Poster Session Abstracts

Alexander Abuabara, Texas A&M University

The Importance of Mobile Homes to Determine Natural Hazard Evacuation Boundaries

Historically, the Texas Valley region has faced more natural disasters and has a higher concentration of vulnerable populations than other parts of the United States. By far, some of the most vulnerable populations are households residing in mobile homes, travel trailers, and even high profile recreational vehicles. In light of the highly vulnerable nature of households residing in such structures, considerable efforts were done to identify them throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley counties. 

This study, as part of a Hurricane Evacuation Study, evaluates the form, location, and distribution of mobile home neighborhoods and parks to its vicinity in pursuance of generating accurate demand forecasts and addressing demand variability when modeling natural hazard evacuation boundaries. To identify these data, various sources were compiled and extensive work with Google mapping resources were undertaken. This study also observes the demography of the mobile homes, which helps in the analysis of social and organizational structures behind the urban and suburban geography. This will impact disaster alertness, preparedness, and mobility, at individual and county management levels in the region. These factors have the potential to headline public protocols and increase natural disasters evacuation compliance and success rate. The importance of this study lays in developing singular constraints for evacuation research and development of decision-making models, simultaneously raising questions about contemporary urbanistic and sociological characteristics nurtured by mobile home neighborhoods and parks in low density and high poverty rate cities.

Erin Arneson, University of Colorado Boulder
Amy Javernick-Will, University of Colorado Boulder
Matthew Hallowell, University of Colorado Boulder

Construction Capacity: How Pre-Disaster Resources Affect Post-Disaster Housing Reconstruction

Over the past decade, the U.S. has experienced more tornadoes than any other country. Once considered low-probability events, today over 1200 tornadoes form across the country each year. Existing single-family residential houses are increasingly exposed to wind damage associated with tornado disasters, resulting in approximately one billion dollars of annual damages. To facilitate post-tornado reconstruction of residential homes, the construction industry must meet demand for construction services. Construction capacity, defined here as the maximum building volume a construction industry can supply with available resources, determines how efficiently residential housing is rebuilt following a disaster. However, construction capacity is limited by available construction material and labor resources, such as building material wholesalers and residential general contractors. 

To better understand how construction capacity hinders or facilitates post-disaster reconstruction, this research asks: How does pre-disaster construction capacity affect post-disaster rebuilding of single-family residential housing in the U.S.? Building on literature from supply chain management theory, this research: (1) identifies construction wholesale trade (material) and general contractor (labor) establishments within the U.S., (2) measures state-level pre-disaster construction capacity as the maximum value of residential construction work that can be performed in a given year, based on material and labor availability, (3) calculates post-disaster tornado losses for single-family residential housing based on FEMA damage inspections, and (4) analyzes and compares state-level pre-disaster construction capacity to post-disaster single-family housing damages.

Vanicka Arora, India National Disaster Management Authority

National Initiatives for Mainstreaming Cultural Heritage for Disaster Risk Management in India

The frequency of disasters and their consequent impact to lives, property, and livelihoods has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years, especially in developing countries such as India. Events such as the Himalayan Flash Floods in 2013 had a devastating impact on nationally significant cultural heritage sites and on innumerable sites of local and regional value. At the same time, there has been a growing recognition internationally to mainstream cultural heritage into disaster risk reduction and to engage with local cultural values and traditions at each stage of the disaster management process. Recent policy initiatives in India reflect this growing concern. 

The National Disaster Management Authority, under the government of India has been in the process of developing draft national guidelines on disaster risk management for museums since July 2016, following extensive consultation processes among experts and professionals in the field. The approach of these guidelines are to serve as templates to museums and cultural heritage sites and precincts to develop their own disaster risk management plans and strategies through risk assessment, risk reduction measures, preparedness and emergency response measures, and planning for post-disaster recovery. These will also act as supporting mechanisms for other government departments that directly engage with cultural heritage. The objective of these guidelines is not to be prohibitive, but rather enable heritage professionals to integrate disaster risk management within the overall management of heritage site, collections, and visitors. 

