Poster Session Abstracts
Learning about Hurricane Evacuation through Traffic Data
Evacuation is one of the most effective and widely used tactics to protect people from hurricanes. Improved knowledge of the behavior of communities before, during, and after an evacuation can better support emergency planning and operations, making evacuations safer and more efficient. This work identifies ways to use traffic data to better understand evacuation behavior and to explore ways to integrate traffic data into evacuation planning and response.
Traffic data collected in Delaware before, during, and after Hurricane Irene in August 2011 using automated traffic counters is analyzed. The analysis shows that the majority of residents and visitors evacuated from the beach communities and the evacuation patterns are very similar to the traffic patterns experienced on summer weekends. Possible uses of traffic data for evacuation planning and operations are examined. Traffic data is useful in evacuation planning to understand how an evacuation compares with regular traffic demands.
In response operations, real-time traffic data can be useful to monitor evacuation progress and provide situational awareness for departments of transportation and emergency management agencies. Real-time traffic data is useful because it can provide relevant information, making use of existing infrastructure. During a disaster, traffic data can be difficult to use due to a lack of needed data and the time and resources required for analysis. Despite these challenges, traffic data can be used to better understand evacuation behavior both before and during an evacuation.
Eric Best, University of Delaware
Etornam Banini, University of Delaware
Michael Lopez, University of Delaware
Adam Orescan, University of Delaware
Shawn Reynolds, University of Delaware
Benigno Aguirre, University of Delaware
Sherif El-Tawil, University of Michigan
Introducing SocEvac: Open-source Building Evacuation Software with Advanced Group and Crowd Behavior Elements
Complementing our previous building evacuation models, we introduce the free open-source SocEvac software to the disaster studies community. SocEvac allows computer users to create models of almost any building layout and occupancy level and analyze model results in detail. Additionally, SocEvac software allows agents to have multifaceted social relationship bonds. This dynamic program accounts for changing crowd densities, social relationships, and group and individual motivations in hazardous environments.
A departure from previous building evacuation models, SocEvac is free to download and use. The source code is available for accountability, improvement, and customization by users. In order to make the program useful to a large audience studying building evacuations, coding experience is not required to build a floor plan, run a model, and output interpretable results. Pushing the boundaries of traditional proprietary building evacuation models, SocEvac tracks all agents as distinct individuals, allowing for levels of analysis not possible with more generalized models. A project page is maintained to provide program add-ons and improvements, customized floor plans submitted by users, support documents, and news about developments of the platform.
We believe that models should be powerful and accurate, but also accessible and accountable. It is our hope that SocEvac will inspire a new generation of model builders to publish simulation results that may be reproduced and analyzed by all interested parties.
Christine Bevc, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Matthew Simon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Milissa Markiewicz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jennifer Horney, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Julie Casani, North Carolina Division of Public Health
Public Health Preparedness Planning for Vulnerable and At-Risk Populations
Recently, at-risk populations have been incorporated into many of the Center for Disease Control’s new public health emergency preparedness capabilities, including community preparedness, emergency public information and warning, and medical countermeasure dispensing. The North Carolina Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has developed a quick online resource guide that provides a customized list of resources (with accompanying jurisdictional maps) to aide local health department preparedness planning for vulnerable and at-risk populations.
Following a series of questions, local health departments are provided a list of resources, along with a series of custom maps, to serve as a customized resource guide based on planning and preparedness needs identified through the questions. The tool is automated to allow the departments to get instant feedback without any lag time. In addition to collaborating with local, regional, and state public health officials, this study also incorporates the Social Vulnerability Index, developed by CDC’s Geographic Research, Analysis and Services Program.
This poster provides a summary of the online resource guide as well as feedback from local health departments since the project was developed. Ways in which this guide has aided health departments in their planning, assisted in forming public-private partnerships, and, more broadly, how they are addressing at-risk populations can be discussed. This research contributes to ongoing efforts for public health preparedness planning and training related to at-risk populations.
Two Years of Unprecedented Weather—Insights from Australia’s Record-Breaking Floods
Significant and widespread floods have hit every state and territory of Australia since mid-2010. These floods—particularly the flooding of the city of Brisbane in January 2011—made news around the world for their scale and impact. Australia is noted for its harsh climate and dramatic weather extremes, but the number and size of the floods between 2010 and 2012 are unlike any in recorded Australian history. From November 30, 2010, to February 28, 2011, 267 of Australia’s 571 local government areas were declared natural disaster zones due to flood. By September 2011, over 800,000 insurance claims had been lodged for damage caused by various natural disasters.
This poster will present a timeline of events and highlight some particular floods, including Emerald in Queensland and Benalla in Victoria, which flooded twice in less than six months. Special focus will be given to Brisbane, where approximately 22,000 properties across 94 suburbs were affected. Results from fieldwork in these three areas will be included, discussing the impact of the floods and risk awareness. It will also discuss some of the outcomes of the flood, including two state flood commissions, and federal investigation into flood insurance.
This poster will demonstrate some of the major concerns raised by multiple significant natural disasters, and will point to gaps in the knowledge and understanding of flood uncovered by these events.
Global Cascading Hazard Casualty Modelling: Earthquake-Triggered Landslides
Natural hazards are natural processes of the complex Earth system. They may interact with and affect each other, often resulting in an impact greater than might be expected from consideration of each hazard independently. A single hazard can trigger a subsequent, different hazard, such as earthquakes leading to landslides. The effect of such cascading hazards has recently become of interest in the research community.
Previous research has focused on single hazards in isolation, and even multihazard risk assessment currently does not account for the interaction between hazards. A key question of this research is whether people are more at risk during cascading hazard events than if the hazards involved had occurred in isolation and, if there is a difference, whether this difference can be quantified and predicted using casualty modeling.
In this paper, global earthquake and landslide casualty data were used to model cascading events to determine whether there is a significant increase in casualties and casualty rates in comparison with single hazard events. Results suggest a tentative increase in casualty rates during cascading events compared to single events. However, there is a weak correlation (R² = 0.22 and 0.18 respectively) between the number of casualties and earthquake magnitude for earthquake events and earthquakes leading to landslides events.
This suggests global datasets contain too much scatter to accurately predict casualty rates. Future research will analyze regional datasets to determine if there is a stronger relationship between casualties and earthquake magnitude at a more local scale.
Vulnerability of Jamaica’s Infrastructure to the Impact of Climate Change
Results from downscaling of global climate models show that Caribbean climate is changing and is expected to continue to change. Projections include increasing temperatures, variable rainfall, and more intense tropical cyclones. Where models predict more rainfall, the prediction is for a greater frequency of heavier events. These results suggest that roads and drainage systems will be affected by higher peak flows generated by increases in rainfall intensity. The country’s infrastructure is highly susceptible to damage, with as much as 80 percent of damage from some hydro-meteorological events resulting from damage to roads and drains. Critically, repeated repairs to damaged infrastructure drain government finances and impede development.
Initial analysis of rainfall data for 1988-2009 indicates an overall increase in 24-hour intensity for return periods from two years to 100 years. Vulnerability analysis of roads and drains suggests that between 57 percent and 77 percent of roads and between 49 percent and 83 percent of drains are susceptible to damage from increased rainfall intensity.
This paper summarizes current knowledge on climate change projections and infrastructure vulnerability for Jamaica and suggests that current approaches to physical planning and infrastructure design must be changed to reduce the vulnerability of infrastructure to hazards posed by a changing climate. Suggested changes include greater public involvement in planning decisions and community inputs into infrastructure design and maintenance.
Mental Health as an Influence on Disaster Preparedness: Findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey
People with poor mental health may be less prepared for disasters than those with good mental health. This relationship may differ depending upon geographic location. We examined state-level differences in the association between mental health and general preparedness among respondents to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.
Three states included the General Preparedness and Mental Illness modules in 2007 and 2009. Preparedness was defined as having a three-day supply of food, water, a flashlight and radio. Mental health was assessed using the Kessler-6, a measure of non-specific psychological distress. We explored differences across states in the association between psychological distress and preparedness. Data were analyzed using SPSS 19.0 accounting for complex sampling.
