November 19, 2004


  1. FEMA/EPA Community Planning Fellowship Program
  2. RFP for Assessing Utility and Transportation Interdependencies
  3. CDC Releases Public Health Emergency Response Guide
  4. Affirmation of "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" in an Earthquake
  5. Reader Request: Acceptable Risk Levels
  6. Call for Papers: Extreme Impact Assessment
  7. USFA Course Prepares EMS Responders for Multiple Casualty Events
  8. PRIMA Annual Conference Student Scholarship Program
  9. Joint Fire Science Program Issues Announcements for Proposals
  10. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
  11. Some New Web Resources
  12. Conferences and Training

1) FEMA/EPA Community Planning Fellowship Program

In an effort to raise awareness and ensure that hazard mitigation is effectively incorporated into future urban and rural planning, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announces its 2005-2006 Community Planning Fellowship. Open to graduate planning students, the fellowship program offers fellows an opportunity to familiarize themselves with hazard mitigation as an aspect of planning. This year, the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has joined with FEMA to provide funding to support the fellows’ exploration of how communities, regional organizations, and states can effectively address watershed planning and floodplain management issues.

Graduate students selected to receive a fellowship will be provided with funding sufficient to support one year of field research focusing on local and state hazard mitigation and community planning issues. The fellowships will involve orientation work at FEMA and EPA headquarters and at other federal agencies in Washington, DC, extensive fieldwork within communities to be selected jointly by the student and FEMA, and independent study follow-up work during the 2005-2006 academic year.

The application deadline is January 31, 2005. Download the announcement and application at http://www.nibs.org/MMC/mmcactiv4.html.

2) RFP for Assessing Utility and Transportation Interdependencies

The American Lifelines Alliance (ALA) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a project titled "Assessing the Role of Utility and Transportation System Interdependencies in the Response and Recovery from the Recent Florida Hurricanes." This project will investigate and document case-history data on the role of interdependencies among utility and transportation lifelines in the posthurricane response in Florida after Hurricanes Charlie, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne in August-September 2004. The project will address how these interdependencies affected utility and transportation operations and serviceability and lessons learned from these hurricanes that would be useful for developing improved collaborative and individual plans and procedures for use during and after future hurricanes.

The American Lifelines Alliance, which is managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, is a public-private partnership with the goal of reducing risks to lifelines (utility and transportation systems) from a variety of hazards.

To obtain the RFP, contact Joe Steller at jsteller@nibs.org.

3) CDC Releases Public Health Emergency Response Guide

State, local, and tribal public health departments play an extremely important role in all-hazards emergency preparedness and response. Public health professionals within these departments should have immediate access to guidance and information that will assist them in rapidly establishing priorities and undertaking necessary actions during the response to an emergency or disaster. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, Environmental Public Health Readiness Branch has developed an all-hazards public health emergency response guide to address this need.

The “Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors” is an all-hazards reference tool for health professionals who are responsible for initiating the public health response during the first 24 hours (i.e., the acute phase) of an emergency or disaster. It provides useful information on the activation and integration of a jurisdiction's public health system into the existing overall emergency response structure during the acute phase of an incident. It also contains guidance that may be unique to specific types of incidents, such as floods, earthquakes, and acts of terrorism.

The guide is not a substitute for emergency preparedness activities and is not intended to replace existing emergency operations plans, procedures, or guidelines within a jurisdiction's health department. It is consistent with the doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes in the National Response Plan and the National Incident Management System.

A pocket-sized field version of the guide will be available in January 2005. The guide will also be presented and distributed each month at the Louisville Metro Community-Based Emergency Response Program in Louisville, Kentucky (http://health.loukymetro.org/). To download a copy of “Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors,” visit the CDC's Emergency Preparedness and Response Web site at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/. For more information, contact Martin A. Kalis at (770) 488-4568 or Gary Rhyne at (770) 488-7104 or e-mail pherg@cdc.gov.

4) Affirmation of "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" in an Earthquake

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has posted information on its Web site that affirms the earthquake safety advice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" and provides accurate illustrations showing the proper procedure. This was done in response to a flurry of inquiries that asked FEMA and other agencies if the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on" remained accurate. This information is available at http://www.fema.gov/hazards/earthquakes/nehrp/hold.shtm.

The National Disaster Education Coalition also has a statement about this issue, titled "Triangle of Life," on its Web site at http://www.disastereducation.org/guide_tech_issues.html.

5) Reader Request: Acceptable Risk Levels

I'm working in the fields of landslide hazard and risk analysis. At the moment I'm confronted by problems that arise in defining acceptable risk levels. Defining such risk levels is crucial to the preparation of natural risk maps (risk here is defined as the product of hazard, vulnerability, and the "value" of the elements at risk). Without having defined acceptable risk levels that can be used in the preparation of risk maps, the resulting risk maps might show risky areas which are "only" risky due to the subjective choice of the risk levels.

