Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA's Web site now contains thousands of pages of hazards/disaster information - text, graphics, photos, tables, maps - about the agency itself and its ongoing programs; current disaster situations; and disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation generally. The home page provides immediate access to news about recent and ongoing disasters, general news about policy and program developments, and much background information about both the agency and natural disasters.
FEMA has also posted a map of the United States that lists federally declared disasters for each state in a given year at www.fema.gov/disasters. That page links to descriptions of FEMA response and other information about these disasters.
The site's mitigation planning section www.fema.gov/plan/mitplanning/) offers information on what individuals, families, and businesses can do to lessen disaster impacts. It includes current mitigation news, links to mitigation documents available from FEMA, information about the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, and information about FEMA's HAZUS disaster loss estimation software. It also offers extensive sections on mitigation for homeowners, building professionals, communities, businesses, and school and childcare facilities, as well as mitigation best practices and case studies. The Mitigation Best Practice Portfolio (www.fema.gov/mitigation-best-practices-portfolio) is a collection of ideas, activities, projects, and funding sources that can help reduce or prevent the impacts of disasters. This Web page also invites users to submit their own mitigation best practices for review and possible inclusion in the portfolio.
The agency also offers emergency management training materials and courses online at www.fema.gov/emi/training.htm. The Emergency Management Insitute section also provides much of the information developed by the institute's Higher Education Project (http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/edu), which offers online indices of emergency management education programs offered in the United States as well as the complete course materials developed by educators for the project.
FEMA recently launched a free e-mail subscription service that provides automatic notifications when new information is posted on FEMA.gov. To sign up, users can visit www.fema.gov/help/getemail.shtm or simply click on the envelope icons listed throughout the FEMA website. Only an e-mail address to indicate where the alerts will be sent and the user’s zip code and state are required. FEMA is now able to transmit bulletins to all subscribers in a declared disaster area. The bulletins provide updates on aid and how to obtain assistance. Receiving this information electronically is a significant enhancement in improving communications with victims during a disaster. Subscribers select the update topics, and alerts are sent as soon as information is posted on FEMA.gov or in daily, weekly, or monthly digests, based on the subscriber’s subscription preference.
Nationwide Plan Review: Phase I Report
Released in February 2006, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Nationwide Plan Review: Phase I Report (36 pp.) provides the status of catastrophic planning in every state and 75 of the nation’s largest urban areas. The report to Congress presents the initial findings based on the self assessments of emergency operations plans conducted by states, territories, and urban areas. It indicates that while current plans are generally consistent with existing federal planning guidance and voluntary standards, many states, territories, and urban areas are concerned about the adequacy and feasibility of their plans to deal with catastrophic events.
National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center
The NIMS Integration Center oversees all aspects of NIMS, including the development of compliance criteria and implementation activities at federal, state and local levels. It provides guidance and support to jurisdictions and incident management and responder organizations as they adopt the system. The site also includes information on NIMS training, downloadable documents, and tools and templates.
Telling the Tale of Disaster Resistance: A Guide to Capturing and Communicating the Story
Across the United States, individuals, businesses, and communities are taking action to reduce or prevent future disaster damage. In many cases, these actions already have proven to be successful. In others, the test is yet to come. Either way, there is a story to tell. The challenge is to capture and promote these efforts in an interesting and effective way to motivate others to similarly protect themselves and their communities. Available free online from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (2001), this guide features examples of best practices and provides key considerations for successfully telling the tale of disaster resistance—developing story leads, researching and documenting projects, creating a finished product, and promoting those projects.
National Science and Technology Council
Subcommittee on Diaster Reduction
The Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction (SDR) is an element of the President’s National Science and Technology Council and facilitates national strategies for reducing disaster risks and losses that are based on effective use of science and technology. Chartered in 1988, the SDR provides a unique federal forum for information sharing; development of collaborative opportunities; formulation of science- and technology-based guidance for policy makers; and dialogue with the U.S. policy community to advance informed strategies for managing disaster risks. Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction is a10-year strategy for disaster reduction through science and technology formulated by the SDR, in collaboration with scientists and engineers around the world. It presents six grand challenges and provides a framework for prioritizing the related federal investments in science and technology to improve America’s capacity to prevent and recover from disasters. The Grand Challenges document as well as several other national reports are available at this Web site.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross provides extensive information on disaster mitigation, management, and recovery. In particular, a large collection of individual and community disaster preparedness, response, and recovery information is available from www.redcross.org/services/disaster. The material is available in many foreign languages. The Red Cross, in conjunction with several other public and private agencies that deal with disasters, also published the online Talking About Disaster Guide for Standard Messages - a set of standard disaster safety messages on 13 hazards, as well as general disaster safety information. Through this project, major national agencies have agreed on standard messages about disaster safety, and they encourage others to consult this guide when preparing information to ensure consistency in the messages presented to the general public.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The USGS maintains many Web sites with much useful information on geologic hazards, including a Hazards Theme Page ( www.usgs.gov/themes/hazard.html) with sections on earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, floods, and coastal storms as well as maps showing the distribution of hazards.
