IRCD Researchers Meeting Abstracts
The Experience of Role Strain Among Police Officers During a Disaster
The ability of police departments to provide adequate services in man-made or natural disasters is contingent upon critical response personnel working and functioning in an efficient manner. Currently, it is assumed that police officers will fulfill their professional duties in the event of a disaster, even if they are personally impacted by the disaster to which they are expected to respond. However, the media reported abandonment of duty among the New Orleans Police Department during Hurricane Katrina suggests that the response of personnel may be contingent upon the confluence of a variety of factors.
This exploratory study examined the situational factors that influenced feelings of role strain among police officers that served as first responders during Hurricane Katrina. To gain insight into the experiences and activities of responders during the most stressful parts of the event, face-to-face interviews were conducted with officers (N=37) of varying ranks in a Gulf Coast police department. The data demonstrate the diverse rationale for actions taken or neglected during and after the disaster, as well as the varied priorities and concerns of first responders in crisis situations.
How Not to Learn: Resilience in the Study of Disaster
The use of resilience in disaster sciences provides us with the opportunity to consider instances in which it is best “not to learn,” since segments of the actual academic discourse remain on a fad level. At times they discuss important research questions by using new vocabularies that do not add any new knowledge, even as they command important resources. We present some evidence for the fad of resilience and examine the two most common approaches to its study, the normative and indicator approaches, as well as an alternative reliability approach.
The word “resilience” has gained some popularity in recent years and such use is unobjectionable. Nevertheless the popularity of the concept of resilience in social science is redundant when applied to research and management of disasters since the goals typically associated with social resilience—that of identifying effective strategies for strengthening the institutions of society faced with disasters—have for half a century or more informed emergency management, federal policy making, and the scientific study of the impact of disasters on social organizations.
Modeling the Real-Time Decision to Evacuate from a Hurricane
While there has been a significant amount of research dedicated to better understanding a household’s decision to evacuate from a hurricane, these studies are routinely conducted in a post-storm environment months, or even years, after the event. Unfortunately, this post-storm research is subject to the significant survey issue of recall, where the appropriate recollections of facts surrounding one’s decision to evacuate are likely suspect stemming from the passage of time.
In order to remedy the recall issue, we have collected survey information on a household’s decision to evacuate while a hurricane was actually threatening. We present an analysis of this intended household evacuation decision for two hurricanes that impacted both the mid-Atlantic and northeastern regions of the United States—Hurricane Earl in 2010 and Hurricane Irene in 2011. Significantly, our survey covers varied geographic areas—North Carolina, Massachusetts, and New York—allowing for the evacuation decision analysis of different types of hurricane-experienced residents from a general perspective. Moreover, the survey instrument specificity allows for the analysis of the evacuation decision accounting for a multitude of relevant factors not traditionally analyzed, including storm and forecast awareness, perceived vulnerability and concern, preparation, and sources of forecast information.
The results from our study allow for a better understanding of the actual factors that various types of households consider as they make their evacuation decision in varied geographic areas as the storm threatens and evolves. Understanding this is critical in moving forward on the construction of forecast information that households can and actually do use to make better evacuation decisions.
Preparedness for Catastrophes: The Constitutive Dynamism of Plans and Improvisation
A major earthquake in Southern California could cause profound, long-term disruptions to daily life for people in the region. One only need look at Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami to grasp the level of potential destruction. In general, preparedness practices, while designed to educate and empower residents to be prepared, do little to ensure successful responses in catastrophic events.
This paper addresses how people in at-risk contexts enact preparedness for a major earthquake using grounded theory-based inductive research methods to explore the question. My study site is a large organization and community located in Orange County, California, an area at great risk for a potentially devastating seismic event. Data collection efforts consisted of in-depth interviews with staff and community members, archival analysis of disaster planning materials, and observation of earthquake preparedness activities.
I find preparedness is carried out through the enactment of two sets of practices in this environment. Explicit practices are planning oriented actions people engaged in accordance with official recommendations. In contrast, implicit practices are those activities, resources, and technologies people enacted in everyday life with the potential for improvisation in post-disaster contexts.
Disaster preparedness can be thought of as a structurated phenomenon and is carried out through a constitutive relationship between structure and action. A structuration model of preparedness moves away from the primacy of plans dictating action into understanding the process as a dynamic relationship between structure and action. Preparedness is also reconstituted in different forms, or moderated, when new courses of action are necessary to adapt to constraining and enabling aspects of the dynamic conditions of context. I discuss the model’s implications for disaster preparedness and new ways in which these processes can be carried out in at-risk communities.
Lauren Barsky, Argonne National Labs
Paul Hewett, Argonne National Labs
Developing a Registry to Assist Special Needs Populations: Lessons Learned from Anniston, Alabama
Within the general population affected by any disaster is a group with even greater vulnerabilities and risks—individuals with special needs. The special needs population can generally be described as those who are cognitively and/or physically disabled or frail to the point that they require routine, professional help to complete daily-life tasks. This group can include patients and residents of hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities that need additional specialized care during a disaster or evacuation activity. Much of this group is made up of the elderly who need assistance in daily living activities in addition to medical care.
The special needs group is particularly vulnerable during a disaster and special plans and resources must be in place to address this at risk population. More and more states, counties, and municipalities are placing emphasis on the use of registries to assist special needs populations in the aftermath of extreme events. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice has published guidance that suggests that communities should establish voluntary, confidential registries for persons with disabilities in order to comply with Americans with Disability Act of 1990 requirements.
As part of a research effort with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Argonne National Laboratory conducted a study into how the Alabama Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program administered and maintained one such special needs registry over an extended period of time. Through in-depth qualitative interviews with a number of key personnel involved in creating and maintaining the registry, this study examines processes for establishing and maintaining registries that were effective, reasons people chose to participate in a registry, and the importance of balancing perceptions with realistic expectations when it comes to implementing a special needs registry.
Eric Best, University of Delaware
Alex Greer, University of Delaware
All Oil Spills are Local: Severity, Framing, Legislation, and GDP Change in States and the Nation
While there is a large body of disaster literature concerning offshore oil spills, much of the research focuses on the national response and psychological impacts of these disasters. To determine if the effects of oil spills are localized, we reexamine major offshore oil spills in the United States using a combined approach. Merging qualitative and quantitative concepts, we examine environmental impact of oil spills, spatial and temporal aspects of the spills, issue framing in local and national news at the time of the spills, legislation resulting from each spill, and the gross domestic product (GDP) change over time for states with spills and the United States as a whole.Using this combined approach, we find correlations between issue framing in domestic oil spills and declines in oil and gas extraction GDP relative to the rest of the United States in states with negative framing of offshore spills. We find few correlations between GDP declines and offshore spills for state economies where spills are framed in a less negative manner. These findings suggest that the localized oil and gas extraction industry is sensitive to issue framing in times of disaster, and that media and popular portrayals of oil spills are correlated with industry growth on a state level. Interestingly, we find no correlation between oil spills and national oil and gas extraction industry trends.
Hidden in the Numbers: Anticipated Disaster Shelter Use for People with Health and Access Concerns
Emergency managers contend with the challenge of how best to provide public shelter during times of a disaster. Although only 13 to 16 percent of the population—depending on the study—seeks shelter in these facilities, ensuring the safety of those in public shelters is paramount.
Recently attention has turned to how best to address the needs of individuals with health concerns or functional access needs. This study, with funding from the National Science Foundation, explores the likelihood of accessing public shelters. A telephone survey of North Carolina households was conducted in 2011, focusing on the broad topic of evacuation and sheltering decision making. Independent chi-squared and cross tabs were conducted.
