August 30, 2002


  1. American Red Cross Announces Long-term Program
  2. Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction's Research Network
  3. From a Reader
  4. Another Quick Response Report from the Natural Hazards Center
  5. A Few Recent Research Grants
  6. Southern California Earthquake Center Announces New Research Program
  7. Hazards Researchers Wanted!
  8. Storm Shelter Standard for Design, Construction, and Performance
  9. 2002 Hazards Workshop Session Summaries Available On-Line
  10. City-County Collaborations on Disaster Mitigation
  11. Because it's Affiliated with the Disaster Research Center
  12. Lessons from New York City
  13. Some New Web Resources
  14. Conferences and Training

Long-term American Red Cross Program

The American Red Cross (ARC) announced that it is beginning a long-term recovery program for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that will allow it to continue providing support for the nearly 50,000 families that have been directly affected by September 11. This announcement marks the second phase of ARC's disaster relief efforts, which are slated to last for three to five years.

As of August 1, 2002, ARC projected that it will distribute $708 million in direct financial assistance to those in need. In addition, more than $133 million will be earmarked for the September 11 recovery program. ARC is providing long-term services to all clients that are eligible for assistance, including family members of those lost in attacks, the seriously injured and their families, rescue and recovery workers, and displaced residents. ARC will coordinate its activities with a number of other agencies and organizations. The recovery program is comprised of five major initiatives: long-term mental health services, long-term health care services, family support services, assistance to residents in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, and community coordination.

For complete information see: http://www.redcross.org/press/disaster/ds_pr/020821longterm.html.

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction's Research Network

The Canadian insurance community, in collaboration with the University of Western Ontario, established the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) in 1998. The Institute's mandate is to reduce the loss of life and property caused by severe weather, earthquakes and other natural phenomena through improving Canada's capacity to adapt to, anticipate, mitigate, withstand, and recover from natural disasters.

The Institute is pleased to announce the creation of a "Natural Disaster Health Research Network," to develop a foundation of scientific evidence concerning the health and social impacts of extreme weather-related events. The objective of the network is to address issues related to mental health, physical injury, preparedness, population displacement, public health infrastructure, and occupational health hazards that are affected by extreme weather events. Network participants will help identify critical research needs and work to collaboratively build effective strategies to help communities across Canada successfully adapt to a changing climate.

The network is seeking members from multi-disciplinary research backgrounds. To be successful, many types of scientists, including health and social science practitioners must be involved to marshal the evidence needed to establish research priorities for disaster health issues. If you are interested in receiving additional information about this or any other of ICLR's programs, see: http://www.iclr.org; e-mail: info@iclr.org.

From a Reader

Dear Disaster Research,

The NWS is the only organization that has maintained a long-term record of flood damage throughout the U.S. The NWS data are estimates of direct physical damage due to flooding that results from rainfall or snowmelt. The data are obtained from diverse sources and compiled soon after each flood event. However, historically, they have not been verified by any type of comparison with actual expenditures. Therefore, a primary objective of the study was to examine the scope, accuracy, and consistency of the NWS damage estimates with the goal of improving the data sets and offering recommendations on how they can be appropriately used and interpreted.

I am interested in finding publically available hazards data sources for research that I am conducting. I am especially interested in quantitative data (such as survey results pertaining to risk, preparedness behavior, etc.) related to hurricanes. I have been trying to track down information, but am not completely sure where to find it. Do any DR readers know of databases, centers, or other places that I can turn to? Thank-you.

William E. Lovekamp
Department of Sociology MC4524
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL
office (618) 453-2494
direct (618)453-7622
fax (618) 453-8926
e-mail blovekamp@hotmail.com

Another Quick Response Report from the Natural Hazards Center

Although much of the information regarding September 11 deals with the events in New York City and Washington, D.C., the small town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, also suffered a terrible blow with the crash of United Flight 93. Quick Response (QR) Report 157 is titled, "Terrorism in Shanksville: A Study in Preparedness and Response," by Nancy K. Grant, David H. Hoover, Annemarie Scarisbrick-Hauser, and Stacy L. Muffet, all of the University of Akron. The report examines the extent to which response to a disaster in a small town/rural area involving multiple emergency response jurisdictional entities is enhanced by conscientious exercise of existing emergency response plans and personal knowledge of and trust in fellow emergency responders, especially those in charge.

Copies of QR 157 are available free at: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/qr/qr157/qr157.html. A complete list of all Quick Response Reports can be found at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/qr/qr.html.