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, CIGIDEN

Emerging Technologies for Community Participation and Resilience in the Disaster Cycle

In the absence of suitable systems to capture information from multiple sources available on the internet, individuals and networks develop their own ways of collecting, archiving, analyzing and filtering information. A common information seeking behavior of collecting different pieces of information in different places has been characterized as information foraging, a process that is slow, tedious and its value is tied to the experience of those who conduct it. To meet these information needs, people rely on the tools they have at hand, which means with increasing frequency searching for information on social networks, while available tools are not necessarily accessible or unable to enhance citizen participation. Emerging technologies use during natural disasters requires the development of tools for people to utilize and to collect information. Emerging technologies include the use of drones and community mapping for participation in disaster reduction. With a multidisciplinary team in Chile, we are studying the role of social networks and robotics in fostering community participation in disaster risk reduction. 

Julia Becker, Massey University
Samantha Stanley, Victoria University of Wellington
Taciano Milfont, Victoria University of Wellington
Wokje Abrahamse, Victoria University of Wellington
Ronald Fischer, Victoria University of Wellington
John McClure, Victoria University of Wellington

Using Social Norms to Enhance Disaster Resilience

Social norms are the perceptions of what relevant others do and approve/disapprove of, and these tend to influence people’s behaviors. As part of a New Zealand Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (RNC) research project we undertook a literature review that explored the use of social norms to promote pro-environmental behavior, and the application of norms to encourage people to prepare for natural disasters. Research applying social norms to environmental behaviors has shown that social norms exert greatest influence when they are well attended to, and when descriptive (i.e. what others are doing) and injunctive (i.e. what we ought to be doing) norms are aligned. However, empirical research in the sphere of disaster preparedness and resilience is lacking. Generally, researchers have interviewed citizens and findings of such research has shown that norms are involved in risk perception and preparedness when participants mention observing others preparing for disasters, or discussing hazards with others. Moving forward, there is a need to draw knowledge from the successful interventions promoting pro-environmental behavior to create an intervention that encourages disaster preparedness. This might prove useful for improving the types of messages emergency management agencies provide to promote preparedness.  Future phases of our RNC research will be exploring such aspects.

Christine Beste, University of Delaware

The Impact of Forced Migration on Host Communities: A Case Study of Houston, Texas, Post-Hurricane Katrina

Numerous studies have examined forced migration from the perspective of displaced persons. However, in order to gain a greater understanding of the total impact of displacement, research should also focus on the culture of the host community and processes that impact successful relocation. How host community members experience the integration of displaced persons, and how this affects long-term social and cultural conditions, is a needed area of research.

Using Houston, Texas as a case study following Hurricane Katrina, the current study applies the lens of acculturation to understand forced migration from the perspective of both the displaced and host community members. To establish acculturation as a core theoretical framework, I will conduct in-person semi-structured interviews to the point of saturation. Information gleaned through interviews will be coded and analyzed according to specific acculturation variables. These variables include language, social groups, daily habits, education, employment, celebrations, general knowledge, and specific cultural habits and customs. 

If researchers are to analyze forced migration and displaced persons, it is critical to also study the host community. How a host community perceives the relocation process directly influences how they respond to new community members. By understanding the perspective of host communities, we can improve the reception process in a way that decreases stress and limits negative social and economic changes. Through this study, I hope to expand the research that exists on forced migration to include cultural studies on host communities.

Sherri Brokopp Binder, BrokoppBinder Research & Consulting
Alex Greer, Oklahoma State University

Home Buyout Policy: Assessing Policy Learning, Practice, and Participant Experience

Home buyout programs are increasingly used to encourage residents to permanently relocate out of areas considered at risk for future hazards, though research exploring the impacts of these policies is limited. In two recent studies, we presented a typology for organizing home buyout programs according to key design features and then examined how program design influences participant experience using a mixed-methods study of Oakwood Beach, NY, following Hurricane Sandy.   

Our first study (Greer & Binder, 2017) assesses buyout policy using policy learning theory, which suggests that policies should evolve and improve over time. Instead, a historical review of buyouts in the United States suggests that policy learning related to buyouts has been limited. Rather than showing evidence of learning from one iteration to the next, buyout programs continue to reflect unique objectives and features, lacking evidence of an iterative process. We propose a novel typology for organizing buyout programs and suggest actionable steps to improve buyout programs in the United States.