Results showed that approximately 14 percent of households would seek public shelter if a hurricane were to strike. This finding is consistent with the literature. Interestingly, however, of those respondents who stated someone in their household had a health or access consideration that may influence public shelter use, 25 percent anticipated using a disaster public shelter. Of those would did not identify with this description—in other words, no health or access concern—only 10 percent anticipated using a public shelter.
Our findings suggest that not only did more respondents with a health concern anticipate using a public shelter, compared to those without a health or access concern, but also that a greater percentage of households with health or access concerns anticipate relying on such facilities compared to the general population. These finding suggest that public shelters must better consider the range of functional needs its occupants will have during a large-scale evacuation. We discuss how these findings fit into the social empowerment model and potential implications for future policy.
A Managerial Perspective on Long-Term Housing of Disaster IDPs: The Experience of Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina
Existing research on environmentally induced displacement is heavily focused on the motivations, experiences and outcomes for the internally displaced populations (IDPs) and not enough on the communities that accommodate them. Existing studies mostly focus on either the environmental impact of the IDPs on host communities or on their short-term responses to displacement. But these are not adequate to address the management of the prolonged (and regional scale) displacement experienced in recent catastrophic disasters. Moreover, decision making after disasters is conducted urgently and can yield results different from “normal” circumstances. Therefore, there is a need for research that examines host community responses to prolonged disaster-induced displacement and the factors that affect them.
This study uses the case of Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to examine the process by which policies for long-term housing of IDPs are created and implemented, the factors that affect this process, and the challenges faced by public officials to implement it.
Data was collected through key informant interviews of public officials and planning consultants, primary (pilot) surveys, and secondary document review. Data was analyzed using content analysis techniques and descriptive statistics. Study findings include a programmatic timeline of decisions made by Houston public officials leading up to the creation of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program.
The study concludes that: (1) coordination between multiple recovery actors can be greatly aided by new institutions created specifically for recovery purposes; (2) the urgency of the situation can lead to the creation of new policies in partnership with actors not usually associated with recovery; (3) urgency can lead to the use of existing policies as blue prints for new ones, which possibly replicates existing inequities; and (4) public officials often have difficulty balancing the urgent (and changing) needs of the IDPs with the requirements and constraints of state and federal policy.
Hsien-Ho Chang, University of Delaware
Managing Personnel and Resources in Disaster Scenes
The Incident Command System (ICS) was designed to have: (1) hierarchy of authority; (2) division of labor; and (3) formal rules and procedures. It is regarded as a hierarchical disaster response system. According to organizational theory, hierarchical structures have difficulty dealing with high levels of uncertainty or interdependence. Formalized rules and procedures also reduce communication within organizations, impeding professionals in performing well.
Unexpected catastrophes, such as the Japanese earthquake in 2011, are occurring with greater frequency around the world. These catastrophes involve high levels of uncertainty and complexity, making it harder for personnel working within normal response systems—such as the ICS—to deal with them. This paper will discuss possible alternative systems for responding to disasters with high levels of uncertainty.
The researcher focuses on the following two research questions: (1) what are the limitations of using a hierarchical disaster response system; and (2) what kind of organizational structure would be more suitable for responding to disasters with high amounts of uncertainty?
To answer these questions, the researcher has reviewed a number of ICS-related research papers and technical reports, along with organizational theories to better understand the differences between hierarchical versus non-hierarchical structures. In this paper, the researcher will present his major findings and will provide some possible suggestions for redesigning disaster response systems in the future.
Investigation Analysis on Local Level Administration Personnel's Cognition to Hydro-Meteorological Disaster Adaptation Strategies
Extreme weather has become frequent in recent years, causing extreme hydro-meteorological disasters. Typhoon Morakot, for example, hit Taiwan and caused 700 deaths in August 2009. Such a trend means working out appropriate and feasible disaster adaptation strategies will be important topics for the future response to climate change. Furthermore, these disaster adaptation strategies must have close connections to local administrative personnel who actually execute strategies, since their cognition to adaptation strategies is a key to whether these strategies will succeed.
This report covers in-depth interviews about relevant issues of cognition disaster adaptation strategies. Interviews were conducted with local-level administrative personnel (including township and Li level) who dealt with disaster prevention and rescue work in areas affected by Typhoon Morakot in southern Taiwan.
The survey results showed that awareness for disasters response strategies is higher than the awareness for disaster reduction strategies. This could be affected by the existing administrative operation system, interviewees’ administrative operations type, length of working in the administrative unit, and their experiences in participating disaster reduction and prevention work. Furthermore, these survey results can be used as a reference for improvement of future large-scale disaster reduction and prevention operations in local government.
John Coles, State University of New York at Buffalo
Jun Zhuang, State University of New York at Buffalo
Modeling the Dynamics of Agency-Agency Partnerships Before and Following Extreme Events
The recent earthquakes in Japan, Chile, China, and Haiti, as well as the ongoing preparation for similar quakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the United States, demonstrate the importance of understanding the dynamics that govern networks of relief agencies. The objective of our research is to model and analyze the process of partnership creation, length of partnership efficacy, and timing of partnership conclusion in networks of agencies responding to crises.
We plan to create models using game theory and simulation to explore how characteristics of partnerships could be used to predict dynamics in agency investment, commitment length, partnership selection, and exit timing from a crisis. We propose to use data about the relief efforts following the Haitian earthquake and flooding in the United States from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee to accomplish the above objectives using dynamic network models and simulation. Information collected previously about the networks that existed in Haiti before and after the 2010 earthquake provide an initial data set for this project that will be augmented with additional data collected from agencies working in the United States.
This research will build on previous work in emergency management to provide a comprehensive analysis of organizational posturing following an extreme event. By documenting the dynamical flow of roles and resources following extreme events, we will provide a testing ground for hypotheses regarding agencies and how they are impacted by partnerships, goals, roles, and prior involvement. We will develop and study a mathematical model for agency-agency interactions, using game theory and stochastic processes. This project will provide a new perspective on how agencies interact during disaster relief and recovery operations so that emergency managers can improve the impact of their agency during a disaster relief operation (i.e., saving lives and property).
Robin Cox, Royal Roads University
Community Disaster Resilience Planning
The Rural Disaster Resilience Project was a community-based action research project funded by the Center for Security Science in partnership with the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Royal Roads University and Public Health Agency of Canada. In this presentation, participants will be introduced to the Disaster Resilience Planning Framework—a comprehensive risk and resilience management framework designed to support the ability of rural, remote, and small coastal communities to assess risk and resilience and develop plans and community-driven initiatives to extend and enhance their resilience.
The framework outlines a flexible, four-step planning process supported with user-friendly disaster resilience assessment and hazard risk reduction planning tools. Primary amongst these tools are the Rural Resilience Index (RRI) and the Hazard Resilience Index (HRI). The RRI includes an array of community resilience indicators associated with social, human (knowledge and skills), built, natural, economic capital, governance issues, and disaster and emergency planning processes and plans. The HRI provides a comprehensive list of resilience indicators associated with natural, human-caused, technological, disease, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) hazards.
Combined they allow communities to undertake a comprehensive assessment of their resilience and develop an action plan that makes sense in their context and is driven by their local priorities. Participants will also be introduced to the Disaster Risk Resilience Planning Network, an interactive virtual forum that provides interactive, web-based versions of the DRP, RRI, HRI and other related tools and resources. It is designed to provide a virtual space for any community or group to engage in the resilience planning process and harness the collective expertise and knowledge of network members.
Disaster Cultures in the Netherlands: Borgharen and Itteren
The Netherlands faces a permanent threat of flooding. To take advantage of the opportunities their dangerous habitat offers, the Dutch have developed ways to deal with this recurrent hazard varying from physical to cultural mechanisms, encompassing what disaster research literature has labeled a “disaster culture.”