Louisiana respondents reported being least prepared (43.5 percent) compared to Mississippi and New Hampshire (56.5 and 57.2 percent, respectively, =307.96, p<.01). Mississippi respondents reported the highest prevalence of mental distress (5.5 percent) compared to Louisiana and New Hampshire (4.8 and 3.0 percent, respectively, =53.02, p<.01). After adjusting for potential confounders, there was a statistically significant difference in the association between the Kessler-6 measure and preparedness across states (interaction p-value<0.01). The strongest association was seen in New Hampshire (OR=0.940, 9 percent CI: 0.920,0.961) followed by Louisiana (OR=0.960, 95 percent CI: 0.946, 0.975) and Mississippi (OR=0.967, 95 percent CI: 0.955,0.980).
Mental health is associated with general preparedness. Although all states may benefit from focused preparedness activities within populations with poor mental health, the amount of benefit may differ across states. Emergency managers should emphasize preparedness efforts for individuals with poor mental health to increase individual and community preparedness.
Modeling the Dynamics of Agency—Agency Partnerships Before and Following Extreme Events
The recent earthquakes in Japan, Chili, 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. Our research models and analyzes 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 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, saving lives and property.
Protective-Action Triggers in Wildfires
This poster provides an overview of a novel decision aid that emergency managers use to formulate and recommend protective actions for the public in the face of an environmental threat like a wildfire.
Three key questions must be addressed in this context: (1) who should take action; (2) what is the best action; and (3) when should this action occur. As straightforward as these questions may seem, the stakes can be extremely high, and they are frequently addressed under time pressure and uncertainty.
The focus of this research is the "trigger points” technique, which is used by emergency managers to combine an event (e.g. time, place, condition) with a recommended protective action (e.g. evacuate, shelter-in-place, refuge shelter) for a threatened subpopulation, such that the action is recommended if the event occurs. Despite the wide use of triggers in diverse disaster contexts, from wildfires to hurricanes, little is known about the nature of how they are identified, formulated, and set by decision makers.
Triggers, however, can provide a valuable framework for addressing the three questions noted above and therefore represent a potential means for integrating current evacuation behavioral and modeling efforts. This poster will review research at the University of Utah Center for Natural and Technological Hazards Center to advance our understanding of protective action triggers with a particular focus on wildfires.
Climate Change and Communty-Based Climate Risk Management Initiatives Downstream of Glacial Lakes in Nepal
Impacts of climate change and climate variability have been well documented in the Himalayas, particularly the formation of new glacial lakes and the enlargement of those existing. The rise in glacial lake water levels and the threat of outburst is a result of faster snowmelt in the Himalaya.
Past records indicate that Nepal has experienced 24 catastrophic glacier lake outburst floods (GLOF). One such GLOF had a devastating impact on infrastructure and property loss in the Dudh Koshi downstream of Dig Tsho Glacial Lake in Solukhumbu.
As Nepal focuses on mitigating the threat of GLOFs, the community-based initiatives downstream of potentially dangerous glacial lakes, namely Tsho Rolpa and Imja Glacial Lake, have been found to have very effective climate risk management—particularly in mitigation, adaptation, preparedness, response, and early recovery.
The approach prioritizes community-based interventions for evidence-based advocacy to raise awareness of vulnerable groups. Government authorities develop resilient climate risk practices through a national policy and strategy framework.
Resiliency, Resources, and Regionalization: Addressing Challenges of Home Rule Through a Collaborative Regionalization Process
Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8) identifies collaborative processes integral to planning strategies that enhance response system capability to more effectively mitigate, plan for, respond to, and recover from major disasters.
Home rule environments support highly autonomous jurisdictions. This naturally creates barriers to cross-jurisdictional and cross-sector cooperation. Each jurisdiction is a unique mix of resources, perspectives, and hazard mitigation priorities with various levels of preparedness and response capabilities and capacities affecting resiliency. Regionalization enhances resiliency by helping jurisdictions overcome barriers. Geographically proximate areas can cooperatively implement systematized collaborative processes built on resource sharing partnerships.
The Center for Integrated Disaster Preparedness collaborated with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Hospital Preparedness Program using the PPD-8 framework to support a capabilities-based systematic approach to improving resiliency. The three-year Hazards Based Collaboration and Resource Sharing project was initiated in June of 2010 in Colorado, a home rule state. The project is now in its second year.
The primary objective of the project is to enhance resiliency by developing key multifunctional, cross-sector, and multi-jurisdictional preparedness relationships within each of the nine all-hazard regions established by the Colorado Department of Emergency Management. Major disasters have a public health component, so attention is being given to improving the integration of health and medical partners into response and recovery capability and capacity planning. This aspect of the project is coordinated with support from the Colorado Hospital Association.
Technological Culture: An Opportunity to Reduce Vulnerability to Earthquakes and Tsunamis?
Community disaster vulnerability and resilience are often conceptualized from a perspective of a social or technical system, or a combination of both. This does not do justice to the concomitant relationship of technology and culture. Science, Technology and Society Studies the concept of “technological culture” and attempts to overcome this predicament and appreciate the pervasive effects technological and cultural systems have on each other.
This concept holds great potential for studies in disaster vulnerability and resilience. It could ensure a more comprehensive approach. This study explores how the concept of technological culture can enrich leading conceptions and explanations of disaster vulnerability and community resilience. It will be a four-year, mainly ethnographic research project in the Chilean Biobío region that was heavily affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.
Even when a country is characterized by a wider technological culture there are regional differences, such as hazards, geography, or even the use of techniques that engender different technological subcultures. By analyzing two Chilean communities, both differences and similarities will be used to operationalize the concept of technological culture.
At the core of any culture are social arrangements and issues of power. These produce structures and patterns that result in formal and informal order that enable collective action and collective societal problem solving. Specific attention will therefore be paid to issues of governing and governance.
Organizational Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts: Problem-Solving Practices of State Forest Administrations in Germany
The contradiction between the goal of long-term sustainable management of forests and the irreducible complexity and unpredictability of forest ecosystems leads to a fundamental uncertainty. My research project lies at the interface of ambiguous organizational decision-making in regional forest administrations and contradictory, complex, and uncertain knowledge concerning climate change adaptation.
In my case study of German state forest administrations, I focus on social practices of problem-solving performances and processes related to the organizational response of an administration confronted with heterogeneous expectations and interests from its dynamic environment. Despite the scientific consensus concerning long-term global warming scenarios, regional forest administrations seem overburdened with the complexity and uncertainty about climate change adaptation measures.
I assume that regional forest administrations absorb uncertainty by adopting solutions (e.g., working tools such as risk maps) from other forestry administrations whose response, when faced with the same problem, is considered as legitimate within the organizational field of German forest organizations. 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 as a hurdle for long-term planning—the acceptance of indispensable uncertainty leads to an understanding of planning as a creative process, enabling a variety of solutions.
Monica Farris, University of New Orleans CHART
Pam Jenkins, University of New Orleans CHART
John Kiefer, University of New Orleans CHART
Earthea Nance, University of New Orleans CHART
Maggie Olivier, University of New Orleans CHART
Kristina Peterson, University of New Orleans CHART
Hazard Mitigation Education and Outreach: A Comprehensive Approach
Getting communities to prepare for and mitigate potential impacts of disasters to which they are vulnerable can be challenging. Through its Statewide Hazard Mitigation Community Education and Outreach project, Louisiana is working to: (1) create a culture of mitigation; (2) promote community-based mitigation; (3) promote personal responsibility; (4) promote regional partnerships; and (5) build mitigation capacity at the local level.
The University of New Orleans Center for Hazards Assessment, Response & Technology (UNO-CHART) has been funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency through the state to support these goals with multiple projects that reach out to different stakeholder groups. These projects include Community Continuity, Building a Resilience Curriculum, Risk Literacy, Disaster Resistant University Workshop, and the Executive Symposium in Resilience and Storm Risk Management. While each of the five projects is geared toward a particular audience, all focus on risk reduction and mitigation with an emphasis on natural hazards.
This poster will show an overview of the five projects and various methods of mitigation-focused education and outreach to various stakeholder groups.
Children of Katrina
This poster summarizes findings from our long-term qualitative research with children following Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, our work identifies three recovery patterns. Given the widespread devastation caused by Katrina, the children we studied experienced some period of decline after the disaster. Yet, while every child experienced some challenges, the depth and duration of the decline varied substantially. The recovery trajectories that we discovered include:
(1) Declining: These children’s lives were characterized by the highest levels of pre-disaster vulnerability and ongoing instability post-Katrina. Their levels of vulnerability in all, or nearly all, aspects of their lives were serious and ongoing. These children experienced simultaneous and ongoing disruptions in their families, schooling, housing, health and health care, friendships, and other key areas of their lives.