Their Natural Hazards Support System (http://nhss.cr.usgs.gov/) is a Web-based tool that helps monitor, respond to, and analyze natural hazards events across the country and around the world. The Web site contains dynamic, near real-time natural hazards information from a wide range of sources.
USGS also provides online access to its Publications Warehouse. The warehouse includes comprehensive bibliographic information on USGS reports and maps published from 1880 to the present as well as references to non-USGS publications by USGS authors published from 1983 to date. Full text for many items are freely available as PDFs.
National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) Natural Hazards Data
The NGDC Natural Hazards Data Web site contains databases, slide sets, and publications available from NGDC on geophysical hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes
NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) maintains many tools and assets for observing and analyzing hazards; conducts several programs for detecting, monitoring, responding to, and mitigating hazards; and offers numerous resources (primarily via the Web) to educate the general public about these risks. In addition, NESDIS manages extensive databases concerning historical and current disaster events.
GAO Disaster Bibliography
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has posted this bibliography of its disaster-related products.
CRS Report: Federal Disaster Recovery Programs: Brief Summaries
This report from the Congressional Research Service summarizes principal federal disaster assistance programs. A number of federal agencies provide assistance to disaster victims; to state, territorial, and local governments; and to nongovernmental entities following adisaster. Among other forms of assistance, federal programs can provide grants, loans, loan guarantees, temporary housing, and counseling. This report will be updated as significant legislative or administrative changes occur.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety
The Institute for Business and Home Safety is a consortium of insurance and reinsurance institutions dedicated to making natural disaster safety a core value among homes and businesses. Visitors to the IBHS site will find information about ongoing IBHS projects and other insurance industry initiatives, as well as online copies of many IBHS publications and safety brochures.
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes-FLASH, Inc./Blueprint for Safety
The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes-FLASH, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting disaster safety and property loss mitigation. This public-private alliance of like-minded partners includes government agencies, construction and insurance industries as well as volunteer organizations. Blueprint for Safey is FLASH's education program on techniques in disaster-resistant construction.
Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
The Center of Excellence (COE) in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance provides education, training, and research regarding international disaster management and humanitarian assistance. COE is a partnership of the United States Pacific Command, the Pacific Health Services Support Area of Tripler Army Medical Center, and the University of Hawaii. Focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, the center conducts needs assessments, program development and evaluation, curriculum development, conferences, training programs, and research. The COE Web site describes the many training and education opportunities supported by the center, incorporates an online version of the Center's magazine The Liaison, and provides much other information and publications about disaster management and humanitarian aid both in the Pacific Rim and worldwide. In particular, it includes an online version of Disaster Response: Principles of Preparation and Coordination, a classic text by Erik Auf der Heide.
Noah's Wish is an organization devoted to ensuring animal welfare during disasters. The site provides a variety of information and resources, including schedule information and requirements for their extensive national volunteer training program.
American Veterinary Medical Association
The Web site of the American Veterinary Medical Association provides educational materials to assist veterinarians, animal owners, and others interested in the well-being of animals in preparing for animal safety in the event of a disaster.
Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN)
EDEN works to develop or enhance educational resources on disasters and to educate and train state cooperative extension services staff. The EDEN Web site provides extensive information about the network and many of the disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation resources the network has identified or prepared. EDEN maintains a shared database of disaster-related resources available from member states in addition to direct links to extension service disaster information available online. The site also provides a directory of state EDEN delegates with complete contact information.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response web site provides categorized information relating to public health aspects of terrorism and other disasters. Topics include biological, chemical and radiological weapons; bioterrorism; disasters and emergencies; emergency medical services; environmental disasters; natural disasters and extreme weather; mental health and traumatic events; and safety of the water supply.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Disaster resiliency and recovery
Among its many missions, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory includes the integration of sustainable development and renewable energy into disaster preparedness, response, relief, recovery, and mitigation. This portion of the lab's Web site highlights technology, programs, publications, and other resources to further that end.