Even though Dutch engineering works have decreased floods to what some consider negligible levels, the threat nevertheless persists and is entrenched in Dutch culture. Yet, there are few studies that actually look into disaster culture in the Netherlands. This article presents the findings of explorative Dutch-American research (2011-2012) into the existence and attributes of local disaster cultures in two hamlets in the province of Limburg—Borgharen and Itteren, which experience a systematic threat of flooding.
Data collection relied on: (1) document analysis; (2) participant observation; (3) focus groups; and (4) in-depth interviews. The study demonstrated that despite the proximity of Borgharen and Itteren (only three kilometers apart) the two communities are characterized by distinct disaster cultures. While their disaster cultures show some similarities, they also manifest clear differences. Some salient differences concerned the local patterns for response, knowledge, symbols, and built environment.
Furthermore, the research revealed that current flood safety interventions could engender significant changes in the identified disaster cultures. Higher safety standards accompanied with the message that flood risk will be lowered to insignificant levels could affect the way these communities will perceive flooding as a threat—changing the way they integrate it into their public space through architecture or the presence of symbols, for instance. In our attempts at explaining the findings, we refer largely to concepts and ideas derived from disaster culture and technological culture conceptualizations.
Fenn Faber, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg
From Natural Hazards to Gradual Environmental Change: Climate Change Adaptation in Forestry
There are three issues with the organizational response of state forest administrations concerning climate change impacts. First, the goal of long-term sustainable forest management and the irreducible complexity and unpredictability of ecosystems leads to a fundamental uncertainty. Second, the anticipation of natural hazards (e.g., storms, pests, and forest fires) and gradual environmental change (future growth conditions for trees) represents a challenge for forest managers. Third, forest administrations are socially embedded in the sense that they are confronted with heterogeneous expectations from dynamic environments.
Hence, despite a growing scientific consensus concerning long-term climate change scenarios, forest administrations seem overburdened with the complexity and uncertainty concerning climate change adaptation measures. The main interest of my research project lies at the interface between ambiguous organizational practices and contradictory, complex, and uncertain knowledge concerning climate change adaptation at the regional level.
In my case study of German state forest administrations, I focus on social practices of problem-solving performances and processes. Along with DiMaggio and Powell, I assume that regional forest administrations absorb uncertainty by adopting solutions (e.g., working tools such as risk maps) from other forest administrations whose response, when faced with the same problem, is considered legitimate within the forestry community (institutional isomorphism).
Based on qualitative (32 expert interviews with directors and heads of departments) and quantitative (national online survey among 1,019 district foresters) data, I argue that—instead of being considered an obstacle to long-term planning—the acceptance of uncertainty leads to the understanding of planning as a creative process, enabling a variety of solutions. To avoid maladaptation, forest administrations should facilitate more and better organizational dialogue regarding the development of adaptive capacity. Climate change adaptation strategies and decision support tools should thus be understood as starting points rather than conclusions.
June Gin, VA Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Angela Cohen, VA Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Diana Naranjo, VA Emergency Management Evaluation Center
A Safety Net for Homeless Veterans: Disaster Preparedness in Homeless Housing Providers
Homelessness is particularly endemic among veterans, who comprise one in six of all homeless individuals in the United States. Mental illness, substance use disorders, PTSD, and medical issues are particularly prevalent among homeless veterans. Such conditions are likely to exacerbate the disruptive effects of a disaster, which can trigger symptoms or disrupt efforts toward recovery, particularly if trusted support systems are not available afterwards.
Transitional housing programs constitute a safety net for homeless veterans, who often have limited resources to undertake preparedness actions themselves. These programs are likely to play an essential role in providing for the mental health and support, sheltering and evacuation, and disaster information needs of clients during a disaster. However, little prior work (Ritchie et al. 2008 is an exception) has been done on the preparedness of human service providers and the disaster resilience of homeless housing services is unknown.
This pilot study documents disaster preparedness activities in non-profit organizations that provide transitional housing for homeless veterans. Preliminary data will be presented from interviews with leadership and staff of six non-profit housing providers in Los Angeles County, focusing on concerns about providing services during disaster. The data will also include an analysis of organization emergency plans.
The study identifies disaster vulnerabilities in safety net housing and support services for homeless veteran clients. The study examines three components of preparedness: (1) organizations’ ability to protect staff and client life safety; (2) their ability to restore key services and continue housing residents; and (3) their connectedness to partners and viability as a community disaster resource. It will also identify ways that the VA, as a partner and funder, can develop policies to support disaster preparedness, continued operations, and collaboration for organizations housing homeless veterans.
Organizational and Community Transformations after a Catastrophic Event
The purpose of this study was to understand the phenomena of how the future emerged for systems that underwent deep structure dissolution. The research brought to light what lessons and opportunities crises might offer in the journey to create a more sustainable world.
Due to extreme climate variability, toxins, and the depletion of natural resources, the lives of a growing number of people are being affected by planetary disaster. These incidents force a departure from what is known and taken for granted, and require us to make our way to a substantively different future. The study provided a platform to explore evolutionary change theory as well as a way to view the role of innovation as a herald of the future during social, economic, and cultural upheaval.
Using transcendental phenomenology, the inquiry’s research design engaged participants in retelling their organization’s or community’s story about meeting transformative crises caused by floods and tornadoes. Five organizations and communities were interviewed. Through the voice of one or two representative leaders from each group, the study explored the nature and meaning of these occurrences.
The outcome of the study supported previous research findings that crisis and uncertainty can provide the energy and urgency necessary to dissolve old, dominant ways of being and simultaneously allow new ways of organizing life to emerge. Key findings demonstrate that crisis drives increased, multi-directional information flow, thus creating more permeable communication boundaries. As a system goes in search of information to support decision making, it considers the value of various innovations to meet its goals. Innovation adoption, whether in beliefs, practices, or technologies, serves as a natural selection mechanism that defines and helps to steer systems toward the future. Conversely, outcomes indicated that when a dominant paradigm is sufficiently strong it will reassert itself, thus inhibiting innovation and transformation.
Dana Greene, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
¿Se Habla Español? High Impact Weather Warnings and the Hispanic/Latino Population in the United States: A Neglected but Important Vulnerable Population
Presently, the U.S. National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issue severe weather watches and warnings for designated areas within a polygon of risk (for tornadoes, etc.), and sends out alerts using the national emergency broadcast system. While these alerts are extremely important when received, they must be both received and understood.
Given these concerns, this paper seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of high-impact weather warnings for tornadoes in the demographically diverse eight-county Research Triangle region in North Carolina. More specifically, this paper evaluates the impact of severe weather warning reception, understandability (risk perception), and response among the Spanish-speaking Hispanic and Latino population—a unique demographic, given that warnings are presently only issued in English.
Because of this unique language barrier in our national weather warning alert system, Spanish-speaking populations remain more vulnerable than other populations because of their location in the region, the type of work that they do (largely agricultural), and their lack of knowledge about imminent severe weather threats. Given that many in this demographic do not speak English fluently and thus might not understand that a tornado has been spotted, may not own weather radios or be within range of a television on which an English language alert is being sounded, and may not perceive themselves to be at risk because their specific community is not included or named in the forecast polygon, the Spanish-speaking population in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina remains a significantly vulnerable population.
NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation Web site provides user-friendly information for individuals in the United States to better understand high-impact weather forecasts and warnings. While advanced Doppler radar technology works well to predict the storms, what cannot be predicted is the social response to the information and to the storms or adverse weather conditions.