(2) Finding Equilibrium: After an initial period of disruption and minor decline, these children either returned to a familiar stable place in their lives or were able to attain a new kind of stability with assistance from supportive adults or institutions. These children were most likely to have the greatest “resource depth” in terms of personal, social, or financial support.
(3) Fluctuating: Children who followed this trajectory had a mixed pattern of post-Katrina stable moments followed by unstable periods in their lives. Often these children would be doing well in one aspect of their life (such as schooling), but some other aspect (such as housing) would become unstable and hence cause problems that would then ripple through other areas of their lives.
Bringing Disaster Preparedness Home for Veterans: Assessing Needs, Addressing Gaps
Both homeless and homebound people are at great risk of harm during disasters, given their high prevalence of chronic health conditions and often profound levels of social isolation. U.S. veterans continue to be disproportionately represented in the homeless population. Supportive housing programs are a largely untapped opportunity for increasing disaster preparedness in the veteran population.
This poster presents methods for increasing disaster preparedness among chronically ill veterans through partnerships with a variety of housing-related programs across the health and social services sector. The Veterans Affairs Emergency Management Evaluation Center will present two disaster preparedness projects, examining: (1) the VHA Home-Based Primary Care program; and (2) non-profit organizations providing transitional housing to homeless veterans. The common goal of these projects is to identify barriers to adequate disaster and emergency preparedness among chronically ill veterans, which will inform the eventual design and implementation of preparedness interventions delivered in the context of supportive housing programs.
Using semi-structured interviews with VA home-based care providers, the first project will identify the unique disaster response challenges that home care providers face in geographically diverse areas at risk for natural disasters. The second project will consist of semi-structured interviews with 18 key representatives of non-profit organizations that house homeless veterans to assess the organizations’ levels of disaster preparedness (e.g., life safety, continuity of operations), the types of disaster services these organizations are currently planning to provide (e.g., preparedness, outreach, evacuation, sheltering), and their capacity to provide these disaster services.
Measuring Partnerships for Community Disaster Resilience Between Community-Based Organizations and Public Health Departments
Background: Public health departments receive $700 million annually for disaster planning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health and Emergency Preparedness funding. Guiding this funding is the “Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning,” which provides standards for public health preparedness planning. Under the community resilience standards, local health departments are recommended to engage with community-based organizations to improve community preparedness. However, there are no metrics to evaluate the activities and level of engagement between the two types of organizations.
Aims: We developed a measure for assessing engagement between local health departments and community-based organizations on community disaster resilience.
Methods: First, we developed a hierarchical model of engagement between local health departments and community-based organizations based on a systematic literature review and interviews with key informants from 21 community organizations and 13 health departments. The resulting model posited four levels of engagement between local health departments and community-based organizations around resilience: community outreach, resource sharing, organizational capacity building, and partnership development.
Second, we developed questions for each level and conducted cognitive testing of candidate items. Third, we conducted a national sample survey of local health departments, stratified by the size of the population served (N=273 of 654 contacted; response rate=42 percent).
Results: The questions used to assess each of the four levels produced Chronbach’s alpha scores ranging from 0.71 to 0.88. The total variance explained through factor analysis was 54 percent.
Conclusions: Our measure can be used by the CDC and local health departments to assess their engagement with community-based organizations around community resilience.
The Role of Innovation in Organizational and Community Transformations After a Catastrophic Event
The purpose of this poster is to understand the phenomena of how the future emerges for systems that have undergone deep structure dissolution—particularly 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. This poster explores the role of innovation as a herald of the future during social, economic, and cultural upheaval.
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. Crisis drives increased, multi-directional information flow, 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. Thus, innovation adoption—whether in beliefs, practices, or technologies—serves as a natural selection mechanism that defines and helps to steer systems towards the future.
Conversely, when a dominant paradigm is sufficiently strong it will reassert itself thus inhibiting innovation and transformation.
Alex Greer, University of Delaware
Rochelle Brittingham, University of Delaware
Yvonne Rademacher, University of Delaware
James Kendra, University of Delaware
Joanne Nigg, University of Delaware
Deborah Auger, University of Delaware
Tomohide Atsumi, Osaka University
Takumi Miyamoto, Osaka University
RAPID: The Tohoku Catastrophe: Volunteers and Non-Profit Organizations in Post-Kobe, Japan
Catastrophes are significantly different types of events from disasters, especially in the response and consequences. Relatively few catastrophes have been studied in any detail—the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and the earthquake in Haiti being the most recent examples. Natural-technological catastrophes like Tohoku are much more rare. They have received even less attention.
Given the enormity of the Tohoku destruction and the ingenuity required at all stages for damage assessment, search and rescue, accommodation of a sudden mass migration of hundreds of thousands of people, and the medical triage and care of thousands of others possibly exposed to radiation, we argue that an entirely different framework is needed with respect to responding to natural-technological catastrophic events. This project is investigating one of the components of that framework—the emergence of and enhanced reliance on volunteer groups and organizations.
Tracking Housing Recovery in Galveston after Hurricane Ike
Hurricane Ike made landfall in September 2008 near Galveston, Texas, one of the most costly hurricanes ever to strike the United States. This poster tracks the spatial pattern of housing recovery in Galveston, examining the relationship of this pattern with attributes of the households and the pre-disaster condition of the structures.
By comparing the recovery and household attributes with respect to their spatial distribution from 2008 to 2011 this poster inquires about:
- How the recovery proceeded with respect to change in overall damage to structures and state of repair;
- How the spatial distribution of households, land, and improvement values changed during the recovery period;
- If there was spatial continuity in household income and land and improvement values in the area; and
- How the housing recovery process affected housing development patterns in Galveston?
The main strategy used is GIS analysis. Spatial join, raster analysis, geostatistical analysis, and interpolation enabled joining the survey data on Galveston housing recovery and damage assessment since 2008 with updated maps of the area and looking for patterns in a longitudinal and spatial comparison.
Key findings indicate that severe damage occurred in relatively low-income areas and lowest damage in various ranges of income areas while there is more continuity in income spatial distribution than in land and improvement values.
The most severely damaged homes were located in Bolivar Peninsula. In 2008 the 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.
Perceiving Relationships Between Hazards, Disasters, and Well-Being: The Human Security Index
The global Human Security Index, which was developed over the past decade but germinated 40 years ago, rates 232 countries on economic, environmental, and social fabric. A prototype county-level HSI is in review for the United States. The HSI aims to perceive well-being and resilience potential versus vulnerability and to be useful for public awareness, analysts, strategists and decision-makers
Thanks to progress in global and sub-national indicator development, the Economic and Social Fabric Indices are relatively, and increasingly, mature. However, the situation is more challenging for the Environmental Fabric Index. The best accessible global indicator on impacts of hazards—the Environmental Vulnerability Index—could, perhaps, be an excellent platform for enhancement. Domestic candidate data include reporting on disaster occurrences and magnitude, the risk of specific hazards and disasters, event reporting, Presidential Disaster Declarations, and related payments by county. These offer opportunities for improvement—including optimal formulation into a Disaster Vulnerability Index (DVI), which is in prototype. The poster reviews the global and U.S. Human Security Index, with emphasis on hazard and disaster issues and the DVI.
Kevin Heslin, VA Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Judith Stein, UCLA Department of Psychology
Aram Dobalian, VA Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Barbara Simon, VA Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior
Andrew Lanto, VA Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior
Elizabeth Yano, VA Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior
Lisa Rubenstein, VA Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior
Alcohol Problems as a Risk Factor for Post-Disaster Depression among U.S. Veterans
Alcohol problems can impede adaptive, proactive responses to disaster-related injury and loss, thus prolonging the adverse impact of disasters on mental health. Previous work suggests that veterans of the U.S. armed forces have a relatively high prevalence of alcohol abuse/dependence and other psychiatric disorders. This is the first study to estimate the impact of pre-disaster alcohol problems on post-disaster depressive symptoms among veterans, using data that were collected before and after the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake.
We assessed the impact of alcohol problems on post-disaster depressive symptoms in an existing clinical cohort of veterans who experienced the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck Northridge. Between one and three months after the disaster, interviewers contacted participants to administer a follow-up questionnaire based on a survey that had been done before the earthquake. Post-earthquake data were obtained on 1,144 male veterans for whom there were pre-earthquake data.
