.
This press release discusses the latest findings from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s World Trade Center (WTC) Investigation. Findings include the leading collapse sequence for each of the towers; details from the analysis of first-person interviews of WTC occupants, first responders, and families of victims; and new information gleaned from the analysis of emergency response and evacuation procedures/actions.

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