Tracking Housing Recovery in Galveston after Hurricane Ike
As the impact of natural hazards increases, particularly in coastal areas experiencing rapid urbanization, it is critical to understand how coastal communities recover after disasters. Hurricane Ike made landfall in September 2008 near Galveston, Texas. It is one of the most costly hurricanes to strike the United States. Since then, housing recovery has started in different forms.
The goal of this paper is to display the geographic pattern of housing recovery in Galveston and examine the relationship of this pattern with location and socio-economic attributes of the households and the pre-disaster condition of the structures.
Some of the main concerns include:
• How has the recovery proceeded in respect to changes in overall damage to structures and state of repair?
• How is the spatial distribution of recovery proceeding?
• How has spatial distribution of households and land and improvement values changed during the recovery period?
• Is there spatial continuity in household income and land and improvement values in the Ike-hit area?
• How has the housing recovery process affected housing development patterns in Galveston?
The main strategy used to answer these questions is GIS analysis, which provides a set of tools that includ spatial join, raster analysis, geostatistical analysis, and interpolation. These enabled researchers to join the survey data on Galveston housing recovery and damage assessments since 2008 with updated maps of the area and look for patterns in a longitudinal and spatial comparison.
Findings from this analysis indicate there is more continuity in median income spatial distribution in the study area than in land and improvement values. The most severe damage in 2008 occurred in relatively low-income areas and lowest damage in various ranges of income areas. While the most damaged homes were located in Bolivar Peninsula, in 2008 majority of the parcels with ongoing repair were located in Galveston Island, but in 2010 and 2011 there is a balance between Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula.
Kevin Heslin, VA Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Brinda Venkatesh, VA Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Using Disasters to Help Veterans: Team Rubicon Reports from the Field
Military personnel are often trained to provide first aid and frontline trauma care in combat. This expertise can be useful for responding to disasters in civilian settings. This type of service could also provide a sense of purpose and camaraderie to veterans, many of whom reportedly feel uprooted and alienated after returning to civilian society.
Team Rubicon is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides a unique opportunity to describe the impact of disaster response work on veteran morale and reintegration. The organization deploys response teams, consisting largely of veterans, to areas that are acutely affected by disasters, warfare, and other extreme events. The aim for this formative study was to describe how veterans perceive the possible therapeutic benefit of disaster and emergency response work.
We conducted a content analysis of approximately 350 pages of field notes submitted to TR headquarters by volunteers deployed on any of eight missions, using a combination of inductive and a priori themes identified in discussions with TR staff.
Results suggest that veterans derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from humanitarian aid work. In a representative quote, one veteran wrote in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, “I found a renewed sense of purpose for myself that had been missing since I separated from the [U.S. Marine Corps].”
Writing from Pakistan, another veteran described the “sense of community” he felt providing aid alongside local medical students, prompting him to comment critically on the more individualistic aspects of U.S. culture, and to conclude that he was “going to miss this type of life.” Appreciation for opportunities to practice and refine emergency management skills originally acquired in the military was also a highly prevalent theme in the notes. The benefits of deploying recently returned veterans in disaster and emergency response should be explored in future work.
Wesley Highfield, Texas A&M University
Walter Gillis Peacock, Texas A&M University
Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A&M University
Determinants and Characteristics of Damage in Single-Family Island Households from Hurricane Ike
Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston Island on September 13, 2008. Characterized more by storm surge than wind, its impact caused severe damage to homes located on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. Because of its diverse built, natural, and social environment, the island and peninsular study area are ideal sites to determine not only initial hurricane damage, but to examine the interactions of structural, geographic, and social characteristics.
Damage assessments are frequently employed following natural hazards and are an important tool in determining the physical effects of a hazard event to a community’s housing stock. However, the results of these assessments tend to be descriptive in nature and exclude hazard exposures, structural, and socioeconomic components. We focus on this shortcoming by analyzing damage assessment data with a host of additional variables in a multivariate statistical framework. Using a random sample of 1,500 single-family homes that were assessed for damage in December 2008, we address the following research question: What structural, socioeconomic, and spatial characteristics were the primary determinants of initial hurricane damage severity?
Notable results indicate the importance of structure elevation, a non-linear relationship with respect to the age of the structure, and social inequalities in the pattern of damage. This research highlights the critical importance of building codes, the consequences of changing development patterns, and the presence of inequitable housing impacts.
Hung-Chih Hung, National Taipei University
Yu-Ting Lu, National Taipei University
Adaptive Capacity to Climate Hazards on the Southwest Coast of Taiwan: The Potential Role of Social Capital and Participation
Climate change is expected to increase in frequency and in the intensity of climatic variability and extremes. Particularly, extreme weather events like severe typhoons and storms can have a heavy impact on life, property, and the livelihoods of communities in East Asia and Taiwan. Enhancing adaptive capacity to climate hazards is essential to guide the selection of mitigation policies and to reduce the vulnerability and losses to the impacts of climate change. There are several studies contributing to the identification of the determinants of adaptation, but little attention is paid to studies of social capital and participation dimensions of adaptation. This article develops a community-based adaptation model to examine the role of social capital and public participation factors in determining adaptation. Finally, we discuss the implication of our findings on adaptive capacity assessment and on efforts to promote adaptation through governmental intervention.
We developed a socio-cognitive model of household proactive adaptation to climate hazards that considers the psychological, social capital, and public participation aspects of adaptation. To illustrate the proposed methodology, a case study on the southwest coast of Taiwan is presented to identify the factors that affect the adaptation to climatic hazards. This study used a structured random sampling procedure to select respondents, and a total of 381 respondents were interviewed face-to-face. Moreover, we employed a Logit model to test the marginal effects of social capital and public participation factors on the probability of adopting adaptations.
Results support social capital and participation factors as key determinants of adaptation. The case study showed that social capital and participation factors improve the statistical power of the model of household adaptive behavior. Our findings suggest a well-defined model of residential decision making on adaptation, which has important implications for the assessment of vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity, as well as on policies to enhance household adaptive capacity to climate change.
Eliot Jennings, University of North Texas
User Acceptance of Technology: An Empirical Examination of Factors Leading to Adoption of Decision Support Technologies for Disaster Management
The primary objective of this research is to advance our understanding of technology acceptance and adoption in disaster response management. While numerous models of technology acceptance have been empirically tested in the information sciences literature, the studies have primarily focused on the private or for-profit sector. This study aims at filling this gap by advancing the field of technology acceptance and by focusing on public sector use of decision support technologies.
Specifically, this research asks what factors lead to the acceptance and adoption of decision support software (e.g., WebEOC and E-team) for disaster response management by emergency managers. Using the Venkatesh et al. (2003) unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model as a framework, the study will examine how performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions influence the intent to use technology in a disaster management setting by surveying city and county emergency managers in Texas.
An important contribution of this study draws upon public administration literature on collaboration and form of government to examine the influence of these factors on technology acceptance. Another contribution draws upon the disaster literature to understand how hazard threats and disaster history influence the acceptance of technology. In addition, the moderating influences of key demographic variables such as gender, age, and education will also be examined.
Federal Assistance and Post-Disaster Housing Recovery: Limitations and Opportunities for Large-Scale Disasters in Metropolitan Areas
Long-term assessments of post-disaster housing recovery show that U.S. federal assistance programs have produced mixed results. This is especially true in major disasters affecting large metropolitan areas where these programs have consistently disadvantaged low-income, minority, multi-family, and renter communities.
This paper identifies structural factors in disaster recovery policies and planning that contribute to uneven housing recovery outcomes. Evidence is distilled from long-term monitoring of the last two major disasters in U.S. metropolitan areas: the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles. Study findings indicate that federal programs are designed to rely on market mechanisms as the primary drivers of housing recovery. This market approach has led to net losses in affordable and low-income housing. Also, programs are designed to provide the minimal federal assistance necessary to maintain social order and restore pre-disaster conditions.
