The Disaster Research (DR) electronic newsletter is a moderated e-mail newsletter published by the Natural Hazards Center. DR comes out approximately twice monthly and comprises some of the news items that appear in center's printed newsletter, the Natural Hazards Observer, as well as other timely articles. In addition, it contains queries and messages from DR's many subscribers. DR is distributed worldwide via the Internet to over 2,800 people.
Disaster Research 398 November 26, 2003


November 26, 2003


  1. Scholarship Award in Planning and Natural Hazards
  2. RFP Issued for Flood-Resistant Local Roadways Case Studies
  3. A Request for Assistance on Measuring Mitigation
  4. Call for Papers for Special Journal Issue
  5. USC Named First Homeland Security Center of Excellence
  6. U.S. Fire Academy Develops CD-Based GIS Tutorial
  7. Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence
  8. AGI Congressional Science Fellowship
  9. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
  10. Some New Web Resources
  11. Conferences and Training

1) Scholarship Award in Planning and Natural Hazards

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), together with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), will grant one award recognizing scholarship in the general area of planning and natural hazards. Eligible papers must be accepted for presentation and presented at the ACSP conference October 21-24, 2004, in Portland, Oregon.

Papers should address land use or other types of planning that incorporate natural hazards, including, but not limited to: flooding, coastal erosion, land subsidence, earthquakes, or other geologic or meteorological hazard impacts that can be minimized through community, regional, or state planning. Undergraduate, graduate, and joint faculty/student papers are eligible. For joint faculty/student papers, the student must be the first author and designated presenter of the paper.

Abstracts may be submitted directly to the ACSP conference organizers between January 5 and February 16, 2004. Abstract submission procedures can be found at

At the same time, copies of the abstracts should be sent by e-mail to the ACSP-IBHS committee chair (e-mail below) with a cover memo indicating intent to submit a paper for the ACSP-IBHS award.

Only papers accepted for presentation at the conference are eligible for the award. Authors whose abstracts are accepted for presentation at the conference should submit their final papers electronically to the ACSP-IBHS committee chair by May 25, 2004. Papers are not to exceed 20 pages. Papers will be reviewed during the summer of 2004 with notification in September 2004.

Send abstract submissions to Robert Paterson, Graduate Program in Community and Regional Planning, School of Architecture and Planning, The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712-1160; e-mail:;

2) RFP Issued for Flood-Resistant Local Roadways Case Studies

The American Lifelines Alliance (ALA) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a project titled "Case Report Studies on Local Roadway Systems Subjected to Flood Hazards." Through a series of case studies, this project will document examples of flood-preparedness planning, flood occurrence, and post-flood repair/upgrade measures for local roadway transportation systems. The project will focus on the decision-making process in each case study, including data describing the alternative risk-reduction measures that were considered; the economic, legal, political, and other factors considered by the transportation agency during its decision-making process (before and after flood events); how the local transportation system fared during actual floods; the implications of these experiences for future acceptable-risk assessments and decision-making; and the possible need for future development of non-mandatory decision-making guidelines.

ALA is managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). It is a public-private partnership with the goal of reducing risks to lifelines (utility and transportation systems) from a variety of hazards. For more details about this RFP, contact Joe Steller, ALA Program, c/o NIBS, 1090 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 289-7800 ext. 130; e-mail:;

3) A Request for Assistance on Measuring Mitigation

Although those working on natural disaster reduction believe that disaster mitigation "pays," there is surprisingly little hard evidence in support of this statement. This is a critical gap in risk management. Many agencies remain reluctant to commit significant funds to risk reduction until it can be proved that it is a cost-effective use of resources.