We tested a predictive path model of the relationships between latent variables for pre-disaster alcohol problems, functional limitations, and depressive symptoms on latent variables representing post-disaster “quake impact” and depressive symptoms. Results showed that veterans who had more alcohol problems before the earthquake experienced more earthquake-related harms and severe symptoms of depression after the earthquake when compared with those who had fewer alcohol problems. Programs serving veterans with a high prevalence of alcohol problems should consider designing disaster response protocols to locate and assist these patients in the aftermath of disasters.
Improving Radioactive Emergency Preparedness through Training and Exercising
On March 11, 2011, the Tohoku earthquake created significant seismic and tidal damage in Japan. It also created cascading failures in the country’s Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant that resulted in full reactor meltdowns, exposed plant workers to radiation, and released radioactive material into the ocean and atmosphere.
In the wake of Fukushima, and in the face of the increasing likelihood of severe natural hazard events, concern in the United States over the safety of its nuclear power plants has increased. In Florida, which has 28 counties in either the Emergency Planning or Ingestion Pathway Zones of four nuclear power plants, the concern over the intersection of increased natural hazard events (e.g., hurricanes) and radiological hazards is salient. Because of increased interest in the safety of nuclear power plants, Florida’s Radiological Emergency Preparedness program designed a training and exercise series using Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program methodology to assess and improve the state’s radiological preparedness.
The series, consisting of a seminar, workshop, and tabletop exercise, targets state Ingestion Pathway Zone counties and represents the first such effort made in the state regarding radiological preparedness. From June 2011 to April 2012, the Radiological Emergency Preparedness team administered the series to seven Ingestion Pathway Zone counties in the first implementation of the series. This project reports on the series’ pilot implementation, including its outcomes, lessons learned, and best practices.
Immediate Behavioral Response to Earthquake in Fukushima Japan
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and a 130 foot high tsunami struck Fukushima, Japan on March 11, 2011. This earthquake caused 15,854 deaths, 26,992 injuries, and an estimated $235 billion in economic losses. This study examined the immediate behavioral response of residents to the earthquake.
We conducted a mail survey of 600 randomly selected households in Hitachi, a coastal city about 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of the devastated city of Sendai. We obtained 338 usable questionnaires for a response rate of 56.3 percent.
Residents reported their locations at the time of the earthquake; physical, social, and household social contexts; perceived shaking intensity; emotional reactions, risk perceptions, and behavioral responses. Further, the questionnaire also asked about respondent expectations and response in anticipation of a tsunami, their previous earthquake experience, earthquake preparedness, demographic characteristics, and their home’s building construction.
The results indicated that most respondents were at their home (38.1 percent) or workplace (32.4 percent) with adult friends, relatives, or neighbors (44.0 percent). Most of them reported the shaking as violent (77.5 percent) or strong (20.7 percent) and that some of their household members were absent and their safety was unknown (55.3 percent). On a 1-5 scale, where 1=not at all and 5=very great extent, people felt very nervous (4.55) and alert (4.61) about the shaking and minimally relaxed (1.44) and energetic (1.66). Further, respondents had strong expectations that there would be disruption to basic services (4.16) and moderate concern about job disruption (3.81) and home damaged (3.47) but lower expectations that they and their families would be injured or killed (2.75). In response to their situations, most people stopped what they were doing but stayed where they were (30.1 percent), or immediately left the building they were in (26.6 percent).
Finally, after the shaking stopped, most people contacted household members (55.9 percent), tried to find out what happened (32.7 percent), cleaned up broken items (29.6 percent), and went back home (28.1 percent).
The Process of Drawing Up Reconstruction Plans in Extensive Disaster-Hit Areas (Including Community Relocation and Challenges in the Implementation of Plans)
In damage recovery efforts for the Great East Japan Earthquake, the main issues have been how to coordinate public and private entities for effective distribution of limited resources. Local municipalities affected by natural disasters are required to draw up a reconstruction plan for the recovery of their affected area on their own. The extraordinary circumstances of the Great East Japan Earthquake, however, extended damage over several prefectures. The diversity and size of the localities affected and the difficulty of coordinating many entities (such as national, prefectural, and local governments; civic groups; and private organizations) caused consensus building to become a challenge in recovery.
In addition, since the Great East Japan Earthquake was an unprecedented disaster, efforts to develop support systems related to reconstruction subsidies and projects have been slow. The affected local municipalities had no choice but to draw up a reconstruction plan for their recovery on their own before the support systems were made clear.
This study summarizes the transition of the roles of national, prefectural, and municipal governments and changes in issues hampering the reconstruction plan development processes by local governments. The focus is on Minamisanriku-cho, Miyagi Prefecture, where the author has supported reconstruction planning activities as a quasi-resident adviser since a month after the earthquake. The study also clarifies the position of town and city reconstruction projects, particularly for residential reconstruction projects, including community relocation.
Water and Ice: Using Natural Disasters to Study Prenatal Maternal Stress
Well-controlled animal experiments suggest that stress to the mother during pregnancy can program the fetus for a variety of developmental delays and a lifetime of illness. 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 and non-stress conditions, as is done with laboratory animals, studying prenatal maternal stress in humans presents challenges to the researcher. Most of these can be overcome by taking advantage of naturally occurring stressors that distribute hardship in quasi-random fashion.
We began Project Ice Storm in Quebec in 1998, and have been following the cognitive, behavioral, motor, and physical development of more than 100 children for the past 14 years. The Iowa Flood Study began in 2008 and added pre-disaster data from an on-going study of pregnant women to the Project Ice Storm protocol. It is currently testing children at four years of age. The QF2011 Queensland Flood Study was launched in Australia last year and includes pre-trauma data on pregnant women, plus a pre-existing randomized control trial of two prenatal care programs and birth biological specimens (placenta, umbilical cord, and cord blood) that will reveal the mechanisms of action of prenatal stress in humans.
This poster will give the background rationale for the research program, the methods of the three studies, and a sampling of results to date. Our studies demonstrate strong and long-lasting effects of prenatal stress on outcomes such as IQ, memory, anxiety, and risk for obesity in children.
Best Practices for Weathering Climate Risks
As the annual cost of severe weather events in the United States grows into the billions of dollars, companies and communities are examining how best to plan ahead to protect their assets and bolster their bottom line. We discuss Center for Clean Air Policy’s new Weathering Climate Risks program, which helps local governments and corporations prepare for current and projected impacts of extreme weather and a changing climate.
Weathering Climate Risks identifies corporate and community champions who incorporate extreme weather and climate change preparedness into their risk management to enhance their strategic planning process and bolster economic performance. Additionally, Weathering Climate Risks conducts research on best practices in risk management and hazard mitigation to assess the economic and community benefits of being better prepared.
A Hurricane Preparedness Campaign and the Vehicle-less in New Orleans
This study assessed a communication and public relations campaign that, during the 2010 hurricane season, sought to enhance disaster preparedness among transportation disadvantaged, vehicle-less New Orleans residents.
Drawing from the ideas in the Protective Action Decision Model, the transportation disadvantaged were interviewed to determine whether they were receiving the message of the campaign, paying attention to it, and comprehending it. Interviews also tried to ascertain whether they were engaging in risk identification (recognizing that a threat exists), risk assessment (recognizing that the threat can affect them personally), protective action search (searching for ways to address the threat), protective action assessment (comparing a way to address a threat with other methods), and protective action implementation (taking steps to prepare).
The study found that the majority of the transportation disadvantaged were receiving, paying attention to, and comprehending the message of the campaign. However, this was not shown to automatically translate into high levels of risk identification, risk assessment, protective action search, protective action assessment, and protective action implementation among the participants. Past experience with disaster was also not found to be a useful predictor of whether people engaged in risk identification, risk assessment, protective action search, protection action assessment, or protective action implementation.
When Does Forgoing Gray Infrastructure Make Sense? The Benefits and Costs of a Nature-Based Approach to Flood Mitigation
Historically, the dominant approach to riverine flood risk in the United States has been the use of structural flood control, such as levees, flood walls, and reservoirs. This is loosely referred to as “gray infrastructure.” Natural systems can also be used to mitigate flood risk, often referred to “green infrastructure.” One way this can be accomplished is through the protection of what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has referred to as natural valley storage (NVS). NVS are lands, often wetlands, which temporarily store floodwaters, acting as natural reservoirs.