Long-term developmental opportunities in marginalized communities tend to be missed as program design and eligibility criteria are modified in ad hoc and reactive ways when crises emerge and additional needs are identified. Similarly, programs are not scalable and losses from large-scale disasters in metropolitan regions usually exceed budgeted amounts. Supplemental appropriations require congressional approval and usually become entangled in politics. These budget constraints result in underfunded programs and delays that put households with limited resources at a disadvantage.
Finally, assistance eligibility criteria favor single-family homeowners. Amounts disbursed are based on home value and property loss rather than on need or effect on recovery. As a result, low-income households, renters, and owners of rental units are left with limited assistance options. Despite such limitations, and under specific circumstances, marginalized communities are able to circumvent obstacles and produce positive transformative outcomes. The paper draws recommendations from these findings to improve post-disaster housing recovery programs.
Suzanne King, McGill University
David Laplante, McGill University
Water and Ice: Using Natural Disasters to Study Prenatal Maternal Stress
Well controlled animal experiments suggest that maternal stress during pregnancy programs the fetus for a variety of developmental delays and illnesses. Little is known about the effects of prenatal maternal stress in humans, however. Because it would be unethical to randomly assign pregnant women to stress conditions, studying prenatal maternal stress in humans presents challenges to the researcher.
These can be overcome by taking advantage of naturally occurring stressors that distribute hardship in quasi-random fashion. Our research program addresses these research questions: (1) to what extent do objective hardship and subjective distress during pregnancy influence the cognitive, behavioral, physical and motor development of the unborn child; (2) are these effects moderated by the timing in pregnancy and the child’s sex; (3) what are the mechanisms of these effects; and (4) will more intensive prenatal care buffer these effects.
We are running three studies of pregnant women exposed to natural disasters. In each, we identified pregnant women within weeks of the disaster onset and assessed objective exposure and subjective distress (PTSD symptoms). We then evaluated pregnancy outcomes, and the cognitive, behavioral, motor, and physical development of the children. We began Project Ice Storm in Quebec in 1998. The Iowa Flood Study began in 2008 and added pre-disaster data from an on-going study of pregnant women. The QF2011 Queensland Flood Study in Australia began last year and included pre-trauma data on pregnant women, a pre-existing randomized controlled trial of two prenatal care programs, plus birth biological specimens that will reveal the mechanisms of action of prenatal stress in humans.
We will give the background rationale for the research program, the methods of the three studies, and a sampling of results. Our studies demonstrate strong and long-lasting effects of prenatal stress on outcomes such as IQ, language, memory, anxiety, coordination, and risk for obesity in children.
The Neighborhood Housing Recovery Gap after Natural Disasters
This paper shows the housing recovery gap among three New Orleans neighborhoods—Holy Cross, Gentilly Woods, and Lakeview—after Hurricane Katrina. The research question is: What are the factors that form neighborhood housing recovery gaps, speed, and property sales at the neighborhood level after natural disaster?
The goal of the research is to clarify the mechanism for housing recovery. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 have similarities—including long-lasting flooding, extensively affected areas, long-term survivor evacuation, and extensive destruction of the built environment—so there are similar challenges for post-disaster recovery planning and housing recovery. These similarities mean that Japan can learn from the response to Hurricane Katrina.
The author conducted household rebuilding survey for approximately 1,500 properties in three neighborhoods in September 2009 and September 2010. The housing recovery situation is classified as rebuild, under-construction, abandoned, and vacant lot. The most distinctive trend is that the percentage of the rebuild category in all neighborhoods was almost the same at 50 percent, but that there were significant differences in the percentage of abandoned and vacant lots in 2009.
The author points out several factors implicated in neighborhood housing rebuilding status gap, such as property values, the lack of options for selling property, individual income, home ownership, and so on. The percentage of annual change is low, however, and there is a wide gap in terms of progress of housing rebuilding and home sales. The latter indicates turnover in residents. Neighborhoods without declining numbers of blighted properties and with more vacant lots were found to indicate a future widening disparity among neighborhoods.
Challenges with Integrating Official and Crowdsourced Crisis Information
New opportunities and challenges are arising as members of the public use pervasive information and communication technologies (ICTs), including social media and networking platforms, to help in the immediate aftermath of major disasters. ICT-enabled citizens are increasingly becoming voluntary sensors who can contribute valuable geographic information to the scientific documentation of disasters as well as directly influence emergency management operations.
As we have increasingly easy access to the ever flowing streams of content online, how can crisis data from government agencies, satellite imagery companies, volunteer technical communities, disaster-affected populations, and the general public be integrated to better facilitate emergency response, recovery, and mitigation efforts?
This paper presents the opportunities and challenges with integrating official and crowdsourced crisis information based on the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake—the tipping point for crowdsourcing and social media use in the crisis domain. The initial exploratory phase of this research employs ethnographic methods of interviewing different stakeholders, as well as observing and participating in multi-stakeholder meetings (e.g., disaster exercises, trainings, and experiments). Approximately 80 informal interviews have already been conducted.
The next phase of this research employs other human-computer interaction design methods that involve data mining, visualizing, and prototyping to develop proof-of-concepts of how to best integrate official and crowdsourced geographic information to provide timely and accurate maps for different stakeholders. The primary intent of this research is to strengthen cross-agency collaborations between official emergency management stakeholders and the volunteer technical communities by addressing the geospatial data sharing challenges at the social, technological, organizational, and political interfaces.
Michelle Meyer Lueck, Colorado State University
Calvin Whitman, Colorado State University
Hurricanes and the Elderly: The Role of Social Networks in Age-Related Vulnerability
Elderly individuals are widely considered at elevated risk in disaster because of increased health concerns, fewer economic resources, and reduced social capital. Social capital resources can be especially important in counteracting health and economic vulnerability to disaster impacts by increasing the likelihood of learning of disaster warning information, assisting with preparation and evacuation, and recovering after an event by providing financial or nonfinancial assistance.
Based on analyses of the first two years of a three-year panel study of residents along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, this paper addresses the relationship between age and indicators of disaster vulnerability with specific attention to social capital. Specifically, we developed indicators of disaster-specific social capital and describe how elderly and non-elderly respondents compare and contrast on these indicators and then discuss the effect of social capital and elderly status on preparedness and perceived barriers to evacuation.
Our results indicate that elderly respondents have different forms of social capital and that these resources affect preparedness activities undertaken, as well as the self-reported barriers to hurricane evacuation. We conclude that our results further illustrate that the effect of age on disaster risk and recovery is about more than age itself. Instead vulnerability relates to the social and economic circumstances that commonly correspond with age.
Who's at the Table? Examining Factors Driving Incorporation of Land Use Approaches in Hazard Mitigation Plans
Climate change is expected to exacerbate long-term hazard risks. Creating resilient communities requires reductions in hazard risks. National consensus studies identify land use as a highly effective approach for risk reduction. Passage of the Disaster Mitigation Act (DMA) of 2000 created an inter-governmental policy framework requiring state and local governments to adopt hazard mitigation plans to be eligible for certain federal disaster funds.
Networks of stakeholders develop mitigation plans through planning processes typically led by emergency managers and sometimes involving local planners.
This framework offers an outstanding opportunity to examine factors leading to greater incorporation of land use approaches into mitigation plans. Recent work finds DMA mitigation plan quality is mediocre in general, but variable.