In our second study (Binder & Greer, 2016), we explored the implications of buyout program design and implementation for Oakwood Beach, New York, a community that offered a buyout after Hurricane Sandy. We found that design decisions made at program conception significantly impacted participants’ experience of the buyout, including their understanding of program goals and their progression through the buyout and relocation process. We conclude with recommendations for future buyouts, to increase inclusion of affected communities in the process of pre-event planning for recovery.

Samuel Brodersen, Iowa State University
Sara Hamideh, Iowa State University
Walt Peacock, Texas A&M University
Donghwan Gu, Texas A&M University

Evaluating the Accuracy of Post-Disaster Damage Assessments Using Pre-Impact Images of Residential Structures

Damage assessments are an important task for disaster researchers and practitioners to help communities establish disaster impacts, tract recovery, and to assess mitigation strategies to prevent future disasters. Typically, for major disasters, damage assessments are conducted in-person after the disaster has struck, sometimes with little or no information about the nature of the pre-event structure. This latter issue can become particularly important when trying to assess the quality of residential construction and with respect to issues of deferred maintenance. Increasingly, researchers are making use of virtual tools such as Google Street View to assess the quality and condition of structures and neighborhoods in a variety of research areas. We suggest that Google Street View holds potential to benefit disaster researchers in conducting damage assessments.

This poster explores the use of Google Street View to establish the pre-impact characteristics of residential structures and assess the utility of these images for supplementing post-disaster damage assessments conducted by field teams. Specifically, we utilize post disaster damage assessment data and visual images of residential structures from Bolivar Peninsula that were collected following Hurricane Ike in 2008. These data and images are then compared to pre-impact images collected using Google Street View to assess the accuracy of housing characteristics, quality assessments, and ultimately, damage assessments. We suspect that assessment bias can occur at both low levels of damage and at extreme levels of damage.

Bill Brown, Association of State Floodplain Managers
Brad Anderson, Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation

No Adverse Impact How-To Guide Series

No Adverse Impact Floodplain Management (NAI) is a managing principle that is easy to communicate and, from legal and policy perspectives, tough to challenge. NAI floodplain management takes place when the actions of one property owner are not allowed to adversely affect the rights of other property owners. The NAI philosophy can shape the default management criteria where a community develops and adopts a comprehensive plan to manage development that identifies acceptable levels of impact, specifies appropriate measures to mitigate adverse impacts, and establishes a plan for implementation. NAI criteria can be extended to entire watersheds as a means to promote the use of regional retention/detention or other stormwater techniques to mitigate damage from increased runoff from urban areas.

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) have developed a series of NAI how-to guides. The development of the guides was encouraged by ASFPM members who read ASFPM’s NAI toolkit publication, which gave examples of NAI techniques, but didn’t explain how to implement them. The toolkit identified seven community building blocks that can have an impact: 1) hazard identification and floodplain mapping, 2) education and outreach, 3) planning, 4) regulations and development standards, 5) mitigation, 6) infrastructure, and 7) emergency services. How-to guides were developed for each building block to provide an overview of the NAI approach, an explanation of a NAI building block, available tools, case studies, and resources for jurisdictions to implement NAI techniques.

Carter Butts, University of California, Irvine
Jeannette Sutton, University of Kentucky
Ben Gibson, University of California, Irvine
Kevin Li, University of California, Irvine
Michele Olson, University of Kentucky
Nolan Phillips, University of California, Irvine
Scott Renshaw, University of California, Irvine
Sarah Vos, University of Kentucky
Yue Yu, University of California, Irvine

HEROIC Project Update: Predictors of Message Passing, Social Media Adoption, and Social Media Use in Meteorological and Health Hazard Settings

Emergency management practitioners and other public agency communicators have increasingly recognized the potential of online social media to diffuse information across the disaster lifecycle. However, this is still a burgeoning field with many crucial information gaps. Since 2010, the Hazards, Emergency Response, and Online Informal Communications (HEROIC) project has collected a large body of data that has been used to further our understanding of formal and informal communication in response to hazardous events. In this poster, we highlight recent work that focuses on: (1) how message design features influences predicted message retransmission in two public health emergencies, (2) varying aspects of account adoption of Twitter in 48 states and U.S. territories, and (3) variation in message features identified in the entire corpus of Twitter messages posted by National Weather Service accounts (2013-present). We introduce a new model for risk communication on social media that draws from the diffusion of innovation theory and results from our work on the predictors of message passing in five previous comparative case studies and two recent infectious disease outbreaks, Ebola and Zika. We apply this framework to message passing from NWS accounts, identifying basic factors that have been consistently associated with enhanced public attention to messages over time. Additionally, we examine the dynamics of social media (Twitter) adoption by state level agencies, highlighting differences in usage patterns across the U.S. Taken together, these results can inform organizations tasked with public safety for varying hazard types on how to better use social media to communicate with the general public.