A Few Recent Research Grants

Automated System for Improving Post-Disaster Emergency Response. Funding: U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, $2.5 million, 60 months. Principal Investigator: Jams Llinas, Center for Multisource Information Fusion, State University of New York–Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 14260; e-mail: llinas@eng.buffalo.edu.

Exploratory Research to Define Streamlining Opportunities for Construction Permitting in Disaster Recovery. Funding: National Science Foundation, $26,549, 12 months. Principal Investigator: Daniel Berg, Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 118 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180; e-mail: bergd@rpi.edu.

Coordination of Heterogeneous Teams (Humans, Agents, Robots) for Emergency Response. Funding: National Science Foundation, $1,400,000, 48 months. Principal Investigators: Katia P. Sycara, Michael Lewis, and Illah Reza Nourbakhsh, Robotics Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Newell-Simon Hall 1602D, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; e-mail: sycara@cs.cmu.edu.

Sensor-Based Seismic Performance and Safety Enhancement of Elevators in Buildings. Funding: National Science Foundation, $298,696, 60 months. Principal Investigator: Mahendra P. Singh, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 301 Burruss Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061; (540) 231-6000; e-mail: mpsing@vt.edu.

An Integrated Transportation Network Reliability Analysis Framework. Funding: National Science Foundation, $375,000, 36 months. Principal Investigator: Anthony Chen, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322; e-mail: achen@cc.usu.edu.

Southern California Earthquake Center Announces New Research Program

The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) has been awarded $10 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF)to develop computing capabilities that will lead to better forecasts of when and where earthquakes are likely to occur in southern California, and how the ground will shake as a result. The project team includes researchers from SCEC, the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at University of Southern California, the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC), the Incorporated Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The goal of the project is to create an on-line collaborative laboratory -- a "collaboratory" -- which will allow scientists from across the country to conduct research together more effectively than is currently possible. This facility will be called the "SCEC Community Modeling Environment."

SCEC was founded in 1991 to gather new information about earthquakes in Southern California, integrate existing knowledge into a comprehensive and predictive understanding of earthquake phenomena, and communicate this understanding to end users and the general public to increase earthquake awareness, reduce economic losses, and save lives. Funding for SCEC activities is provided by NSF and the U.S. Geological Survey. The SCEC Communication, Education, and Outreach Program offers student research experiences, web-based education tools, classroom curricula, museum displays, public information brochures, on-line newsletters, and technical workshops and publications.

For more information, visit: http://www.scec.org/; e-mail: scecinfo@usc.edu; (213) 740-5843.

Hazards Researchers Wanted!

If you are a researcher interested in studying a disaster within hours or days of the event, here is an opportunity for you. The Natural Hazards Center is now soliciting proposals for its FY 2003 Quick Response (QR) Research Program, which enables social scientists from the U.S. to conduct short-term studies immediately after a disaster in order to collect data that would otherwise be lost.

Applicants with approved proposals are eligible to receive funding to carry out their investigation, should an appropriate disaster occur in the coming 12 months. Grants average between $1,000 and $3,000 and essentially cover food, lodging, and travel expenses. In return, grantees must submit a report of their findings, which is published by the Natural Hazards Center both on the World Wide Web and in hard copy.

Details about proposal submission can be found at: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/qr2003.html, or by requesting a "2003 QR Program Announcement" from Mary Fran Myers, Natural Hazards Center, 482 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0482; (303) 492-6818; fax: (303) 492-2151; e-mail: myersmf@colorado.edu. The deadline for proposal submission is October 16, 2002.

Storm Shelter Standard for Design, Construction, and Performance

The design and performance of storm shelters for in-residence and community shelters for hurricanes and tornadoes will soon be standardized under a regulation agreement between the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA). Using a consensus-based process, the organizations will solicit input from an array of stakeholders, and will also consolidate existing provisions currently published by NSSA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the American Red Cross. The standard will ensure consistency and provide measurable and enforceable provisions for storm shelter design. It is estimated that over 100,000 shelters have been built in the U.S. during the last three years.

For complete information, contact the International Code Council, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Falls Church, VA 22041; (703) 931-4533; (703) 379-1546; http://www.intlcode.org.

2002 Hazards Workshop Session Summaries Available On-Line

In many ways, September 11 changed the way researchers, practitioners, and others interested in hazards and disasters view the world. In many ways it did not. As hazards professionals from around the world gathered in Boulder, Colorado, in July, to participate in the 27th Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop, discussions focused on how the lessons of the past help inform our future and whether terrorism should usurp our long-standing concern with hazard mitigation.