Economic analyses of a NVS approach to flood control have been undertaken by the Corps in several New England watersheds. In only one instance (in the middle and upper portions of the Charles River watershed in Massachusetts) was NVS found to have benefits that outweighed the costs. This raises the questions: Why is a NVS approach economically attractive in some places and not others? How do scientific, political, and economic assumptions in the benefit-cost analyses influence outcomes? What are the institutional biases and challenges to integrating an ecosystem-based approach into federal flood control? This research examines the economic analyses undertaken by the Corps in New England to address these questions.
Emergency Management Tornado Warning Policies: There’s No One-Size-Fits-All
Last year was one of the deadliest years on record in the United States for tornado deaths, with 550 fatalities. The May 22, 2011, Joplin, Missouri tornado alone accounted for 158 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. Emergency managers play a critical role in communicating tornado warnings to the public. They are an integral component of the weather warning process, along with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the media. However, communicating the uncertainty of when, where, or if a tornado may hit remains a great challenge.
This study uses survey and focus group data from Oklahoma and Texas emergency managers to identify: (1) types of warning systems used by emergency managers; and (2) emergency management warning policies including use of NWS warnings, subregional warning capabilities, and preferred lead times.
Results indicate sirens are widely used, but redundant methods are also critical. Emergency managers do not always adhere to official NWS warnings. The majority of emergency managers will disseminate a warning when an official NWS warning is not in effect, while others do not always warn the public when a NWS warning is in effect. Emergency managers with the ability to warn by subregion are, in general, not employing this capability.
Implications of this work are that emergency management agencies are diverse. There is no one-size-fits-all to warning policies or decision-making processes. These findings are related to the development of a new radar system being developed by the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, so that this new technology can be designed to reduce uncertainty in the emergency management decision-making processes.
An Environmental Justice Analysis: Examining the Disadvantaged Population Distributions Near the Superfund Site, Toxic Release Inventory Sites, and Major Air Pollutant Facilities in Cook County, Illinois
Growing concern over environmental justice has led environmentalists and researchers to evaluate the disproportionate impacts of environmental pollution on people with minority and low-income status. It has also influenced government policies to eliminate the environmental justice gap among different population segments.
Many studies in environmental justice have been conducted at national, regional, state, and local levels. However, there is no research on environmental justice in Cook County, Illinois. Little environmental research has examined the relationships between disadvantaged population distributions and their distances to Superfund sites, toxic release inventory sites, and major air pollutant facilities in detail. In addition, no environmental justice studies applied Geographic Information Systems statistical analyst tools to identify geographic patterns associated with disadvantaged population distributions and hazardous sites.
In this project, we applied GIS and statistical approaches to identify clusters of disadvantaged populations and hazardous sites, examine their relationships, and assess the correlation between the compositions of disadvantaged populations and their respective distances to the hazardous sites. Our analysis found that the disadvantaged population compositions within 0.25-, 0.5-, and 1.0-mile buffer zones of hazardous sites are significantly higher than those outside the buffer zones. Furthermore, we discovered that disadvantaged populations in block groups negatively correlated with their distances to hazardous sites in the study area.
Significantly, the disadvantaged populations and hazardous sites are highly clustered in the southeast part of Cook County. We suggest that governmental officials and policy decision makers focus on future remediation projects for the hazardous sites in this area.
Zhang Liu, Johns Hopkins University
Mehdi Jalalpour, Johns Hopkins University
Caitlin Jacques, Johns Hopkins University
Stefan Szyniszewski, Johns Hopkins University
James Guest, Johns Hopkins University
Takeru Igusa, Johns Hopkins University
Benjamin Schafer, Johns Hopkins University
Judith Mitrani-Reiser, Johns Hopkins University
Modeling Human Evacuation in Earthquake-Damaged Structures
We will present the development of a tool to assess evacuation from a typical commercial building after a seismic event and a proposed connection of this model to a city-level evacuation model. The proposed model integrates finite-element modeling of structural behavior, probabilistic modeling of nonstructural damage and injury, and agent-based modeling of human evacuation behavior.
The effect of post-earthquake damage and injuries on overall evacuation of the system can be analyzed. The goal of this research is to make connections between building damage and occupant injuries and behavior, with geographic automata as the information handler for the agent-based platform. The building occupants are positioned in two spaces: a vector space, which locates the agents within the building using a fixed (non-inertial) frame of reference, and a graph space, which positions the agents within the network of building pathways that leads to the exit passageways.
Preliminary results are provided for a four-story office building in the Los Angeles region subject to the ground motions of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Three scenarios are modeled for the building: evacuation of agents from an undamaged structure (as a baseline to which other scenarios may be compared), evacuation of healthy agents from a damaged structure, and evacuation of injured agents from a damaged structure.
This single-building evacuation model can feed into regional post-disaster models to inform emergency planners and other local authorities that need vulnerability information about the infrastructure they manage.
U.S. Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance
We are a network of women and men working in communities and organizations to further more sustainable, just, and disaster resilient ways of living in the United States. With a grassroots leadership of women, we seek to develop and strengthen the nation’s resilience to the increasing array of hazards and potential disasters we face in the coming decades.
We seek common ground and collective action for change. Reducing the risk of disasters is not “women’s work” but demands the leadership of women along with men. American women have a legacy of activism to build on, working for gender justice and racial justice, for economic fairness and environmental stewardship, for the human rights of children and persons with disabilities, and toward peaceful conflict resolution. Gender and disaster mainstreaming work is not yet aligned with these allies—but this can be changed.
Reducing the effects of the hazards we must live with and putting an end to the disasters that we can stop will take all of us. The GDRA partners with allies across borders for common purpose and the public good. Join in as you can—we need and welcome you.
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.
Social Network Analysis of Hazard Mitigation Planning
Creating resilient communities requires long-term reductions in underlying hazard risks, which is expected to be exacerbated by climate change. National consensus studies identify land use as a highly effective approach for risk reduction. Passage of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 created an intergovernmental policy framework for risk reduction requiring state and local governments to adopt hazard mitigation plans in order to be eligible for certain federal disaster funds. Local networks of stakeholders play a key role in this framework by developing and implementing hazard mitigation plans through participatory planning processes. Current understanding of disaster-related networks is limited.
A central research question is: Do variations in mitigation stakeholder networks influence the incorporation of land use approaches into mitigation plans and implementation of land use approaches, accounting for the state policy context and local community characteristics? To answer this question, this study employs a mixed-method approach coupling ordinary least squares and Poisson regression models with cross-case comparisons in which social network analysis techniques are used.
Preliminary findings indicate involvement of local planners is associated with incorporation of more land use approaches. Hierarchical network structures centered on a single core emergency management agency incorporate fewer land use approaches than networks with multiple, interconnected stakeholder groups in a core cluster. These findings point to the importance of developing a greater understanding of hazard mitigation stakeholder networks and for fostering networks that tap into local land use expertise.
Reconceptualizing Disaster Warnings: Warning Fatigue and LLT Disasters
This paper suggests that a re-examination of warning fatigue in the context of long lead time (LLT) disaster scenarios is needed when exploring ways that people respond to disaster warnings. LLT disasters such as pandemics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and bushfires require the public to incorporate long-term risk into their daily lives while still maintaining a level of vigilance.
Warning fatigue or “Cry-wolf” syndrome describes the cynicism or apathy that anecdotally is thought to result from being over-warned. There is an assumption by emergency agencies that warning fatigue is a problem. But most of the relevant literature calls the phenomenon a myth, while at the same time acknowledging that false alarms have been observed to lead to public desensitization, cynicism, emotional adaptation, and normalization of risk. Without exception, research into the “myth” of warning fatigue has been done in the context of weather-specific short lead time (SLT) disasters. Literature acknowledges the crucial relationship between warning time, preparedness, and response. Yet there is little empirical research examining warnings in the context of LLT disasters.
Residents of bushfire-vulnerable Victoria and Tasmania identified warning fatigue as a major contributor to personal decision-making before disasters, providing the impetus for this research. All disasters are not the same. In order to identify issues associated with warnings response and to frame and communicate hazard warnings in ways that reduce the risk of warning fatigue and community complacency, SLT and LLT disaster scenarios need to be differentiated.