Hsien-Ho Chang, Oklahoma State University

How Do People Implement the Incident Command System: Qualitative Interviews to Senior ICS Users

This poster presentation demonstrates the results from 28 in-depth qualitative interviews of senior Incident Command System (ICS) users in the U.S. The researcher found the decision-making processes, degrees of improvisation, and the interaction with people of different backgrounds would determine this system becoming more mechanistic (command-and-control approach) or organic (adaptive approach). As a result, this system is much more complex than people thought. If we treat the ICS as purely one type of system, we may reach flawed conclusions.

Vaswati Chatterjee, University of North Texas

Association Between Media Reporting on Natural Disasters and Editorial Practices: A Study of the Uttarakhand 2013 Flash Floods

Media reporting on natural disasters is important in shaping public perception of events, thus influencing risk perception and disaster management policies. While existing studies have suggested that media reports emphasize selective frames that are responsible for perpetuating disaster myths, not enough has been done to look into factors that influence such biasedness. Understanding these factors is necessary to limit biased reporting.

This study looks into the association between editorial practices and frames adopted in disaster reporting. Content analysis was conducted on 232 articles about the 2013 Uttarakhand (India) flash-floods that were published in two major newspapers, The Times of India and The Hindu. Research findings suggest that irrespective of editorial practices, the major frames reported in the first 1.5 months after the event were an attribution of responsibility of disaster losses to certain parties, personalized stories of disaster survivors, disaster magnitude expressed in terms of loss of human lives, and the response process.

Editorial practices were, however, associated with how these frames were being reported. The Times of India, which is reputed to sensationalize and simplify its reporting process in order to reach a larger audience, was found to use strong criticism or negative tones while reporting stories. Reporting styles as such are more likely to perpetuate disaster myths like panic and hopelessness among disaster victims. However, The Hindu, which is reputed to base its stories on hard data, was found to utilize a neutral and informative tone with a more accurate description of the situation unfolding in Uttarakhand.

Tae Sung Cheong, National Disaster Management Institute
Tackjo Ko, National Disaster Management Research Institute
Hyeonseok Choi, National Disaster Management Institute

Development of the Less Labor Intensive Monitoring Technology for Sustainable Stream Development

Sustainable stream development has been highlighted for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in which new growth industry development and resilient building is main issues. Most stream region has been damaged from flood and hurricane every year which its intensity and frequency are increasing due to climate change. To reduce climate change impacts, it is critical to measure stream flow discharge for developing disaster impact assessment and sustainable development planning in the stream region. The problem is that it has difficulties to get accuracy data in the region as monitoring is laver intensive work. This research developed the Large Scale Particle Image Velocimetry (LSPIV) which has high order of accuracy and less field operators driven by their easy in-situ operation. For the two major floods occur in 2016, the ADV data are collected at densely designed grids on cross control section in the Jungsunfil-cheon, Korea and it is compared with LSPIV results. The inter-comparison results indicates that the LSPIV result matches the ADV discharge very accurately with 0.075 m3/s error. Error analysis for velocity of the LSPIV can be potentially able to be utilized for sustainable stream development.

Samuel Childs, Colorado State University

Communication of Cold-Season Tornado Risk: Case Study from November 2016 to February 2017

Cold-season tornadoes pose many unique societal risks, such as their occurrence at a time of year the public generally does not expect them, their tendency to occur at night, and their frequency to occur in the South and Southeastern U.S., where topographical and socio-economical challenges are great. Given this enhanced societal risk for cold-season tornadoes, it is imperative that effective communication is had between local National Weather Service Weather Forecasting Offices (WFOs), television meteorologists, and emergency managers, with the general public in advance of and during a cold-season tornado event. 