Three main types of factors drive mitigation plan quality: state planning policy context, local community characteristics, and planning process features. This paper’s central research question is: Does inclusion of local planners in mitigation planning networks lead to incorporation of more land use approaches in mitigation plans, controlling for these three types of factors? Ordinary least squares and Poisson regression models predict incorporation of land use approaches using data from content analysis of 175 local mitigation plans, the Institute of Business and Home Safety, the Public Entity Research Institute Presidential Declaration database, and the U.S. Census.
Preliminary findings indicate local planners are positively associated with incorporation of more land use approaches into mitigation plans, but the association varies across three principles of plan quality (i.e., fact base, policies, and implementation). Planners appear to be most important for the future-oriented policies and implementation principles. The findings suggest federal and state mitigation officials should foster greater linkages between local emergency managers and planners to promote long-term risk reduction. These results could be relevant to emerging climate adaptation planning efforts.
Applying the Concept of People-Centered Housing Recovery: Focus on Transition
Post-disaster housing reconstruction has a significant impact on the ability of survivors to regain stability in their lives, which is the ultimate goal of disaster recovery. The concept of people-centered housing recovery combines factors of housing forms, policy, and process toward general principles of housing reconstruction that are accountable to residents and matches their living environment needs.
As defined in this paper, people-centered housing recovery has many similarities and overlaps with other concepts applied in housing reconstruction, including owner-driven reconstruction and resident participation. It also shares the goals of transitional housing. Within the housing recovery process, the transition between phases of temporary to permanent housing plays a crucial role, and the form and design of the housing itself contributes to the success or failure of the rehousing process.
This paper discusses several recovery projects that incorporate an aspect of transitional housing along with a focus on the design of the housing form itself. One is an expandable core house used in rural areas of Yogyakarta after the Central Java Earthquake in 2006. Another is the temporary-to-permanent Mississippi Cottage used several years after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in the United States. These two examples are very different in terms of form and process, and are situated within completely different cultural and recovery contexts.
Currently, Japan is facing a reconstruction project on a massive scale in the Tohoku region after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Core houses or Mississippi Cottages might not be appropriate models to replicate in Japan, which has a firmly established policy of two-step temporary housing. However, by considering these international reconstruction approaches within the larger concept of people-centered recovery, it is possible that relevant comparisons or useful directions in housing recovery may emerge.
Maggie Nelan, University of Delaware
Tricia Wachtendorf, University of Delaware
Aging Populations and Anticipated Compliance with Hurricane Evacuation Warnings
Previous research has shown elderly or aging populations are vulnerable in disasters. It is important to understand the views and predicted practices of this population in a hurricane. A telephone survey of 278 North Carolina residents was conducted by the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware to research evacuation and sheltering practices in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane.
The survey was conducted from February 23 to July 26, 2011. The population surveyed was comprised primarily of females and the mean age of the population was 57 years. Focusing on the aging population (i.e., over 60 years of age), we analyzed the relationship between predicted evacuation behaviors in different categories of storms and hurricanes, while controlling for their previous hurricane experience, gender, income, and education level. Preliminary findings show that there is a negative relationship between age and predicted compliance with a mandatory evacuation. The outcome of this study will contribute to a better understanding of the evacuation behaviors of the aging population.
Performance Measurement and Collaborative Responses to Natural Disasters
Various literature has confirmed the profound importance of collaborative management as a means to ensure effective societal responses to natural hazards and disasters. In practice, few empirical studies investigate outcomes of collaborative governance in this domain. This lack of research can be partially attributed to multiple theoretical and methodological challenges that need to be addressed to enable evaluation and improvement of collaborative responses to natural hazards and disasters.
Taking on these challenges, this paper asks what empirical indicators can be used to evaluate the performance of collaborations in natural disaster management? The paper answers this question in three steps. First, it conducts a review of relevant literature—including public administration, crisis and disaster management, and collaborative public management—to identify current strands of theory and practice relevant to the evaluation of collaborative emergency management. The literature review explores prior empirical research of collaborative management in relation to natural hazards and disasters.
Second, the paper builds from the review to develop an integrated analytical framework for performance measurement in this specific context. The framework acknowledges the importance of including network and client-level outcomes and usage of subjective and objective measures. Third, the paper assesses comparative strengths and weaknesses of the framework using data from local-level collaborations in Sweden. The concluding section discusses how evaluation of collaborative responses might improve hazards and disaster management more generally through processes of learning and change.
Laurie Pearce, Royal Roads University
Simulation Training and Exercise Collaboratory (SIMTEC): Enhancing CBRNE Psychosocial Capacity and Capability Management
Unaddressed, the psychosocial consequences of working in crisis situations can increase the risk of adverse health outcomes, post-traumatic stress, and exacerbate economic and social disruption. Despite potential costs, psychosocial consequence management is rarely systematically or comprehensively addressed in exercise training or acknowledged as a critical component of effective disaster leadership and decision making.
This research project is multi-faceted and includes: the development of a series of tabletop exercises including multi-media injects; psychosocial protocols for decontamination; a guide for family physicians for treating traumatized victims of mass casualty incidents (MCI); provision of forensic psychosocial interventions at the scene of MCIs; and an assessment and guide for the provision of psychosocial interventions in an emergency operation center (EOC) over a four-year time frame. All EOC exercises are taped and the research methodology involves using NVivo 9 to thematically code the transcripts and record the visual analyses (e.g., body language) from these exercises. Coding was carried out for a number of decision making possibilities and for recognition of psychosocial considerations.
This presentation will present the preliminary findings based on the running of a pilot and test exercise involving seven community EOC teams. It also includes results from five focus group sessions that were held following the exercise and individual interviews conducted with EOC participants from two communities.
The project is funded by the CBRNE Research and Technology Initiative led by Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science and our project champion is Health Canada’s Employee Assistance Services.
Where Did Federal Pre-Disaster Natural Hazard Mitigation Go? An Analysis of Changes in Hazard Mitigation Since September 11, 2001, from a Local Government Perspective
Since the Clinton administration left office, pre-disaster hazard mitigation at the federal level has changed from high-profile to low-priority initiatives. Despite research from the Multihazard Mitigation Council, which determined that for each dollar spent before a disaster on mitigation activities there are $4 saved after a disaster, there has been a decreasing emphasis at the federal level on promoting pre-disaster hazard mitigation activities. This presentation will examine the history leading up to and the decline of federal pre-disaster hazard mitigation activities since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States and evaluate the effects of these changes on disaster mitigation from a local government perspective.
This presentation will also provide recommendations as to how to increase hazard mitigation activities to reduce post-event expenditures funded by taxpayer dollars. This presentation will draw from research performed by students from the University of Charleston Master of Public Administration Capstone Course, as well as research and observations from local government administrators with a combined 68 years of experience in hazard mitigation-related fields.
The Effects of Flood Warning in Household Adoption of Protective Actions—A Southern Taiwan Case Study
Typhoons are a major threat to Taiwan. Every year, heavy rain, along with typhoons cause considerable financial losses, but loss of human lives is rarely critical. Typhoons Morakot and Fanapi flooded southern Taiwan in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The 2009 event caused 677 casualties, partially because of unwillingness to evacuate. The year after the catastrophe, emergency managers issued extensive warnings and evacuation orders before typhoon strikes. Nevertheless, very limited local actions were taken. This research examines how risk communication affects household adoption of protective actions, specifically evacuation, during floods.
This study surveyed 12 communities affected in both events. Among 2,034 randomly selected households, 561 samples completed the written questionnaires. The analysis adopts structural equation modeling in constructing a causal model.
The findings reveal that wealthier households feel less threatened. However, they also devoted more resources to hazard preparedness. Household hazard experiences from previous events are negatively associated with their perceived risks. The findings showed that people realized flooding generally causes limited damages and is seldom a major threat. If a household has spare resources, it carried out more hazard preparedness activities, although still less than ideal.