Perceived Safety: An Analysis of Development Encroachment Inside Houston MSA Floodplains
This study determined whether development continues to occur in hazard prone areas by measuring land cover data in Federal Emergency Management Agency Q3 floodplains in geographical information systems software. Research on the Houston metropolitan statistical area was conducted by measuring the change in development in the 100-year floodplain in 1996, 2001, and 2006. The analysis was performed on all ten counties in the Houston MSA.
Fort Bend County increased high intensity, medium intensity, and low intensity development in the 100-year floodplain by 42 percent during that time period. This far exceeds the other counties in the Houston MSA. Upon further analysis, it was determined that the city of Sugar Land increased development significantly. Specifically, the planned community of Telfair was developed entirely in the 100 year floodplain. A flood resiliency analysis was conducted on the community of Telfair with a selection of indicators and policy analysis.
Texas leads the nation in flood impacts. Sugar Land, a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System and strives to be an environmentally responsible community, has a long way to go before it will be resilient to flooding.
Will My Building be Damaged by an Earthquake? USGS Risk Mapping Web Application for Assessing Earthquake Damage Likelihoods
The U.S. Geological Survey receives many inquiries regarding the likelihood of earthquake-induced damage—or seismic risk—to buildings. USGS scientists are known for producing seismic hazard curves and derivative maps quantifying the probabilities of potential earthquake ground motion levels being exceeded during a given timeframe. To extend this ground motion hazard information, USGS engineers have developed fragility curves for generic building types that quantify “what-if” probabilities of damage for the potential earthquake ground motions. By combining hazard and fragility curves in its Risk Mapping Web Application, the USGS seeks to address the aforementioned requests from the public.
The Risk Mapping Web Application is designed for expert, as well as non-technical, users. Advanced users can upload lists of building locations and types and their fragility curves. The risk output computed by combining this information with USGS hazard curves can be used to guide prioritization of retrofits to buildings in a community, for example. Novice users are able to select a building type (pertaining to a single-family home, for example) by using a series of drop-down menus, and receive a map of their risk relative to other building locations. By also selecting other building types, non-technical users can get another sense of their relative risk. The Risk Mapping Web Application provides web-based, CSV, and KML output.
Geographic Specificity, Tornadoes, and Protective Action
In 2007, the National Weather Service began using storm-based, rather than countywide, warnings. Some analysts have examined the effects of this change, but little empirical research has focused on public response.
Using a random digit dial sample and a computer-assisted telephone interview system, we collected data focused on protective action decision making in counties that were affected by a severe storm or tornado warning. Our paper examines the influence of these new storm-based warnings on protective action decision making by the public.
While we did not find a significant relationship between being inside the warning polygon and taking protective action, we were able to conclude that polygon size is an important factor. Given these mixed results, we suggest future work on storm-based warnings focus on their dissemination and reception, as well as the optimization of the polygons themselves. We suggest that the complexities associated with communicating these risk areas complicates the dissemination process and creates difficulties in the public understanding the warning.
The possible need for optimization is reinforced by the significance of the track proximity and polygon size variables. In addition, a smaller polygon resulted in protective action, especially sheltering. With regards to the preparedness and socio-demographics variables, our results agreed with previous findings on the importance of a family emergency plan. Unlike earlier research, we did not find past experience or education level significant within our regression model and showed mixed results of gender.
Everyday Technologies after a Disaster: Examining Consumer Usage During an Extended Power Outage
After the April 27, 2011, tornadoes in Madison County, Alabama, more than 600,000 people in the region were left without power for up to two weeks from the storm damage. With generally pleasant weather and limited work requirements because of business and school closings, residents could decide whether to adapt their 21st century lifestyle to living without electricity for up to two weeks.
Given that Madison County has been rated as having high resilience for disasters and that local residents view their military and NASA employment backgrounds as equipping them to deal with adversity and to build the future, we examined technology usage of households who stayed to learn which technologies were viewed as critical for home habitability and how they were used. An online survey about their use of technologies, alternative energy sources, information sources, and opportunities for learning received 159 responses.
We found that the top technology issues were obtaining light, communications, cooking and food storage, and conserving/recharging power for critical devices. Even the 25 percent that already owned or acquired a generator typically used it to power devices for one or more of these functions. These findings are discussed and compared with other research results to identify recommendations for disaster preparation.
A Guide to Planning Resources on Transportation and Hazards provides a framework for thinking about the stages of a disaster from a transportation perspective, describes current and innovative hazards-related research to a transportation audience, and introduces research from fields not always associated with transportation engineering (including social science, mitigation and land use planning, and policy analysis).
Security 101: A Physical Security Primer for Transportation Agencies focuses on measures and concepts designed to (1) safeguard personnel; (2) prevent unauthorized access to equipment, installations, materiel, and documents; and (3) safeguard equipment, installations, materiel, and documents against espionage, sabotage, damage, and theft.
Guide for Emergency Transportation Operations supports development of a formal program for the improved management of traffic incidents, natural disasters, security events, and other emergencies on the highway system.
Costing Asset Protection: An All Hazards Guide for Transportation Agencies (CAPTA) is a convenient and robust planning tool for top-down estimation of the capital and operating budget implications of measures intended to reduce risks to locally acceptable levels.
A Guide to Emergency Response Planning at State Transportation Agencies provides operationally oriented and practical guidance for state transportation agencies to plan, organize, staff, train, exercise, manage, implement, and fund preparations to carry out their emergency responsibilities.
Communication with Vulnerable Populations: A Transportation and Emergency Management Toolkit provides a guiding framework and tools for constructing a scalable, adaptable communication process built on a network of agencies from public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
For more information, visit www.TRB.org/SecurityPubs.
Canadian Risk and Hazards Network
The Canadian Risk and Hazards Network is a not-for-profit organization established in 2003 in response to a growing demand to promote and strengthen disaster risk reduction and emergency management in Canada. CRHNet creates an environment in which the hazards research, education, and emergency management practitioner communities can effectively share knowledge and innovative approaches that reduce disaster vulnerability.
The primary objectives of the CRHNet are to:
• Initiate the development of an interdisciplinary network of Canadian researchers, academics, and practitioners to enhance multidimensional understanding of emergency management and build Canadian capacity to deal with threats and consequences from all hazards;
• Create a annual forum for dialogue focusing on disaster risk reduction and to facilitate policy formulation and adoption of best practices in Canada; and
• Provide a Canadian venue to learn from the experiences of other countries by inviting internationally reputed scholars, practitioners, and participants to the symposium and to share Canadian experience and efforts in disaster reduction.
In addition, CRHNet is a permanent member of the Canadian National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, established under the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. The national platform provides strategic advice to policy makers, elected officials, and senior decision makers at the federal, provincial, and local levels.
Twice a year CRHNet publishes HazNet, a journal sharing disaster and emergency management articles from researchers, as well as disaster and emergency management professionals. CRHNet's Ninth Annual Symposium will be held on October 24-26, 2012, in Vancouver.
For additional information: www.crhnet.ca
Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis
Researchers at the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis (CDRA) at Colorado State University are engaged in interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach activities for the primary purpose of reducing human vulnerability to disasters and increasing individual and community capacity to prepare for and recover from disasters. CDRA faculty and students conduct interdisciplinary research on hazards risk and disaster impacts; help prepare the disaster professionals of the future by teaching and mentoring students; and engage in outreach efforts—geared to government, non-profit organizations, and private sector entities—to improve disaster planning and response and to promote individual and community resilience.
The center is co-directed by Lori Peek and Sammy Zahran and has 14 national and international cross-disciplinary faculty affiliates; eight graduate research assistants; and six undergraduate research assistants. The CDRA team is involved in numerous projects, including assessing the physical and mental health impacts of the BP oil spill on children; measuring levels of toxic chemicals in the soil in New Orleans playgrounds; surveying Colorado childcare providers regarding disaster planning and preparedness; evaluating disability preparedness in disasters for children and adults; interviewing disaster risk reduction professionals working in some of the world’s most earthquake-prone cities; investigating hurricane risk perception and evacuation intention along the U.S. Gulf Coast; and studying displaced children’s long-term recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
For more information about recent projects, publications, and center activities, please visit disaster.colostate.edu.
Being Prepared: The Keys to Communication Strategies that Build Support for Extreme Weather Events and Community Water Utilities
Record-breaking droughts, three 100-year floods in five years, single-day precipitation levels beyond what was previously measured—many water utilities across the nation have a story to tell about a recent or ongoing extreme weather event. The frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events is changing. This has important ramifications for water utilities and community preparedness.