This study aims to assess communication barriers and perceptions of vulnerability of these three professional sectors through a survey analysis from four major cold-season tornado events during the past winter. Each of the cases analyzed presented unique circumstances that challenged meteorologists' ability to reach the public, such as local weather radars failing, nighttime occurrence, and public ignorance due to a missed forecast the day before. In general, both WFO and broadcast meteorologists highlighted the abundance of inconsistent weather messages and public “me-centeredness” as major barriers to communication. Public access to and knowledge of technology is also seen as a challenge, especially among the elderly and poor members of society. Overall, professionals view their communities as highly vulnerable to tornadoes in general, yet also note adequate preparedness and receptivity to warnings. The results of this study ultimately strive to reduce vulnerability and thus save lives during cold-season tornado events, and potential opportunities for improvement based on the survey findings are explored.

Rachel Chiquoine, University of Delaware
YuanChi Liu, University of Delaware
Sue McNeil, University of Delaware
Rusty Lee, University of Delaware

Infrastructure Resilience: Measures for Roads and Bridges

Interest in resilience has increased with the growing awareness of the potential threats, the impacts of climate change, and recent extreme weather events. Presidential Policy Directive 21 defines resilience as "the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions." This definition suggests that resilience is important at many different temporal and spatial scales, and applies to a wide variety of situations. At the same time, interest in performance measures for transportation infrastructure has continued to increase with the focus on performance based management, and the requirement in MAP-21 to develop a risk-based asset management plan for the National Highway System.

Despite the importance of capturing the ability of infrastructure to “bounce back,” there has been little effort focused on what this means for transportation agencies and how the concept of resilience connects to more commonly used performance measures related to state of good repair. The concepts of resilience, performance measurement, and asset management for roads and bridges are connected using two case studies. The first case study looks at measures of resilience for a pavement subject to regular flooding in southern Delaware. The second case study measures the resilience of the transportation network due to damage of I-95 in North Carolina due to Hurricane Matthew. Using the case studies, we identify some successes in terms of the role of new data, information, and tools to support the implementation of these concepts, and the challenges involved in interpreting some of these measures.

Hyeonseok Choi, National Disaster Management Institute
Jaeseung Joo, National Disaster Management Research Institute
Tae Sung Cheong, National Disaster Management Institute

Establishment and Calibration of Rainfall Simulator by Measuring Intensity and Distribution

Severe rain storms and typhoons can cause considerable damages to urban areas. The recent typhoon Chaba struck South Korea causing 3,500 flooded homes, 2,500 flooded vehicles, and 10 casualties. Though man can’t control nature, he can be prepared for the disaster. In the case of Korea, the National Disaster Management Research Institute partially undertook this important assignment to reduce the flood damages. The Institute finished the construction of Empirical Experimental Center in 2016, which contains the rainfall simulator. This simulator is 30 meters long and 12 meters tall and can operate at up to 250 millimeters of rainfall per hour. This study performed verification of the rainfall simulator to identify the characteristics of simulator and raindrops. Two types of test were performed, estimating total rainfall amount and spatial distribution of raindrops. There are three independent variables—pump pressure, nozzle angular speed, and delay time. Coefficient of uniformity (CuC) was used to verify the uniformity of raindrops because it is one of the significant parameters that assures the similarity to the real rainfall. As a result, CuC showed around 80 percent above, which indicated high operational reliability of the simulator. Still we need some time to fully verify the rainfall simulator, but it can be used for drainage model experiments or hydraulic structure design contributing to the flood damage reduction.

Carlo Chunga Pizarro, Texas A&M University

Prevalence of Social Vulnerability Assessments in Coastal County Hazard Mitigation Plans

All jurisdictions interested in procuring hazard mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are required to develop a local hazard mitigation plan. A critical element of the planning process involves conducting a hazard analysis of their jurisdiction. In the past, hazard analyses primarily focused on an evaluation of the hazard exposure of the jurisdiction and an assessment of vulnerability in terms of the built environment and population distribution. The last several decades have seen an increasing recognition of the importance of social vulnerability assessment as a critical component of vulnerability analysis. Despite this recognition, past research suggests that there has been limited implementation of social vulnerability assessments as part of local hazard mitigation plans. The purpose of this research is to assess the prevalence and degree to which current coastal hazard mitigation have undertaken and used social vulnerability analyses. Specifically, a sample of coastal county hazard mitigation plans from coastal states along the Gulf Coast will be evaluated utilizing a protocol that rates mitigation plans based on a set of clearly specified measurement rules that captures the nature, extent, and detail to which these plans assess, map, and utilize social vulnerability to capture this important element of hazard risk assessment. 