Planning and appraisal methods used in development and mitigation projects tend to bypass the question. For example, although structural mitigation measures usually undergo cost-benefit (CBA) and related analysis, the costs and benefits of incorporating a wider range of mitigation features into development projects more generally are often ignored. Similarly, environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines used in development projects do not require assessment of the potential impact of natural hazards on a project, and so do not identify possible mitigation needs that should be addressed. Monitoring and evaluation of risk reduction initiatives tend to be short-term and tied to project cycles with a focus on initiative outputs (e.g. numbers trained in disaster planning, area sown with drought-resistant seeds), rather than impact (e.g. the extent to which lives, assets and livelihoods are better protected during disasters).

A new project managed by the ProVention Consortium seeks to address these problems by developing guidelines on how project appraisal methodologies can be adapted to consider risks from natural hazards, and on appropriate ways of monitoring the impact of risk reduction.

The first stage of the project is a review of existing methodologies and practices across a range of agencies, geographical locations, scales of operation and development/disaster contexts. This work is being carried out by two independent researchers, who would welcome any help that development and disaster management agencies and others can give, especially obtaining copies of project planning and evaluation methodologies, providing "good practice" examples of hazard risk appraisal in project planning, and "good practice" examples of evaluations of the impact of risk reduction measures.

If you can provide such material, know where it might be found, or have other ideas that might benefit the project, contact the research team: Charlotte Benson, e-mail:; or John Twigg, e-mail: General information about the ProVention Consortium can be found at

4) Call for Papers for Special Journal Issue

The "International Journal of Water Resources Development" (IJWRD) is seeking paper submissions for a special issue on water and disasters. Contributions could be empirical studies, case histories, conceptual-theoretical investigations, policy perspectives, institutional analysis, and risk analysis, among others. All papers selected for consideration will be peer-reviewed. The issue will be released in June 2005.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, integrated disaster risk management's application to floods and famines, institutional dimensions of flood risk management, case histories of major flood disasters or famines, public-private partnerships, water impacts on earthquakes, hurricanes, and typhoons, human and societal hazards of floods and famines, information dissemination, and the cultural context of floods and famines.

The deadline for submission of complete papers (with a maximum length of 25 double-spaced pages), prepared in accordance with the guidelines of IJWRD, is June 1, 2004. Submit papers in triplicate (1 electronic version and 2 hardcopies) to: Chennat Gopalakrishnan, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, 1910 East-West Road, Sherman Lab 118, Honolulu, HI 96822-2279; (808) 956-7497; e-mail:

5) USC Named First Homeland Security Center of Excellence

The University of Southern California (USC) was recently chosen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the first university to house a Homeland Security Center of Excellence. DHS anticipates providing the university with $12 million over the next three years to support the study of risks and economic consequences related to terrorist threats and events. DHS and USC are currently negotiating these grants.

Homeland Security Centers of Excellence were mandated by the Homeland Security Act. DHS anticipates selecting up to nine additional centers in the next few years. The USC center, to be known as the "Homeland Security Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events," will address both the targets and means of terrorism, emphasizing protection of the nation's critical infrastructure systems, such as electrical power, transportation, and telecommunications. Specifically, the center anticipates developing computer models and tools for planning responses to emergencies that will minimize the threat to human lives and reduce economic impacts.

More information about USC's Homeland Security Center of Excellence, can be found on the following web sites: and General information on the Center of Excellence program is available from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security web site:

6) U.S. Fire Academy Develops CD-Based GIS Tutorial

Every year, more fire departments are implementing GIS in their departments as the tool of choice for geographical analysis and display of department activities. To facilitate this, the U.S. Fire Academy (USFA) has released a first edition CD-ROM based GIS Tutorial.

This CD-ROM serves as an introduction to GIS for the fire service and offers links to more advanced information and key resources, including the United States National Grid - North American Datum 1983 (USNG-NAD83) standard.

Included with the CD-ROM is a video called "Mapping the Future of Fire." This video shows community "enterprise GIS" concepts and real fire department uses for GIS, on the apparatus and in the office, implemented from scratch for the Wilson, North Carolina, Fire Department.

The USFA NFIRS/GIS Introduction and Tutorial can be obtained at no cost from the USFA publications center, FA-259).

7) Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence

The Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence (CCEE) is seeking interested experts in the field of emergency management at colleges and universities to join a small working committee to develop a "Vulnerability Assessment for Colleges and Universities." The committee will be an important element of a recently awarded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) project to the Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence (C2E2). The project will last approximately one year after which the final checklist will be provided to EPA Region 1 New England.

The goal of the assessment is to help identify programmatic, management, operational, facility, and security weaknesses at colleges and universities and to assist colleges and universities to analyze and manage vulnerabilities to reduce or eliminate hazards and address emergency planning and management issues.

The committee will review the materials developed by C2E2, keeping in mind that the current and or best "industry" standards and practices address current thinking and trends in the area of emergency management, and that it will serve as a productive tool and meet the needs of a college or university.

If you are interested in being a part of this small (up to 5 people) working committee, please contact Suzanne Howard by December 2, 2003; c/o Nexus Environmental Partners at One Financial Center in Boston, MA; (781) 784-4726; e-mail:;

8) AGI Congressional Science Fellowship

The American Geological Institute (AGI) is offering a congressional science fellowship for the geosciences. The fellow will spend 12-16 months (beginning in September 2004) in Washington, D.C., working as a staffer for a member of congress or a congressional committee. This is an opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the legislative process and contribute to the effective and timely use of geoscientific knowledge on natural hazards, the environment, and science policy.

The minium requirement is a master's degree with at least three years of post-degree work, or a Ph.D. at the time of appointment. All application materials must be postmarked by February 1, 2004, and sent to the William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellowship, AGI, 4220 King Street, Alexandria VA 22302-1502; e-mail:;

9) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

[Below are a few recent job vacancies that are related to some of the myriad activities in which DR readers engage. Please contact the organizations directly for more information.]

Executive Director of NEES Consortium, Inc.

The NEES Consortium is seeking an Executive Director to work with its members and the board of directors to manage the recently established George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). NEES Consortium, Inc., a California nonprofit corporation, has submitted a multi-million dollar proposal to the National Science Foundation for 10 years of operation, beginning October 1, 2004. Funding for a six-month startup effort is anticipated to enable the hiring of an executive director beginning April 1, 2004. The board of directors is looking for an exceptional leader and spokesperson with a strong vision for NEES, extensive related experience, the ability to work with a diverse array of stakeholders, and an aptitude for information technology issues.

Applications are due on February 10, 2004. A detailed job description can be found at and further information on NEES can be found at Specific questions about this position can be directed to Ian Buckle, NEES, 1301 South 46th Street, Richmond, CA 94804; (775) 784-1519; e-mail:

FEMA - Physical Scientist (Science Writer)

This position is located in the Outreach and Partnership Branch of the Risk Communications Division. The Risk Communications Division provides the focal point for the development of information, implementation, and evaluation of Mitigation Division communications. The Outreach and Partnership Branch has lead in developing networks and relationships for the purpose of building communication systems, whereby broad engagement in mutually beneficial activities are taken to reduce risk from all hazards. The incumbent will perform substantive review and analysis of critical multidisciplinary problems affecting a major agency program.

Requirements include the ability to analyze complex technical and scientific information and effectively communicate this information both orally and in writing to a variety of audiences at different levels. Position responsibilities include the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) data, relational databases, and spatial analysis. Applicants should be accomplished science writers or communicators and comfortable delving into the technical to communicate with non-technical audiences. The incumbent will exercise a broad degree of independence and apply authoritative judgment in developing and maintaining relationships with various stakeholders in the government, private industry, and universities.

The closing date for this position is December 19, 2003. Complete information, including a detailed job description, is available at (search MT-03-437A).

Emergency Response Specialist

The Virtual Medical Campus (VMC) at West Virginia University is accepting applications for a federally funded emergency response specialist.

The incumbent will develop and coordinate outreach activities and training curricula for emergency preparedness projects, including designing and implementing emergency management training exercises, and reviewing policy and procedure documents and preparedness plans relating to emergency preparedness and response.