This research helps develop communication strategies to engage communities and build support for the projects that must be funded today to ensure that community water supplies are resilient to tomorrow’s extreme events. These are resources extremely vulnerable to climate change.
This research examines audience attributes, message maps and frames that research (the project team includes Tony Leiserowitz of the Yale Project on Climate Communication) has shown to be drivers for water and climate change communication. We preview a four-minute clip prepared for governing board and city council audiences titled, “Being Prepared: Extreme Weather and Your Community’s Utility.” The clip was developed based on audience preferences and needs. It is now being tested in a series of focus groups. The researchers share the pre- and post-viewing questionnaire results, using choice theory protocols. They show how the research findings can be used to develop communication strategies that build community support for extreme weather event preparation.
Results from a Systematic Accountability Evaluation: CDC Public Health Emergency Response Grant Program Was Effective in Achieving Its Objectives
Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiated the Public Health Emergency Response (PHER) grant program to support state and local health department planning and response efforts related to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza. The CDC awarded nearly $1.4 billion in funds to 50 states, eight territories, and four cities in a four-phase period that lasted less than eight months. The PHER funds were intended to build and enhance health department capacities in eight distinct areas, or response capabilities, including: vaccine distribution, vaccine dispensing, medical countermeasures distribution, community mitigation, emergency risk communication, influenza epidemiological surveillance, influenza laboratory testing, and emergency operations coordination.
Methods: This evaluation centered on a mixed-methods analysis of PHER award allocations, as well as grantee achievements and outcomes across the eight capabilities. Allocations by capability were calculated by assigning each allocation to a capability type (e.g., vaccine dispensing, community mitigation, etc.), and then adding total allocations for each type. Achievements and outcomes were assessed by type of capacity enhancement for each capability. This was done mainly through analysis of qualitative (narrative) data that was self-reported by grantees.
Results: The PHER program was effective in achieving its objectives. Fifty-seven of 62 grantees allocated at least 95 percent of their funds. In addition, PHER funding was used to make improvements in capacities across all eight capabilities needed by state and local health departments in responding to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Sixty of 62 grantees reported improvements in capacities across seven of the eight response capabilities. Finally, grantee allocations toward the eight response capabilities corresponded well with all published PHER program documentation.
Development of Adaptation Strategies for the North Carolina Sea Level Rise Impact Study
With over 2,300 square miles of coastal land vulnerable to a one-meter rise in sea level and significant investments along the coast, the state of North Carolina is highly vulnerable to the affects of sea level rise and the potential for increasingly severe storms associated with climate change. In recognition of the need to assess potential impacts and develop adaptation strategies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided funding to the state to conduct the North Carolina Sea Level Rise Impact Study.
A central component of this study involves an assessment of current policy, the development of adaptation strategies, and an evaluation of the impacts of those strategies on sea level rise impacts. To achieve these goals, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Hazards Center has been tasked with conducting a capability assessment of federal and state agencies to identify programs, policies, studies and plans that influence the ability to adapt to changes in sea level. In addition, case studies of sea level rise adaptation in other coastal states—California, Florida, and Maryland—were developed to draw lessons from other state experiences.
Adaptation strategies are currently being developed and evaluated based upon their fiscal, technical, and political feasibility as well as their benefits and costs to societal and ecological systems. This poster will describe the process of conducting a capability assessment and developing adaptation strategies for North Carolina. As the study has gained significant interest and strong reactions from the public, the influences of politicization on the study approach will also be discussed.
Rad Resilient City: A Preparedness Checklist for Cities to Diminish Lives Lost from Radiation after a Nuclear Terrorist Attack
This poster presents the Fallout Preparedness Checklist, a planning tool that can help save 100,000 lives or more following a nuclear detonation. The threat of nuclear terrorism has been highlighted by the United States and other governments, non-governmental organizations, and security experts. If prevention of nuclear terrorism fails, then reducing exposure to radioactive fallout is the intervention that can save the most lives following a nuclear detonation.
But most Americans are not familiar with proper safety measures against fallout. Many believe nothing can be done to reduce the suffering and death following a nuclear attack. Moreover, cities have no checklist to prepare the emergency management infrastructure and the larger population for this hazard, despite hundreds of pages of useful guidance from the federal government and professional organizations.
The Fallout Preparedness Checklist reverses this situation by converting the latest federal guidance and technical reports into clear, actionable steps for communities to take to protect their residents from exposure to radioactive fallout. Successful adoption of the Fallout Preparedness Checklist can produce significant gains for communities.
The checklist reflects the shared judgment of the Nuclear Resilience Expert Advisory Group, a national panel led by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Biosecurity and comprised of government decision makers, scientific experts, emergency responders, and leaders from business, volunteer, and community sectors.
Multi-Ethnic Tornado Hazard Perception and Preparedness in Tuscaloosa
The EF4 Tuscaloosa, Alabama, tornado on April 27, 2011, produced 64 fatalities along its 130-kilometer track. It was a rare urban tornado that primarily affected white, African-American, and Hispanic/Latino residents from a variety of socioeconomic levels. Using a mixture of closed and open-ended questions, interviews were conducted with a sample of 211 Tuscaloosa area residents in a two-week period after the tornado. Results suggest that differences existed in tornado hazard perception and preparedness among the three major ethnicities of Tuscaloosa.
The significant differences in perception still existed when controlling for the influences of age, education, and years lived in Tuscaloosa. In particular, Hispanic residents were significantly different on perception from both white and African-American residents. Furthermore, the most significant variable indicating a change in future shelter-seeking plans is Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. This suggests that Hispanic residents did not have an accurate perception of the tornado threat, nor were they prepared for it, but the experience has motivated them to take action in the future.
Significant differences in preparedness disappeared after controlling for age, education, and years lived in Tuscaloosa with the exception of Hispanic and white residents and age. Another way of assessing preparedness was to analyze sheltering lead time among the three groups. While Hispanic residents were the least prepared group, African-American residents had the lowest mean sheltering lead time and smallest variance on sheltering lead time.
Research at University of North Texas Emergency Administration and Planning Program, Department of Public Administration
The Bachelor of Science program in Emergency Administration and Planning (EADP) offered by the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas is nationally recognized. Established in 1983, it had the distinction of being the first of its kind in the United States.
Distinguished faculty—David McEntire, Gary Webb, Laura Siebeneck, Sudha Arlikatti, Simon Andrew, and Praveen Maghelal—teach students in the bachelors, masters, and PhD programs, and are actively engaged in a variety of research and outreach activities centered on improving knowledge and understanding related to hazards and emergency management.
This poster highlights current research funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of North Texas, and the Canadian Government. The research pertains to resiliency among rural, suburban, and urban communities following the Thailand floods, explores issues of emissions due to mass evacuations as well as single versus multiple group evacuations, and examines the impacts of housing arrangements on long term recovery. We are also conducting comparative analyses of disaster systems in countries around world, studying risk perception and communication during the disaster return-entry process, and examining spontaneous planning and emergency coordination activities following the San Bruno pipeline explosion.
Disaster Accountability Project in 2012: Disaster Policy Wiki and Other Programs and Investigations
It is no secret that better preparedness can reduce damage, suffering, and loss of life. Disasters are often followed by significant media attention and expert policy recommendations to prevent identified problems from reoccurring. However, once the dust settles and camera crews pack up and head home, we must keep track of the implementation of these policy recommendations.
Disaster Accountability Project’s new Disaster Policy Wiki serves as an online clearinghouse of post-disaster policy reports and recommendations. The wiki provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to track the status of reports and recommendations, single out repeat recommendations, and discuss individual reports and recommendations in a wiki format.
Research on the Earthquake Disaster Awareness and Response Abilities of Chinese Mainland People: From Case-Event Study to Cross-Region Comparisons
While the volume of literature addressing earthquake hazard perception and response by laypersons and local societies in the international academic community has grown, the examples discussing the people and local societies of Mainland China are still very limited. Fortunately, this has received unprecedented attention in the past few years by both researchers and Chinese authorities, largely because of recent lessons learned from several devastating earthquakes.