Lauren Clay, D'Youville College
Alex Greer, Oklahoma State University
Deanna Ventura, D'Youville College

Influence of Resource Loss, Debt, and Health on Disaster Recovery from the Moore, Oklahoma 2013 Tornadoes

Stress impacts human health. Resource loss contributes to stress. Resource loss following disasters is common among affected households. Research focuses heavily on clinical mental health impacts of disaster experience with less research on cumulative stress during long-term recovery. This study examines the influence of stressors including resource loss, debt, and health on disaster recovery in a sample of households in Moore, Oklahoma, impacted by a tornado in 2013. 

Questionnaires were mailed to 750 households residing along the track of the May 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, 71 surveys were completed and returned. Descriptive statistics were performed to describe sample characteristics and disaster experience. A chi-square analysis was performed to determine the association between stressors and recovery. Odd ratios are reported. 

Respondents were heavily impacted by the tornado, 56.24 percent reported that their homes were destroyed or sustained major damage. Respondents reporting poor health were three times more likely to report not being recovered (OR 3.1; 95% CI 1.06, 1.32) and those taking on debt were four times more likely to report not being recovered (OR 4.32; 95% CI 0.14, 16.32). When examining resource loss, for each one-point increase in resource loss score, respondents were 18 percent more likely to report not being recovered (OR 1.18; 95% CI 1.06, 1.32). 

The association between debt, resource loss, and poor health with recovery highlights a need for more focus on mitigating long-term stressors to better aid families in recovery from disaster.

Lorita Daniels, Virginia Tech

Role Perception among Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Managers: An Exploration

The goal of this study is to examine how Federal Emergency Management Agency emergency managers perceive their role in the collaborative and decision-making processes. Scholarship has examined the effects of disasters on communities and organizations, both public and private, to elucidate the role of collaborating in emergency situations. While previous research has focused on the practice of collaboration and has highlighted how managers have been collaborating for some time, the literature has not adequately addressed the perceptions held by Federal Emergency Management Agency emergency managers about their role in the collaborative and decision-making processes, or whether their role is one of collaboration, or not. This paper seeks to explore this gap by examining the emergency managers’ perception and their expectations about their role in the collaborative process. These findings will help to develop a clear role definition that will enable Federal Emergency Management Agency managers to understand the scope of their work and how their perceptions may impact the outcomes of collaborative activities during emergency situations.

Maria Dillard, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Ken Harrison, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Community Resilience Measurement and Modeling at the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Community resilience is a complex problem that relies on engineering, social sciences, and other disciplines to improve the way communities prepare for, resist, respond to, and recover from disruptive hazard events. Within the National Institute of Standards and Technology community resilience program, there are two important linked research efforts underway. The first is aimed at measuring a community’s resilience over time, while the second targets modeling to support resilience decision making. In measuring community resilience, a complex systems perspective is adopted to make linkages between social and physical systems. The methodology will assess resilience as a function of the social and physical systems of a community for the purposes of tracking changes and supporting decision making. The quantitative assessment of resilience over time will inform an understanding of the factors influencing recovery following a disruptive hazard event as well as those that contribute to resilience in the absence of a hazard. Modeling to support resilience decision making takes the form of an interactive, exploratory tool for the complex task of community resilience planning. The interactivity is achieved with simplified representations of the resilience system that permit quick identification of solutions meeting resilience and other goals, via a class of optimization algorithms. Decisions across the community are considered in a joint manner, linked by important system dependencies (e.g., home safety retrofits and emergency response provisioning). These research efforts, in coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology funded Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, led by Colorado State University, will be applied to modeling the resilience system and supporting community resilience planning and decision making.