A master's degree in emergency management or a related field is required, along with five years of experience in delivery of continuing education and training exercises for first and emergency responders and experience in developing policies and procedures for emergency planning. A combination of education and experience that provides the required knowledge will be considered. Ability to pass a law enforcement background investigation is required. A complete job description and list of requirements are available at (scroll down to job title).

Application are due by December 19, 2003. Cover letter, resume, and three work-related references must be e-mailed to with"Emergency Response Specialist" in the subject line.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

Hennepin County is looking to hire an emergency preparedness coordinator to help local jurisdictions with emergency planning. The county's emergency preparedness division develops plans and programs that maintain a state of readiness to meet natural, human-made and technological disasters on a local or countywide basis. This division also coordinates and maintains inventories of disaster resources in the county, both public and private, and plans for the effective utilization of resources in the county.

Successful candidates will have a college degree in emergency management or an approved equivalent academic area plus two years of experience related to emergency management. Additional experience may be substituted for a part of the education requirement. The ideal candidate will have experience in emergency management at the federal, state, county or local level, and the skill to establish and maintain positive working relationships with county departments and local jurisdictions. Certification as an emergency manager by the federal government or the State of Minnesota is desirable. A valid drivers license with a satisfactory driving record including no more than two violations in the past three years of licensure is also required.

Applications are due by December 5, 2003, and must be submitted to Human Resources Department, A-400 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487; (612) 348-2163; e-mail:;

Firemen's Association Executive Director

The South Carolina State Firemen's Association is seeking a highly motivated, progressive individual for the position of executive director. This position will be located in Columbia, South Carolina. The executive director supervises all association employees and serves as the chief financial officer. Responsible for daily administrative operation of the association, implementation of the strategic plan, supervision of the Firemen's Inspection Fund, and special event coordination. The incumbent must be a registered lobbyist in South Carolina and serve as the point of contact for federal fire legislation. Extensive travel required, and five years of command level fire service experience is preferred. Submit a resume, including references and a State of S.C. employment application, to P.O. Box 67, Simpsonville, S.C. 29681. Mark the outside of the envelope "Executive Director Application." Applications are due by December 31, 2003.

10) 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]
The Institute of Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has posted presentations from insurance company representatives, emergency management officials, academics, government officials and others, who presented at the IBHS annual congress.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Fire Safety Council have joined to create a one-stop information resource for residential fire safety and prevention information that is distributed by the federal government.
The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) announces a new and updated web site, along with uploading the proceedings and papers from past TIEMS conferences.
The Coastal Risk Atlas (CRA), is a project of the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) undertaken jointly with the NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC). CRA is an online risk/vulnerability tool related to coastal storms. The site features several internet map services detailing hazard, demographic, and critical facility layers for the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Northeast Florida. It also includes a map service containing layers of national interest and an additional map service linking to real-time observations.
The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) announces its latest web-based training tool on the Incident Command System (ICS). The web site highlights planning and preparation and the implementation of an ICS system, and includes a section on safety aspects outlining OSHA standards that affect ICS workers, and provides additional guidance information applicable to emergency response safety and health.
The West Virginia statewide flood protection task force is in the final stages of development of a statewide flood protection plan. The task force consists of more than 70 representatives of more than 20 state and federal agencies. This site has the draft plan available for viewing. For additional information, e-mail Russ Campbell at, or Richard Drum at
The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) has posted abstracts of the articles in the volume "Beyond September 11th: An Account of Post-disaster Research," published by the Natural Hazards Center on its web site. These articles were authored by researchers who received grants to study the effects of September 11, 2001.
"Snow Avalanche Management in Forested Terrain," a Ministry of Forests, Forest Science Program of British Columbia publication, is available on-line in PDF format. The book addresses snow and avalanche phenomena in a forestry setting and outlines harvest design and silvicultural strategies to reduce avalanche risk.