National Disaster Education Coalition (NDEC)
The NDEC Web site is composed of federal government agencies and national nonprofit organizations that work together to develop and disseminate consistent educational information for the public about disaster preparedness. NDEC member agencies ensure that disaster safety messages are appropriate, accurate, research-based, and crafted appropriately for the audience by using understandable language.
Federal Highway Administration - Homeland Security
The Federal Highway Administration has reengineered and expanded its emergency transportation operations and homeland security Web site with the continued purpose of providing state and local agencies with valuable information to help them make wise decisions to improve the security of roadway operations. Resources are organized based on prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery classifications. New content includes sections on cybersecurity and funding.
Identification and Analysis of Factors Affecting Emergency Evacuations
Available free online from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the objective of this study was to assess the emergency evacuation process in the United States, including evaluating evacuation experience (e.g., time to complete evacuation, traffic issues, deaths or injuries, etc.) and identifying critical factors affecting emergency evacuations (e.g., training, drills, preparedness, ad hoc versus preplanned, etc.). The study examined public evacuations of 1,000 or more persons in response to natural disasters, technological hazards, and malevolent acts in the United States between January 1, 1990, and June 30, 2003. Fifty evacuation incidents were selected for case study analysis.
Multiple chartts and graphs on disasters.
Available in English, Spanish, and Chinese, this Web site from the San Francisco, California, Office of Emergency Services instructs residents on how to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. It also provides information on what to do in response to specific disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
National Science Foundation Disasters Series
Disasters, a special online report series from the National Science Foundation (NSF), highlights some of the disaster research supported by NSF.
Top Priority: A Fire Service Guide to Interoperable Communications (2005) The purpose of this guide is to provide fire and emergency service agencies with a comprehensive understanding of interoperability. This understanding, in turn, can form the foundation for increasing the effectiveness of emergency response services and improving the safety of emergency response personnel. The guide proposes a common operational definition of interoperability, discusses the foundation for interoperable communications, and provides direction to establish interoperability between and among public safety services. Although written from a fire-service perspective, it is recommended for use by fire departments, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, and emergency managers. Available for free from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
The Web site of the IAEM (formerly the National Coordinating Council on Emergency Management) includes information about the association, its mission, and its Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) program; details about IAEM conferences; a "Topic of the Month" section; lists of IAEM partners and experts; news regarding current issues in emergency management; and copious links to other emergency-management-related sites. The site now also provides online registration for the IAEM e-mail list dedicated to the discussion of all hazards and emergency management topics (firstname.lastname@example.org).
National Emergency Management Association (NEMA)
NEMA's Web site includes on its history, publications, committees, and membership, as well as lists of upcoming conferences, information on regional communications, updates on current legislation and other federal issues, and state contact information. Of particular interest is NEMA's extensive Hazard Mitigation Grant Program database, which tracks all federally funded Hazard Mitigation Grant Program projects. This database is intended to help state hazard mitigation officers share ideas and design practicable hazard mitigation projects.
National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue (NI/USR)
The NI/USR site includes information about the many projects undertaken by this group, and, among other items, the latest issue of the NI/USR newsletter Press On!; details about NI/USR's annual meetings; links to the NI/USR online journal and related periodicals on the Web; as well as information about NI/USR itself.
Some State Resources
University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service Disaster Services
The University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service Disaster Services offers a broad spectrum of information on current disasters, disaster preparedness and recovery, other agencies and networks dealing with disasters, and disasters generally.
Community Guidelines for Developing a Spontaneous Volunteer Plan
This document, Community Guidelines for Developing a Spontaneous Volunteer Plan, from Illinois Homeland Security was developed to help Illinois communities develop and execute a community spontaneous volunteer plan.
Virginia Cooperative Extension Disaster Series
The Virginia Cooperative Extension's Home Page offers this "After a Disaster Series of Publications" - a wide range of useful material on postdisaster recovery - 30 publications in all, grouped into seven categories: safety, food and water, coping with stress, cleaning, insurance and contracts, landscape and agriculture, and roof repairs.
Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
The goal of Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development's Natural Hazards Program is to provide for protection of people and property from natural hazards through sound land use planning. In addition to a special section on emergency preparedness, the main sections of the department's Web site feature four natural hazards common to Oregon: floods, landslides, earthquakes, and wildfires.
Overseas and International Resources
ReliefWeb is a site maintained by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA - see below) intended to aid national agencies and nongovernmental organizations involved in emergency and disaster relief worldwide. The site addresses prevention, preparedness, and response, and includes country and emergency profiles, a bulletin section with daily updates, a "What's New" feature that directs the reader to recently added information, and various maps of countries and regions where emergency operations are currently underway.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
This site - the "Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Online" - is the principle source of information on the activities of OCHA, the United Nations (UN) agency responsible for UN response to disasters and complex emergencies. It includes information about the office; its latest emergency reports; emergency information by country/region; sections on coordination and emergency response, and disaster reduction; a list of OCHA publications; news about and from IRIN - OCHA's Integrated Regional Information Networks www.irinnews.org/); and information on training, conferences, and workshops.
Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), a joint initiative of the United Nations and the European Commission, provides near real-time disaster alerts and tools to facilitate response coordination. The purpose of GDACS is to provide the international response community with a platform to ensure that alerts and information relevant to a disaster’s response is exchanged interactively in a structured and predictable manner. GDACS will be activated when major natural, technological, or environmental disasters overwhelm a country’s response capacity and international assistance is required.
The Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters
The Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters at the School of Public Health, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium, maintains one of the Web's more comprehensive databases of disaster information. The site includes background information; a "what's new" update section; the searchable database covering over 10,000 disasters; "disaster profiles" (now including data on epidemics) presented in three sub-sets: "top 10," "chronological table," and "raw data," and grouped according to country, region, world, and disaster type; summary data; maps; a bibliographic database; and links to other useful sites. Additionally, a country-by-country database compiled by the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assist and CRED is available via the United Nations ReliefWeb site: http://www.reliefweb.int [see above].
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
To continue the efforts initiated during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (1990-2000) the United Nations (UN) established the ISDR, managed by a small UN Secretariat in Geneva. This Web site provides extensive background information on the ISDR; a list of ISDR and ISDR-related events; online versions of the ISDR Highlights newsletter; descriptions of various ISDR initiatives; and numerous reports, tools, brochures, and UN documents.
The ISDR's Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning (http://www.unisdr.org/ppew/) aims to help the development of early warning and preparedness systems by advocating for better early warning systems. Visit this Web site, a growing information resource on early warning systems, and sign up for their quarterly newsletter.
The ISDR's Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean launched this site to promote disaster mitigation in the region and to help the unit better respond to the many information requests it receives daily.
Worldwatch Institute is an interdisciplinary research organization based in Washington, DC. In 2005, The Worldwatch Institute launched a two-year project addressing the intersections between natural disasters, environmental degradation, conflict, and peacemaking.
Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment, Organization of American States
The Web page of the Natural Hazards Project of the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment, Organization of American States contains information, in Spanish and English, about the project's various natural hazard mitigation activities - including programs in the areas of transportation vulnerability reduction, education vulnerability reduction (including effective postdisaster school reconstruction), and floodplain management - as well as announcements about upcoming activities, the project's internship program, and contact information.
Public Safety Canada
Public Safety Canada offers emergency management and preparedness information in English or en francais.
Emergency Management Australia
Emergency Management Australia has jazzed up its Web site with a new look and new information. The site includes a section describing the agency's programs and structure as well as pages covering current EMA activities, EMA media releases, and emergency management generally. It also provides a virtual library, community information, a summary of available education and training, and a list of conferences. It also provides an extensive new section on "Disaster Education for Schools," with pages for teachers, students, and school communities, as well as a news section and an index of school disaster education resources - from Web sites to books and videos.
New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management
The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management deals with natural and technological hazards and emergencies - providing national coordination and a range of support for local government and other emergency services. The office's Web site describes the agency, its programs and available training; offers tips on personal preparedness, as well as an overview of New Zealand hazards and disasters (particularly volcanoes).
Asia-Pacific Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas
The Pacific Disaster Center designed this Web-based hazards atlas to support disaster management and humanitarian assistance communities in the Asia-Pacific region and Hawaii. The updated atlas provides a geospatial framework through which a wealth of hazards-related information can be viewed, including real-time and historical tropical cyclone tracks, earthquake locations, wildfires, and tsunami runup zones.