Simone Domingue, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Christopher Emrich, University of Central Florida

Social Vulnerability and Procedural Equity: Exploring the Distribution of Disaster Aid Across Counties in the United States

Scholars have demonstrated that social characteristics are key determinants of disaster recovery, where the most vulnerable are often disadvantaged when seeking disaster aid. However, there has been no large scale study of disaster aid allocation across multiple regions and disasters within the United States. Additionally, there is a paucity of research specifically connecting social indicators of vulnerability to public assistance grants aimed at restoring infrastructure. Given these gaps, we inquire as to whether or not the distribution of disaster aid dedicated to restoring, rebuilding, and mitigating against future damages is characterized by disparate outcomes for counties with more socially vulnerable populations.  We address this question by analyzing the distribution of disaster aid according to the contours of socially vulnerability in U.S. counties in the years 2012-2015. We analyze the amount of federally dedicated public assistance spending dollars distributed to counties by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following major disasters, while controlling for the amount of damages counties sustained. Preliminary results indicate that the public assistance program operates well when accounting only for disaster losses, but the program produces inequalities when controlling for those losses. This study has important implications for understanding how recovery and mitigation spending relate to place based social vulnerability. Furthermore, this study provides a set of social vulnerability indicators that could be used to target counties in need of additional assistance following disasters.

Oronde Drakes, University of Iowa

Participatory Approaches to Social Vulnerability Indicator Selection and Weighting

This study attempts to improve the reliability of social vulnerability indicators by refining the current methods of indicator selection and weighting in a manner appropriate for the local and regional scales in which indicators are typically used. Over the past 50 years, losses from hazard events have steadily increased, even though the number of these events has remained relatively stable. Social vulnerability is a significant determinant of susceptibility to hazard related human suffering. 

Composite measures (indicators) have become the de facto means of identifying population characteristics and concentrations of susceptibility to hazards. However, these indicators inadequately address contextual aspects of vulnerability. Statistical indices have limited objective means of indicator selection, and are unable to determine appropriate indicator weights, even though nearly all researchers agree that variables exert differential influences on vulnerability across spatial and temporal scales. The result is a wide array of subjectively chosen indicators with varying place, scale, and context specific appropriateness. Improved accuracy through selection and weighting is thus critical for the advancement of social vulnerability assessment and more complete accounting of its deterministic effects on quality of life and societal development. 

The study utilizes qualitative techniques to select and weight factors affecting multihazard susceptibility, resistance and recovery. Focus groups, participatory mapping, and community surveys provide insight into contextually relevant social vulnerability factors. Exploratory multivariate spatial analysis will examine spatial relationships. The resultant vulnerability characteristics will be compared against past hazard experience.

Emily Esplin, Utah State University
Forrest Schoessow, Utah State University
Yajie Li, Utah State University
Peter Howe, Utah State University

Can You Take the Heat? The Relationship Between Heat-Induced Health Symptoms and Protective Action Across U.S. Populations

Climate change adaptation becomes vitally important with the increasing frequency of heat waves in the United States. Currently, conflicting research results indicate that personal experience with a natural hazard may or may not influence someone to take protective actions or preparedness measures against the same hazard in the future. Furthermore, little is known concerning how experience with the negative effects of heat-related health symptoms may influence one’s risk perception and protective actions in future heat events. If previous experience with heat-related health symptoms are related to risk perception, this experience may indirectly influence one’s actions to protect oneself during future heat events. Understanding the spatial variation and relationship between people’s experience with heat and protective behavior will increase situational awareness of public health officials and emergency management planners and help them create more effective risk prevention and communication strategies according to their local community needs. This study uses geo-referenced empirical survey data to describe whether the nature of Americans’ experience with the negative health effects of heat influences self-reported protective actions. These results are analyzed with a multi-level regression model to give further insight into vulnerability within the United States.

Diego Fernandez Otegui, University of Deleware

Institutional Logics and Their Implications for Post-Disaster Response Coordination

The purpose of this research is to make a contribution to understandings of institutional logics in the aftermath of a disaster, by exploring how individual decision makers were driven in post-disaster action by the unique principles, norms and beliefs of their society of origin. Additionally, it will try to identify how, according to them, the existence of multiple logics might have affected coordination efforts.

When individuals converge in a disaster milieu, they engage and interact with each other. While doing so, they filter and make sense of new circumstances through the lenses of the institutional logics of their place of origin. To understand how these multiple and different logics affect post-disaster coordination will shed light into one of the most important aspects of post-disaster response operations.

The chosen data gathering methodology is a purposeful sampling of individuals that have been identified as decision makers in past disaster events. A total of approximately 30 decision makers were interviewed using an open-ended questionnaire. Their responses were transcribed and analyzed using an inductive approach.