11) 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 web site:]

Earthquake Ground Motions in Mid-America. Sponsor: Mid-America Earthquake Center. Memphis, Tennessee: December 4-5, 2003. This workshop will present the latest research and current guidelines for assessing seismic ground motions. Registration information is available from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Office of Continuing Education, 400 Engineering Hall, 1308 West Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801; (217) 244-2037; e-mail:;

Critical Incident Stress Management Conference. Sponsor: International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF). Houston, Texas: February 5-8, 2004. Courses in the two sessions of this conference cover group crisis intervention, law enforcement perspectives, individual crisis intervention and peer support, responding to school crises, and more. Complete details are available from ICISF, 3290 Pine Orchard Lane, Suite 106, Ellicott City, MD 21042; (410) 750-9600;

Critical Incident Stress Management Conference. Sponsor: International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF). Anchorage, Alaska: February 26-29, 2004. Courses in the two sessions of this conference cover group crisis intervention, law enforcement perspectives, individual crisis intervention and peer support, responding to school crises, and more. Complete details are available from ICISF, 3290 Pine Orchard Lane, Suite 106, Ellicott City, MD 21042; (410) 750-9600;

Wildland Fire 2004. Sponsors: International Association of Wildland Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Reno, Nevada: March 3-5, 2004. This conference will bring together fire service leaders at the local, state, and federal levels to address a critical problem facing fire departments all over the world - the wildland/urban interface. Registration information is available from the International Association of Wildland Fire c/o IAFC 4025 Fair Ridge Drive, Fairfax, VA 22033; e-mail:;

Spring World 2004. Sponsor: Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ). Orlando, Florida: March 7-10, 2004. This business continuity conference includes a variety of pre- and post-conference courses to supplement the conference tracks, presentations, and networking opportunities provided on an array of topics including dealing with the knowledge crisis, operational resiliency, terrorism response, lessons learned from past disasters, business recovery plans, continuity issues, and more. For more information contact DRJ, P.O. Box 510110, St. Louis, MO 63151;

Disaster Response Conference 2004. Sponsors: Chesapeake Health Education Program (CHEP), and the National Disaster Medical System. Dallas, Texas: April 17-21, 2004. The conference will promote interaction between local, state, and federal public health practitioners and policy makers. Practitioners from a variety of agencies as well as volunteer and academic entities will present on key topics such as counter-terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, clinical medicine, mental health, response teams, and international coordination. Conference details can be found through CHEP/NDMS Headquarters, 11E Building 82H, Perry Point, MD 21902; (410) 642-1857;

14th World Conference on Disaster Management. Sponsor: Canadian Center for Emergency Preparedness (CCEP). Toronto, Canada: June 20-23, 2004. The conference will address issues common to all aspects of disasters and emergency management. Abstracts are due December 12, 2003. For detailed information contact CCEP, 1005 Skyview Drive, Suite 323, Burlington, Ontario L7P 5B1 Canada; (905) 331 2552;

Smart Structures Technology and Earthquake Engineering. Sponsors: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the Asia-Pacific Network of Earthquake Engineering Research. Osaka, Japan: July 6-9, 2004. Earthquake engineering has undergone a transformation from discipline-oriented investigations to center and network-based efforts that rely on cross-cutting solutions. This symposium is dedicated to facilitating that shift. Paper abstracts are due by January 9, 2004. Further information is available from Ma Hua, Osaka University, Osaka Japan; e-mail:;

International Snow Science Workshop 2004. Sponsors: American Avalanche Association, the American Avalanche Institute, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation. Jackson Hole, Wyoming: September 19-24, 2004. Snow scientist and avalanche practitioners from many nations will meet to present papers and exchange information. The meeting will continue the theme of past workshops on merging theory and practice. Registration information and workshop details are available from the International Snow Science Workshop, American Avalanche Institute, P.O. Box 308, Wilson, WY 83014; (307) 733-3315; e-mail:;

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