Until now, Iceland is the only country I know of that has implemented acceptable risk levels for snow avalanches and landslides in national law. They have defined these risk levels by comparing them with the risks of dying in traffic accidents. In Hong Kong, at least interim acceptable risk levels are defined. Although it may be problematic to stick to the psychometric paradigm (meaning that it might not be possible to compare different risks to use such an approach for defining acceptable risks), it is a way that allows the Icelandic Government and the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) that is responsible for the execution of the risk assessment to reduce snow avalanche and landslide risks.

Does anyone know of other countries, states, etc. that are operating with implemented acceptable risk levels that consider either natural or technological risks? Furthermore, I'm interested in alternatives for how acceptable risks can be defined or how they have already been defined.

Contact Rainer Bell, Geographisches Institut, Universitat Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn, Germany; 0228/73-7480; e-mail: rainer@joyce.giub.uni-bonn.de.

6) Call for Papers: Extreme Impact Assessment

The Disasters and Conflict section of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) is looking for paper proposals for the IAIA 05 meeting in Boston from May 31-June 3, 2005. The Extreme Impact Assessment: Dealing with Conflict, Disasters, and other Extreme Events workshop will provide an opportunity for those engaged in impact assessment for conflict, disasters, and other crisis events to share and explain the different approaches used in working in extreme conditions. Papers that present and discuss practical aspects of impact assessment in disaster, conflict, and other types of crisis situations are encouraged. Full papers will be published by IAIA and will be posted to a dedicated Web page for public access. In addition, papers may be selected for publication in an appropriate professional journal. Each presentation should be approximately 20 minutes in length.

Further information on the sessions can be acquired by contacting C. Kelly at 72734.2412@compuserve.com. Additional information about IAIA and the Boston conference can be found at http://www.iaia.org/.

7) USFA Course Prepares EMS Responders for Multiple Casualty Events

The U.S. Fire Administration is offering a new online course designed to help emergency medical service (EMS) personnel respond more effectively when faced with a multiple casualty incident. The new independent study course, EMS Operations at Multicasualty Incidents, Q157, is a four hour, Web-based course that addresses preparedness planning; incident management; safe and efficient triage, treatment, and transportation of patients; and the de-escalation of the response. Access the course at http://www.training.fema.gov/.

8) PRIMA Annual Conference Student Scholarship Program

The Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) offers five student scholarships to its annual public risk management conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 5-8, 2005. As part of its dedication to promoting risk management, PRIMA offers this scholarship program to introduce students to the possibilities of a career in the public sector. Scholarships are open to students of risk management and insurance, occupational safety, or a related field and cover registration, meals, hotel accommodations, and transportation during the four-day conference. Each scholarship recipient is also matched with a risk management professional who serves as a mentor before, during, and after the conference.

Applications must be received by PRIMA no later than February 21, 2005. For more information, contact Heather Ripley; (703) 253-1261; e-mail: hripley@primacentral.org; http://www.primacentral.org/.

8) Joint Fire Science Program Issues Announcements for Proposals

The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), a partnership of six federal wildland management and research agencies with a need to address problems associated with managing accumulating wildland fuels, fire regimes, and fire-impacted ecosystems (Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey), has issued four announcements for proposals. Topics include fuel treatment, local needs, air quality, social science, science delivery, and application.

For more information, contact Erik Berg, JFSP, National Interagency Fire Center, 3833 South Development Avenue, Boise, ID 83705; (208) 387-5349; e-mail: Erik_Berg@nifc.blm.gov; http://jfsp.nifc.gov/JFSP_AFPs.htm.

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.]

Director, Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado School of Law

The University of Colorado School of Law is seeking candidates for the position of director of the Natural Resources Law Center (NRLC). The Natural Resources Law Center is a research and educational program at the School of Law that has produced many significant books, papers, and conferences informing public debate and policy-making concerning natural resources and helping decision makers resolve conflicts surrounding resource development and preservation. At the heart of this mission is the notion of sustainability, which includes preservation of the West’s social, environmental, economic, and cultural resources. The center searches for pragmatic ways to secure these broad and related elements of sustainability, concentrating in particular on the region’s unique natural resources. The position is supported by the university, while center projects are primarily funded by contracts and grants from foundations and government agencies.

The director develops the center's research agenda and pursues contracts and grants to support that agenda; formulates the center’s educational programs; engages in interdisciplinary environmental research projects with other university departments, programs, and centers; fosters relations with the school’s community, an advisory board, funders, and the public; and manages the center's staff. He or she will also have opportunities to teach classes in the School of Law. Depending on a candidate’s qualifications and experience, the position may come with a tenured or tenure-track appointment.