We have carried out series of surveys on Earthquake Disasters Awareness and Response Abilities (EDAR) since 2005 among laypersons, elementary and secondary school students, teachers, parents, other family members, and local communities. The surveys were done in areas struck by large earthquakes in Mainland China, including the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Tangshan in 1976, the magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Wenchuan in 2008, the magnitude 7.1 in Yushu in 2010, and others. So far, about 40,000 questionnaires had been digitized through the EpiData system. Some interesting findings have been obtained, although only a small part of the data has undergone preliminary analysis.
The purpose of this study is to improve our understandings on EDAR features of various subjects addressed in each case study area, and on their cross-region differences and related natural, socioeconomic, and cultural origins. It will provide local people and places with pilot applications to help them to increase their EDAR levels or capabilities more feasibly and effectively.
When Online Is Off: Public Communications Following the February 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquake
The February 22, 2011, earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was an aftershock of a larger earthquake in September 2010, caused significant infrastructure and economic damage and life loss in a modern city with similar population characteristics as U.S. metropolitan communities. In the days and weeks following the earthquake, various risk communication strategies were used to reach individuals affected by the ongoing aftershocks, including online networked communications. By collecting data on access to and use of online information in this critical period following the earthquake, this project will advance knowledge about information and communication capacities as they affect coping and resiliency in the aftermath of disaster. Specifically, the project examines the effects of reliance on online communications on individual coping ability and community recovery and on the role of networked online communication among those directly affected by disaster.
Drawing from field research, interviews, focus groups, and ongoing survey research, we find that integrated communications strategies are necessary when critical infrastructure is seriously affected and that access to online information is viewed as a key resource for community response and recovery.
Disaster Resilient Rural Communities: Access to Online Information and Perceptions of Collective Efficacy
Under the current administration, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has dedicated more than $7.2 billion to broadband projects designed to increase connectivity and Internet access in rural areas. Little is known, however, about the potential effects of these infrastructure developments for community resiliency among rural communities, especially as it relates to public safety functions, access to information online, and the development of individual and community resiliency among populations at risk of seasonal hazards. It is imperative that the role of online information access on community and individual resilience is studied because of these critical infrastructure investments.
This research examines the question: “How does access to online information affect the perception of individual and collective resilience in rural communities across all phases of disaster?” We investigate the interplay among disaster exposure, individual and family level coping ability perceptions, access to information, and behavioral responses to communications from official and other sources to better understand individual and community resilience.
The findings will increase knowledge about critical dimensions of rural community resiliency, including community resources, information and communication infrastructures, social capital, and community competence across all phases of disaster. Outcomes will include increased knowledge about the role of information access for community resilience, leading to the development of recommendations on strategies to link information usage and access across the phases of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Jeannette Sutton, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Carter Butts, University of California Irvine
Emma Spiro, University of California Irvine
Shawn Fitzhugh, University of California Irvine
Britta Johnson, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
HEROIC: Hazards, Emergency Response, and Online Informal Communications
The nearly continuous, informal exchange of information—including such mundane activities as gossip, rumor, and casual conversation—is a characteristic human behavior, found across societies and throughout recorded history. While often taken for granted, these natural patterns of information exchange become an important “soft infrastructure” for decentralized resource mobilization and response during emergencies, disasters, and other extreme events. The capacity of informal communication has been further transformed by the widespread adoption of mobile devices (such as “smart-phones”) and social media technologies (e.g., micro-blogging services such as Twitter), which allow individuals to reach much larger numbers of contacts over greater distances than was possible in previous eras.
Although the potential to exploit this capacity for emergency warnings, alerts, and response is increasingly recognized by practitioners, relatively little is known about the dynamics of informal online communication in emergencies—and, in particular, about the ways in which existing streams of information are modified by the introduction of emergency information from both official and unofficial sources. The HEROIC project seeks to address this gap.
Initial research efforts focused on strategies for data collection and storage. Current and ongoing research projects have focused on: (1) rates of Twitter adoption across levels of government and among the various spheres of agencies responsible for producing and disseminating information across the disaster time continuum; (2) communication micro-strategies employed by members of the public when tweeting hazard-related information; (3) networked connections between federal, state, and local accounts in relation to their geographical proximity and involvement in a large scale, technological disaster response; and (4) strategies to employ crowd-sourced content analysis to conduct research related to rumoring online.
The Use of ICTs in the Stage of Recovery in L’Aquila
Studies on the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in emergency situations are constantly increasing as new interactive technologies spread throughout the world. Most studies have focused on the response stage of disaster. This research concentrates on the use of ICTs in the recovery stage.
In particular, we investigated the use of ICTs to maintain contacts with friends and relatives after the massive changes occurred in the physical environment because of the disaster. We also analyzed the use of ICTs by the citizens to discuss the reconstruction process. Thirteen key people affected by central Italy’s 2009 L’Aquila earthquake were interviewed through focused interviews. Interviews were then transcribed and coded through a grounded theory approach and with support of the Maxqda software.
Consistent with the literature on this topic, results suggest that ICTs facilitate contacts in the real environment by allowing people to maintain their social network. On the other hand, the use of these new technologies can’t completely substitute for real contacts, recreating online the lost offline social network. Rather when the social life in the real environment is amputated, new interactive technologies work as a crutch.
Results suggest as well that the citizens use ICTs to discuss the recovery process, but that their sense of involvement is hindered by the lack of communication between them and authorities.
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.
Spatial Distribution of Tornadoes in Tornado Alley (1980-2011)
Every year, residents across the Great Plains and the Midwest experience a large number of tornadoes as severe weather develops in these regions. This area is known for having one of the highest frequencies of tornadoes in the United States and often referred to as “Tornado Alley.”
This study analyzes the spatial distribution of tornadoes over 30 years. Data was collected from the National Weather Service (NWS) and manipulated in ArcGIS. Emphasis was placed on examining any changes in tornado frequency, as well as understanding spatial shifts in tornadic activity. The study specifically focused on the density per square mile of tornadoes classified as EF3-EF5, tornado tracks, and tornado touchdown frequencies. It is essential to evaluate the frequency and duration of tornadoes to better understand how they impact the public.
A Comparative Study of Post-Disaster Rehabilitation Processes Between China and the United States—Case Study of Greensburg and Wenchuan
With the frequent occurrences of natural disasters, post-disaster rehabilitation has attracted more attention. How to rehabilitate the impacted area as soon as possible has become a difficult problem commonly faced all over the world. It includes eliminating disaster consequences, reducing disaster losses, ensuring regional recovery, and boosting development. This paper compares the processes of post-disaster rehabilitation in Greensburg, Kansas, which was hit by a severe tornado, with that in Wenchuan, China, which suffered a maginitude 8.0 earthquake. The comparison addresses institutions, framework, participation, planning, and policies.
The study shows that the two systems are typical “bottom-up” and “top-down” systems, each of which has pros and cons. In America, the government cooperates closely with communities, NGOs, foundations, and other private actors. The active public participation provides solid bases for planning and decision making.
In China, the local residents rarely participate in the decision making. However, the central government optimizes the nationwide resource allocation to effectively strengthen the ability of disaster reduction and rehabilitation. The implementation of the couplet-assistance policy and other policies greatly boost the post-disaster rehabilitation. The survey results in Wenchuan confirm the findings in comparison.
Integrating Behavioral Health During the Recovery Phase of a Disaster
While the response phase of disaster typically gets the most attention, more agencies and researchers are starting to consider the importance of the recovery phase. Disaster behavioral health personnel with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response are working on developing the first Colorado Behavioral Health Recovery Plan. A draft of the state behavioral health recovery plan, based on the recently released National Disaster Recovery Framework, was developed to define the purpose, benefits, and implementation of disaster behavioral health services during recovery in Colorado.
Disaster behavioral health services promote the restoration of cognitive functioning as well as a decrease in stress, which positively impact the brain. Benefits of behavioral health include improved brain functioning, meeting immediate needs, increased social support, and referrals for other services. As survivors are empowered to help themselves, their resilience also increases.
This poster demonstrates the importance of integrating behavioral health components during the recovery phase of a disaster or emergency event in Colorado. It synthesizes the practical experience from disaster behavioral health professionals, the most current research, lessons learned in past disasters, and other state planning documents. It also provides guidance to addressing psychological and social needs in recovery, supporting community recovery, and the ingredients necessary to restore long term healthy psychological and social functioning following a disaster or extreme event.
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. Particularly, 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. The governments and private citizens will 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 and 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.