To ensure that the ideas and discussions generated are shared with those who did not attend the workshop, the Natural Hazards Center publishes brief summaries of each session, abstracts of the hazards research presented, and descriptions of the projects and programs discussed at the meeting.

Currently, the list of all session summaries, along with complete ordering information, is available on-line at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/ss/ss.html. In the near future, the complete text of all session summaries, poster sessions, and abstracts will also be available.

City-County Collaborations on Disaster Mitigation

Eight studies, each detailing partnerships between cities and counties partnering on disaster mitigation, are profiled in a report issued by the Joint Center for Sustainable Communities, an advisory committee for the National Association of Counties (NACo). The report is titled, City/County Collaborations on Disaster Mitigation: Borderless Solutions to a Borderless Problem.

The communities are collaborating on activities such as fire, flooding, hurricane, and tornado protection and preparedness. Profiled municipalities range from rural counties to small cities from the following states: Wisconsin, Oregon, Ohio, Kansas, North Carolina, Idaho, Washington, and Florida. Copies of the report are currently only available on-line in PDF format at: http://www.naco.org/programs/comm_dev/center/disasterbook.pdf. Hard copies may be available in the coming months. For more information, contact Martin Harris at NACo, Joint Center for Sustainable Communities, 440 First Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 661-8805; fax: (202) 737-0480; e-mail: mharris@naco.org.

Because it's Affiliated with the Disaster Research Center

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware invites applications for a tenure-track position beginning September 1, 2003. The department is seeking a candidate with a specialization in research methods to offer quantitative methods courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level and to advise undergraduate and graduate students' research. The position is open to candidates in any area that contributes to the department's mission. The department is affiliated with the Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies and the Disaster Research Center; these centers offer opportunities for scholars interested in collaborative research. To apply, send an application letter describing your teaching and research interests, curriculum vitae, three letters of reference and recent articles and papers to: Ronet Bachman, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716. The application deadline is October 15, 2002.

Lessons from New York City

The World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001, was unparalleled in nature and magnitude. The actions of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD)facilitated the safe evacuation of more than 25,000 people, the most successful urban emergency evacuation in modern history. Earlier this year, the Fire and Police Departments of the City of New York enlisted the services of McKinsey and Company on a pro-bono basis to identify both the effective and ineffective aspects of the response to the attack on the World Trade Center. The independent reports confirm the tremendous bravery of the members of the FDNY, NYPD and the Port Authority. The reviews are based on extensive interviews, surveys and documentary records from within both agencies with the intent of helping the city be better prepared for large-scale emergencies in the future.

Recommendations for improvements in the emergency response capability for both the NYPD and FDNY include: clearly defining roles and responsibilities, enhancing mobilization procedures, establishing comprehensive preparedness and scenario-based training, improving inter-departmental communication and equipment distribution, creating specialized incident management teams, improving staging procedures, and flexible family and member support services.

Both city agencies have already enacted a number of initiatives and procedures based on report recommendations. The full reports can be found at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/mck_report/toc.html (FDNY) and http://www.mipt.org/pdf/nypdlessonslearned9-11.pdf (NYPD).

Some New Web Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we've discovered. For an extensive list of useful Internet sites dealing with hazards, see http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/sites/sites.html]

This site contains a GIS-based model for estimating mainstream flood risk in urban areas on a per address basis. The first application of this model was completed in March 2002. The methodology lets users determine risk according to zip code (in specific areas of Australia).

Conferences and Training

[Below are some recent announcements received by the Natural Hazards Center. A comprehensive list of upcoming hazards-related meetings and training is available from our World Wide Web site: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/conf.html]

National Weather Service Flash Flood Workshop. Host: University Center for Atmospheric Research. Boulder, Colorado: August 27-29, 2002. A draft agenda may be viewed at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/flashflood/workshop/2002FFW.shtml.

Living With Disaster: Mental Health Issues for Health Care Providers and First Responders, an Interactive Satellite Teleconference. Host: U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Readiness Force (USPHS/CCRF). Satellite Downlink: September 4, 2002, 3:00 p.m. EDT. This interactive teleconference will focus on mental health issues first responders and health care providers must deal during and after major disaster response operations. Panelists will speak and then respond to phone, e-mail and fax questions. For information about where to view the teleconference in your state, or how to host a downlink, contact: Marc Wolfson, e-mail: mwolfson@osophs.dhhs.gov; (301) 443-3153. Video copies will also be available after the conference from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS); (800) 553-6847; http://www.ntis.gov.