Candidates for the position should have a law degree or equivalent advanced degree in a related discipline and experience that demonstrates:

  • Scholarly interest and achievement in an interdisciplinary approach to natural resources and environmental law and policy,
  • Creativity in conceiving significant research and educational projects,
  • Entrepreneurial ability to pursue and obtain grants and contracts,
  • Administrative skills in managing programs and organizing conferences and events, and
  • Vision and leadership skills that can move the center into its next phase of accomplishment.

Applicants should submit a current resume and any supporting materials to Sarah Krakoff, NRLC Director Search Committee, 401 UCB, Boulder, CO, 80309-0401. Application reviews will begin on January 4, 2005. The position will remain open until filled. For more information on the center, see http://www.colorado.edu/Law/centers/nrlc/.

Water Resources Civil Associates I and II, Michael Baker Corporation

Qualifications include four-year degree in civil engineering or engineering geology and zero to two years (associate I) and two to four years (associate II) related experience. EIT required for associate II. Must have knowledge of hydrologic/hydraulic analysis of riverine/coastal systems; experience with HEC-RAS, HEC-HMS (HEC-1); and other H&H models. Knowledge of ArcView a plus. Strong written and verbal communication skills necessary. Openings exist in multiple locations, including but not limited to Alexandria, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Denton, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Jackson, Mississippi; Oakland, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

For more information about Michael Baker Corporation and employment opportunities, visit http://www.mbakercorp.com/. To apply, e-mail resume to ewindes@mbakercorp.com or fax to (757) 431-0812. Positions will remain open until filled.

Research Opportunities in Volcanology, University of Portsmouth,
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Applications are invited from candidates who have or expect to get at least a class 2 (1) honours degree in geology or a related science to work for a PhD on one of the following projects:

  • Magma ascent and accumulation beneath Tenerife: consequences for future effusive activity and volcanic hazards.
  • Volcanic hazards: strategies for effective communicating probability and risk to the population.
  • The Ischia resurgent caldera: assessment of future activity and implications for volcanic hazard assessment in the Bay of Naples.
  • The stability of the cone of Mt. Vesuvius during explosive eruptions, implications for volcanic hazards.

Applicants should provide a curriculum vitae and the names of two referees by December 15, 2004, to Carmen Solana, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth PO1 3QL, UK; e-mail: carmen.solana@port.ac.uk.

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 http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/resources/.]

This new search service from Google is aimed at scientists and academic researchers. Google Scholar is intended to be a first stop for researchers looking for scholarly literature, such as peer-reviewed papers, books, abstracts, and technical reports.

The primary role of the National Academic Consortium for Homeland Security is to promote, support, and enhance academic research, technology development, education and training, and service programs dealing with all aspects of international and homeland security, through collaboration and information sharing.

The Disaster Research Center has established this Web site featuring results from its spring 2004 conference “Disaster Research in the Social Sciences: Lessons Learned, Challenges, and Future Trajectories.”

The National Center for Atmospheric Research, with funding from the U.S. Weather Research Program, has established the Societal Impacts Program to develop a dedicated focal point for gathering, assembling, coordinating, and synthesizing information on the societal impacts and economic benefits of weather information. This new site is a work-in-progress that currently includes program information as well as the preliminary framework for a Digital Library of Societal Impacts.

Part of the Forest Service’s Forest Encyclopedia Network, this Encyclopedia of Southern Fire Science (ESFS) synthesizes volumes of scientific knowledge about fire science in the southern United States. ESFS delivers grounded information to field practitioners and the general public with viewer-navigated text, photos, graphics, plus a large bibliography and access to several fire science databases.

The United Nations/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning aims to help the development of early warning and preparedness systems by advocating for better early warning systems. Visit this new Web site, the start of a growing information resource on early warning systems, and sign up for their quarterly newsletter.

The cornerstone of the “Ready New York” campaign, this comprehensive household preparedness guide offers tips and information about a wide range of potentially hazardous situations New Yorkers may face.

This book is the result of an extensive study of available hazardous materials response resources for first responders, undertaken by the United States Fire Administration (USFA), that concluded that, while several excellent and technically accurate resources are available, none are directed to the specific needs of the first responder trained at the awareness or operational levels of training; the training levels of most first responders. It is the hope and the intent of the USFA that this book, which is only available online, will be that much needed resource.

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: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/conf.html.]

Emergency Management Principles and Practices for Health Systems. Sponsor: The Chesapeake Health Education Program (CHEP). Tampa, Florida: November 28-30, 2004. The goal of this annual education and training event is to advance the level of practice in health care emergency management. The courses and conference sessions are designed to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on current topics and issues and to encourage audience interaction. For more information, contact CHEP, (410) 642-1857; e-mail: events@chepinc.org; http://www.chepinc.org/emshg/tampa04/.