Overall, past experience is the best predictor for adopting adjustment activities. The experiences from previous events could translate into future adoption of protective action. Risk communication ranks second. If warning and hazard information are disseminated through multiple sources and channels, and if households trust these sources before impacts, they are more likely to take safety measures. Local emergency managers should introduce potential information sources to local households and construct social linkage between residents and information sources before flooding events.
Yoko Saito, Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution
Gender Perspective and Evacuation Center Management after the Great East Japan Earthquake
The Great East Japan Earthquake, which hit a wide area of northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, was unprecedented in scale and in nature. A subsequent tsunami hit the Tohoku region along the pacific coast of Japan and washed away many towns and communities, resulting in a massive loss of life and property. Immediately after the disaster, massive efforts were made to get basic needs to the affected people in the area. There were hundreds of thousands of evacuation centers. Although the Bureau of Gender Equality Cabinet Office issued an ordinance on “disaster response based on the needs of women and women with children” to related agencies on March 16, 2011, a gender perspective was not sufficiently considered at evacuation centers.
The concept of a gender perspective in disaster varies from immediate to longer term. Since the rehabilitation process is still going on in the affected area, this research focuses on a gender perspective in emergency evacuation center management. The author reviewed materials on the emergency response for gender issues at different levels, interviewed several women who were accommodated in evacuation shelters, and also interviewed organizations that supported management of evacuation centers to evaluate how and why a gender perspective was overlooked.
The author found that privacy for evacuated women was rarely secured at many evacuation shelters. It was uncomfortable for women to stay at evacuation centers that had only low partitions made of cardboard. Fixed gender-specific roles in society were reinforced after the disaster. This placed too much of a burden on women at the evacuation centers. Lastly, this paper recommends that a gender perspective in disaster must be discussed during non-disaster times. It is too late to start advocating a gender perspective in times of emergency.
A Countrywide Local Emergency: Canadian Communities Tackle the Spanish Flu
In the autumn of 1918, a second deadly wave of pandemic influenza came to Canada from the United States. In 1918 and 1919, there was no federal health department in Canada and only one province—New Brunswick—had a minister of health. In addition, the flu moved from east to west so quickly that it struck most communities at the same time. As a result mutual aid became almost impossible. Local communities had to cope on their own. The flu, in other words, became a countrywide local emergency.
In 1918 there was no emergency planning of any kind for a disease outbreak. That is no longer true, but a review of what happened in 1918 suggests that some of the solutions that worked then may not work today.
States and Issues for Post-Disaster Relocating Reconstruction: The Case of the Morakot Typhoon in 2009
When the public sector handles extensive reconstruction, establishing and fulfilling proper policies in a timely manner is difficult. From August 6-8, 2009, the Morakot Typhoon damaged southern Taiwan. The Executive Yuan issued the Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Special Act and built permanent housing for survivors of the typhoon in cooperation with the private sector.
In this study, we focused on post-disaster relocation policy after Morakot to discuss the policies of relocation and reconstruction by linking with public and private sectors. The purpose is to make the status and issues of relocation and reconstruction in these communities clear.
A literature review and field surveys and interviews with residents and public and private sectors were conducted. To analyze the feedback and opinions, Johari Window theory was applied. Three communities are selected where nongovernmental organizations did the reconstruction.
The research found that the reconstruction plan was implemented using concepts of disaster mitigation and promotes relocating reconstruction by cooperating with private sectors to construct permanent housings in several sites. However, in order to succeed and to operate the relocation program smoothly, we must communicate with residents, mitigate the difficulties of relocation, and carefully monitor and evaluate the relocation program.
Laura Siebeneck, University of North Texas
Sudha Arlikatti, University of North Texas
Simon Andrew, University of North Texas
Kraiwuth Jaikampan, University of North Texas
Assessing Resilience Among Rural, Suburban, and Urban Communities Following the Thailand Floods
The focus of this Rapid Response Research is to examine differences in community resilience among rural, suburban, and urban communities in Thailand following the 2011 flood. Community resilience, or the ability of a community to recover from a disaster event, has garnered widespread attention by scholars and community leaders alike. Guided by Cutter’s Disaster of Place model, we examine disparities in community resilience in the provinces of Pathum Thani (rural), Ayutthaya (suburban), and Bangkok (urban).
This research emphasizes multi-sector organization attributes and relationships that aid in building community capacities during the transition from short-term to long-term recovery. Our presentation highlights preliminary results of semi-structured interviews of key public, private, and nonprofit organizations in these three provinces. We examine how this information provides insights into economic, social, and institutional capacities before, during, and after the flood.
Social Vulnerability Indices: A Comparative Assessment Using Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis
Social vulnerability indices have emerged over the past decade as quantitative measures of the social dimensions of natural hazards vulnerability. But how reliable are the index rankings? This presentation details the use of global sensitivity analyses to internally validate the methods used in the most common social vulnerability index designs: deductive, hierarchical, and inductive.
Uncertainty analysis is performed to assess the robustness of index ranks when reasonable alternative index configurations are modeled. Across three study areas, the hierarchical design was found to be the most accurate, while the inductive model was the most precise. Sensitivity analysis is employed to understand which decisions in the vulnerability index construction process have the greatest influence on the stability of output rankings. The deductive index ranks are found to be the most sensitive to the choice of transformation method, hierarchical models to the selection of weighting scheme, and inductive indices to the indicator set and scale of analysis.
Specific recommendations for each stage of index construction are provided so that the next generation of social vulnerability indices can be developed with a greater degree of transparency, robustness, and reliability.
Craig Trumbo, Colorado State University
Lori Peek, Colorado State University
Brian McNoldy, Colorado State University
Wayne Schubert, Colorado State University
Eve Gruntfest, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Holly Marlatt, Colorado State University
Michelle Meyer Lueck, Colorado State University
A Multidimensional Examination of Hurricane Preparedness and Evacuation Intention
This study provides a multidimensional look at the conditions that affect preparedness for hurricanes and behavioral intention to evacuate from a major storm. First, we are examining how social factors such as community resilience, vulnerability, evacuation barriers, socio-economics, and disabilities affect orientation toward hurricane preparedness and intention to evacuate.
We are also examining how hurricane risk perception and optimistic bias affect intention to evacuate from a major storm. The first two of three waves of data collection for this project were accomplished via mail surveys. The study participants were sampled from within a 10-mile coastal buffer running from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Brownsville, Texas. The first wave of data collection was conducted in July 2010 (n=653, 56 percent adjusted rate). The second panel wave was conducted in June 2011 (n=450, 72 percent adjusted rate for panelist retention).
Findings indicate that risk perception can be seen as both an affective and cognitive orientation of the individual. We also examine optimistic bias for hurricane preparedness and evacuation and find that it is a related but independent factor. Also, we find that households whose members have disabilities, are female, or that have limited confidence in community resilience are associated with greater levels of hurricane risk perception. Disabilities in the household, less hurricane experience, and fewer evacuation barriers (e.g., work- or family-related, transportation) are associated with a greater intention to evacuate from a major storm. Preparedness is moderately predicted by a number of variables including risk perception.
Mapping Social Vulnerability to Enhance Housing and Neighborhood Resilience
Social factors influence the ability of coastal communities and their populations to anticipate, respond, resist, and recover from disasters. Galveston, Texas, offers a unique opportunity to test the efficacy of social vulnerability mapping to identify inequalities in the ways that different parts of the community might react to a disaster. We describe spatial patterns of social vulnerability before Hurricane Ike in 2008 and compare them to outcomes related to response, impact, recovery resources, and early stages of the rebuilding.