Risk Communication and Terrorism: New Clinical Approaches. Host: Deployment Health Clinical Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Alexandria, Virginia: September 9-11, 2002. Join healthcare experts in devising recommendations for a proactive communications strategy to deliver consistent, accurate, and timely information about risks and complex bioterrorism and environmental threats. For more information, see: http://www.pdhealth.mil/education/seminars.asp;(202) 782-6563.

The Homeland Security Summit and Counter-Terrorism Drill. Sponsors: Consultants in Disease and Injury Control and Gibbs International. Atlanta, Georgia: September 17–20, 2002. The meeting will combine a national summit for education, discussion and training on issues of homeland security with challenging preparedness drills conducted by public safety workers. For more information contact: Marissa Ryan (206) 292-9198; http://www.securitysummit.org.

Chemical, Biological and Radiological Terrorism: Preparedness, Prevention and Management. Sponsor: National Institute of Government Innovation. Las Vegas, Nevada: September 18-20, 2002. This summit is organized to bring together all disciplines involved with chemical and biological terrorism. For more information contact: Kim Weiss; (212) 661-3500 ext. 3094; http://www.nigi.org/event.cfm/event/H0200/page/index.html.

River Basin Management: From Experience to Implementation (part of the trade fair Aquatech). Hosted by the European Water Association (EWA). Amsterdam, Holland: October 3-4, 2002. The conference addresses the European Union (EU) water framework directive with sessions on general experience, transboundary co-operation, case studies, and tools for river basin management. The conference is in English. For more information, contact: Kirsten Overmann;(49) 2242 872-189; fax (49) 2242 872-135, e-mail: overmann@atv.de; http://www.ewaonline.de/downloads/rbm_prog.pdf.

Second BioDefense Mobilization Conference and Exhibition. Sponsored by: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/School of Public Health (UMDNJ-SPH), Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the Public Health Research Institute. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: October 22-24,2002. Conference tracks include: public safety and responder protection, terrorism law and policy, workplace preparedness and the built environment, science and technology, public health and private medicine, and communications and training. For more information contact: Eric Swenson; (206) 334-7333; e-mail: info@biodefense.org; http://www.bio-defense.org.

New England Disaster Recovery Information X-change (NEDRIX) Annual Conference. Newport, Rhode Island: October 28-20, 2002. The conference will foster more effective disaster recovery and business continuity plans through the exchange of ideas and experiences. For more information: http://www.nedrix.com/100/101.htm.

Crisis Management 2002. Sponsor: International Air Transport Association. Vancouver, Canada: November 12-13, 2002. This conference will examine current issues in all aspects of aviation crisis management. For more information contact: Wendy Pashley; 020-8607-6242; e-mail: pashleyw@iata.org; http://www.iataonline.com/shop/lobby_event.asp?cat%5Fid=6.

2nd International Symposium: Detection Technologies, the Next Generation in Identification and Analysis. Host: Knowledge Foundation. Arlington, Virginia: December 5-6, 2002. The need for quick and accurate assessments of biological and chemical compounds has become a focal point for responders, and this conference will explore the latest research and detection technologies. For more information contact: custserv@knowledgefoundation.com; http://www.knowledgepress.com/events/7191716_p.pdf.

International Disaster Recovery Association (IDRA) Annual Meeting. Providence, Rhode Island: February 23-26, 2003. The theme for the 13th annual conference is "readiness, resilience, recovery, and reassessment," and all topics focus on telecom contingency planning. For more information: IDRA (508) 845-6000; e-mail: 2003@idra.com.

The 11th Annual Conference on Traumatic Stress. Host: Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS). League City, Texas: April 2-6, 2003. ATSS prepares and equips individuals who work in the area of trauma services, response, treatment and pastoral care. This year's conference will focus on self-care for the trauma work provider as well as traditional workshops that cover a variety of trauma-related topics. For more information contact: Jo Halligan (512) 868-3677; http:www.atss-hq.com.

Sixth U.S. Conference and Workshop on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering. Host: Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (TCLEE). Long Beach, California: August 10-13, 2002. The conference theme is Advancing Mitigation Technologies and Disaster Response, and the workshop is designed to provide the opportunity to bring together engineers, seismologists, geologists, social scientists, and managers to exchange information about earthquakes and lifeline performance. Abstracts are due October 1, 2003. For more information contact the American Society of Civil Engineers: (800) 548-2723; http://www.asce.org/conferences/tcless2002/.

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