Searching for Solutions: 2005 PARMA Conference. Sponsor: Public Agency Risk Managers Association (PARMA). Anaheim, California: February 6-9, 2005. The theme "Searching for Solutions" underlines PARMA’s objective to help with finding solutions to risk management issues. The scope of sessions ranges from beginning to advanced and from benefits to benchmarking. For more information, contact Brenda Reisinger, PARMA, P.O. Box 6810, San Jose, CA 95150; (888) 907-2762; e-mail: brenda.reisinger@parma.com; http://www.parma.com/index.cfm?pageid=511.

Medical Aspects of Consequence Management: Managing the Unthinkable in the Era of Asymmetrical Threats; Preparing Healthcare Professionals for New Challenges in the Medical Arena. Sponsor: Homeland Defense Journal. Washington, DC: February 24-25, 2005. Presented through plenary sessions and three separate tracks, this conference will bring together the leading experts in the field of medical planning and consequence management in order to help federal, state, local and private stakeholders become better informed, and ultimately help shape their organizations’ roles in the medical consequence management mission. For more information, contact Pamela Greenstein, Market Access International, 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1003, Arlington, VA 22203; (703) 807-2744; e-mail: pgreenstein@marketaccess.org; http://www.marketaccess.org/event_consmgmt.asp.

A Conference on America’s Beaches: Current Issues in Beach Management, Tourism, and the Coastal Environment. Sponsor: International Hurricane Research Center. Miami, FL: March 2-4, 2005. This conference will focus on overlapping contemporary social and scientific issues facing beach managers as scientists, marketers, citizens, and policy makers face the tough challenges of coastal life today. Topics include beach management and tourism, beach management in the face of coastal disasters, and beach management and the environment. For more information, contact the International Hurricane Research Center, Florida International University, University Park Campus, MARC 360, Miami, FL 33199; (305) 348-1339; e-mail: defraene@fiu.edu; http://www.ihrc.fiu.edu/.

The First International Symposium on Geo-Information for Disaster Management. Sponsors: Delft, The Netherlands: March 21-23, 2005. This symposium will focus on the response and relief phases of disaster management, encouraging a wide discussion on systems and requirements for use of geo-information under time and stress constraints and unfamiliar situations, environments and circumstances. It will address these challenges by bringing together technology developers, disaster management bodies, information providers, developers of standards, and users. For more information, contact Elfriede M. Fendel, P.O. Box 5030 2600 GA, Delft, The Netherlands; +31152784548; e-mail: e.fendel@otb.tudelft.nl; http://www.gdmc.nl/gi4dm/.

Coastal Engineering 2005. Organizers: Wessex Institute of Technology, University of Coimbra. Algarve, Portugal: April 13-15, 2005. Scientists and engineers involved in the study and use of computational methods for coastal engineering problems are invited to attend this conference, which will address the study of seas and coastal regions under normal and extreme conditions, emphasizing the practical applications. Discussions will also take place on environmental problems of coastal areas, which are frequently densely populated or sites of industrial development. Abstracts are due as soon as possible. For more information, contact Rachel Green, Wessex Institute of Technology, Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst, Southampton, SO407AA, UK; +44 (0) 238 029 3223; e-mail: rgreen@wessex.ac.uk; http://www.wessex.ac.uk/conferences/2005/coastal2005/.

The Fifth International Conference on Earthquake Resistant Engineering Structures (ERES 2005). Organizers: Wessex Institute of Technology, University of Patras, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, National Technical University of Athens. Skiathos, Greece. May 30-June 1, 2005. This meeting provides a unique forum for the discussion of basic and applied research in the various fields of earthquake engineering relevant to the design of structures. Discussion will focus on the state of the art in structures subjected to earthquakes, including the geophysical aspects, the behavior of historical buildings, seismic isolation, retrofitting, base isolation and energy absorption systems, and a wide range of applications and case studies. For more information, contact Katie Banham, Wessex Institute of Technology, Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst, Southampton, SO407AA, UK; +44 (0) 238 029 3223; e-mail: kbanham@wessex.ac.uk; http://www.wessex.ac.uk/conferences/2005/eres05/.

SAFE 2005: First International Conference on Safety and Security Engineering. Organizers: Wessex Institute of Technology, University of Rome “La Sapienza,” National Fire Department, Italy. Rome, Italy: June 13-15, 2005. This conference will provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of the most recent developments in the theoretical and practical aspects of safety and security engineering, covering issues such as crisis management, security engineering, natural disasters and emergencies, terrorism, IT security, human-induced hazards, and mitigation. Abstracts are due as soon as possible. For more information, contact Rachel Green, Wessex Institute of Technology, Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst, Southampton, SO407AA, UK; +44 (0) 238 029 3223; e-mail: rgreen@wessex.ac.uk; http://www.wessex.ac.uk/conferences/2005/safe05/.

Questions for the readership and contributions to this e-newsletter are encouraged. Questions and messages should be indicated as such and sent to hazctr@colorado.edu.

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