Households and neighborhoods identified using vulnerability mapping experienced negative outcomes: later evacuation, a greater degree of damage sustained, fewer private and public resources for recovery, and slower and lower volumes of repair and rebuilding activity. Findings support using community vulnerability mapping as a tool for emergency management, hazard mitigation, and disaster recovery planning to help communities reduce losses and enhance response and recovery, thereby strengthening community resilience and reducing inequalities.
Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A&M University
Walter Gillis Peacock, Texas A&M University
Dustin Henry, Texas A&M University
Sonja Willems, Texas A&M University
Post-Disaster Population Estimates
By disrupting “normal” forces of population change, natural disasters complicate the process used to develop population estimates for cities and counties. Accurate population estimates are critical for establishing a strong fact base by which sound plans can be made. These estimates are the basis for a multitude of planning and decision-making activities, including regulating water usage, creating land use plans, establishing market areas, generating health care plans, etc. However, no commonly available approach exists for making post-disaster population estimates. Most appropriate is the housing unit method, but it relies on high quality local data sources, which can be difficult to find in the aftermath of a major disaster. For example, pre-existing data related to occupancy rates, average household sizes, and even the number of dwelling units are severely compromised.
Using Galveston, Texas, as a living laboratory, we develop a rigorous method sensitive to the unique development patterns of the city. We assess available data sources, including American Community Survey data, U.S. Postal Service data, and city data in terms of validity and reliability to determine the most accurate approach for creating a population estimate. Where secondary data sources were found to be lacking, we identify primary data sources and develop strategies for data collection. The resulting estimate produced the most accurate and reliable post-disaster picture of the Galveston population available at that time.
Understanding Tornado Warning and Watch
In the United States, the National Weather Service is the agency responsible for releasing weather forecasts and warnings to the public to encourage them to take appropriate actions protect life and property. To this aim, the tornado “watch” and “warning” messages consist of two parts: the level of threat and the protective action required.
The literature on the understanding of tornado watch and warning is controversial. In fact, while many studies state that people have a good understanding of the terms, others disagree with this view. Reasons for such inconsistency are due to both the method of eliciting responses and to the exclusive focus on the threat level denoted by each term.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate understanding of tornado watch and warning by focusing on both the threat and action parts of the message—examining whether or not differences in the understanding of tornado watch and warning exist by gender, race, age, and level of education and whether or not there is association between understanding tornado watch and warning and protective behavior.
The study relies on a survey developed through the use of a Random Digit Dial Sample and a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview system focused on protective action decision making in counties affected by a severe storm or tornado warning. Findings reveal that few people fully understand tornado watch (2.5 percent) and warning (8.6 percent), mainly defining the terms according to the level of threat. Interesting differences in the understanding of tornado watch and warnings also have been found by gender, race, age, and education.
Hao-Che Wu, Texas A&M University
Michael Lindell, Texas A&M University
Carla Prater, Texas A&M University
Charles Samuelson, Texas A&M University
Effects of Hurricane Track and Threat Information on Judgments of Strike Probability
Although evacuation is one of the best strategies to protect citizens from hurricane threat, the ways that local officials use hurricane data in deciding whether to issue hurricane evacuation orders is not well understood. To begin to address this problem, we examined the effects of hurricane track and intensity information in a laboratory setting where participants judged the probability that hypothetical hurricanes with a constant bearing (i.e., straight line forecast track) would make landfall in each of eight 45 degree sectors around the Gulf of Mexico.
The results from 162 participants from an introductory psychology subject pool showed that the judged strike probability distributions over the eight sectors within each scenario were unimodal and centered on the sector toward which the forecast track pointed. Moreover, although strike probability judgments for the sector in the direction of the forecast track were generally higher than the corresponding judgments for the other sectors, the latter were not zero.
In addition, there were no appreciable differences in the patterns of strike probability judgments for hurricane tracks that were represented by a forecast track only, an uncertainty cone only, or a forecast track with an uncertainty cone. The study results suggest that people are able to correctly process basic information about hurricane tracks but they do make some errors, so more research is needed to understand the sources of these errors and to identify better methods of displaying uncertainty about hurricane parameters.
Yu Xiao, Texas A&M University
Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A&M University
Building Community Resiliency: Spatial Links between Households and Businesses in Post-Disaster Recovery
Rapid urbanization along the world’s coasts is exposing greater numbers of households to more frequent and severe natural and man-made disasters. Rather than being an exception, disasters often magnify or accelerate pre-existing relationships acting within our urban areas. Knowledge gained from disaster situations can provide insight into larger urban forces and play a role in developing and prescribing policies that influence the creation of more resilient communities.
We explore the interdependency of households and businesses in post-disaster recovery following Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas, in 2008. Households provide labor to businesses and consume goods and services from businesses. Interruption to one will affect the other. Geocoded data from 980 households and 145 businesses collected in the months after the storm allowed us to spatially correlate household and business dislocation, controlling for damage. Findings suggest that the reopening of businesses can influence household decisions to return to their homes.
Lee Zelewicz, University of Delaware
Richard Stansfield, University of Delaware
Tricia Wachtendorf, University of Delaware
When There is Fear of the Shelter from the Storm: Gender, Fear of Crime, and Hurricane Shelter Decision Making
Concepts generated by the criminological study of fear of crime, though not heavily used in previous research on public evacuation shelters, could offer insight into the use of these facilities. In this study, we focus on the fear of victimization, its relationship with gender, and its potential to impact the anticipated use of public shelters during hurricane events.
From a survey of 278 North Carolina residents, 116 of the respondents described some safety concerns with respect to staying in a public shelter. The interview responses suggest that concern of victimization is the most commonly identified safety concern influencing anticipated shelter use, significantly more so than concerns related to sanitation or structural integrity. While issues related to lack of trust are the most commonly cited reason for people feeling unsafe in a public shelter, 13 percent of all women respondents described fear of violent and sexual crimes in public shelters. Importantly, these women represent 95 percent of respondents who expressed fear of violent and sexual crimes in public shelters.
We draw into our analysis literature examining the relationship between fear of crime and gender as we explore the implications of the results on planning for disaster events. Past disaster research has suggested that females experience a higher level of fear for personal safety in disaster scenarios. Gender is a fundamental organizing principal in disasters, with differing social vulnerabilities for women and men. By directly addressing public evacuation shelters we hope to expand our understanding of an important U.S. disaster setting by bridging research of fear of crime and gender within the context of disasters.
Jun Zhuang, State University of New York at Buffalo
John Coles, State University of New York at Buffalo
Peiqiu Guan, State University of New York at Buffalo
Fei He, State University of New York at Buffalo
Xiaojun Shan, State University of New York at Buffalo
Strategic Interactions in Disaster Preparedness and Relief in the Face of Man-Made and Natural Disasters
Society is faced with a growing amount of property damage and casualties from man-made and natural disasters. Developing societal resilience to those disasters is critical but challenging. In particular, societal resilience is jointly determined by federal and local governments, private and non-profit sectors, and private citizens.
We will present a sequence of games among players such as federal, local, and foreign governments, private citizens, and adaptive adversaries. In particular, the governments and private citizens seek to protect lives, property, and critical infrastructure from both adaptive terrorists and non-adaptive natural disasters. The federal government can provide grants to local governments and foreign aid to foreign governments to protect against both natural and man-made disasters. All levels of government can provide pre-disaster preparation and post-disaster relief to private citizens. Private citizens can also, of course, make their own investments.
The tradeoffs between protecting against man-made and natural disasters, specifically between preparedness and relief, efficiency and equity, and between private and public investment, will be discussed.