Dana Fisher, University of Maryland
Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Evan Schofer, University of California, Irvine

Society and the Environment Book Series from Columbia University Press

In 2016, Columbia University Press established a new book series on Society and the Environment. The series will encompass a range of social science research and advance scholarship on cutting edge global issues at the nexus of society and the environment. The series recognizes that the impact of humans on the natural environment is one of the most pressing issues of the twenty-first century. Key topics of concern include mounting natural resource pressures, accelerating environmental degradation, and the rising frequency and intensity of disasters. Governmental and non-governmental actors have responded to these challenges through increasing environmental action and advocacy, expanding the scope of environmental policy and governance, and encouraging the development of the so-called “green economy.”

The editors of this series are recruiting authors to write books that are rigorous scholarship with contemporary appeal and that transcend academic boundaries. The series editors are accepting one- or two-page proposals that summarize the book (its thesis, purpose, and methodological approach) and describe the intended audience. Proposals should also identify key questions or problems the proposed book will address or answer. For more information, please refer to CUP’s proposal submission guidelines:

Peter Gibbons, City of Longmont
Eric O'Brien, City of Longmont
Brett Rosso, City of Longmont
Charley Cross, City of Longmont

GIS and Disaster Recovery: Mapping FEMA Project Worksheets for the Recovery Process

After the 2013 and 2015 floods, which are State of Colorado- and FEMA-declared disasters, the City of Longmont was left with over 42 FEMA Project Worksheets (PWs) and over $50 million in disaster recovery grants to administer. The city decided to use their pre-existing GIS tools to map the PWs and prepare the city for the long-game of disaster recovery. The long-game includes a 20+ year audit cycle, infrastructure that cannot be removed or modified within FEMA's warranty period, and a long-term archive of all activities associated with the disaster in the city's records system. The city found new and relevant ways to map their PWs to facilitate the recovery process, including tagging infrastructure and areas with recovery data, understanding the spatial extent of PWs, and interlinking the entire recovery process through the city's GIS. The result of this process includes a robust and centralized understanding of the city's recovery, minimization of risk for the city in disturbing FEMA-funded infrastructure, and shareable maps that offer a spatially relevant and data-rich view into Longmont's recovery.

June Gin, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center

Planning for Homeless Service Providers’ Role in Community Disaster Response and Recovery

Individuals experiencing homelessness face disproportionate risks during disasters. Resilient communities need to develop strong pre-disaster networks of service providers prepared to address their health and social service concerns. This poster presents a newly released Homeless Toolkit, "Disaster Preparedness to Promote Community Resilience: Information and Tools for Homeless Service Providers and Disaster Professionals," an interagency collaborative by the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center within the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Communities have struggled to create an interconnected system that brings together emergency management and community-based organizations (CBOs) to coordinate efforts to address homeless populations’ disaster needs. CBOs are often disconnected from formal emergency management planning. They also face challenges in developing their internal readiness to be able to continue providing services in disasters. Finally, the health care system may experience surges that interrupt the delivery of care for homeless individuals during disasters. Providers experienced in delivering health care and services to homeless populations will be especially important partners.

The toolkit provides guidance to address these issues, focusing on: 1) creating an interconnected system, 2) planning for service continuity, and 3) guidance for health care providers. The toolkit also offers specific examples of communities that have applied recommendations to strengthen the ability of community organizations and health providers to address homeless individuals’ disaster needs. Preparedness for CBOs will enable them to be resilient partners in helping homeless individuals recover after disasters.

June Gin, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Richard Eisner, Independent Scholar
Claudia Der-Martirosian, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Aram Dobalian, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center

“Preparedness is a Marathon, Not a Sprint:” Disaster Preparedness in Los Angeles Community-Based Homeless Organizations

Community-based organizations (CBOs) that house and shelter homeless individuals are critical to supporting this population during disasters. However, they often lack adequate preparedness to sustain their service operations during disasters, and are often unable to prioritize disaster planning.

 A maturity model for CBO conceptualizing preparedness in progressively advanced steps can help address these challenges: 1) ensuring life safety for clients and staff; 2) continuity of operations; and 3) partnerships for community response. Using this maturity model, we assessed preparedness activities at six Los Angeles area CBOs providing homeless residential services. CBO staff members were asked to describe their organizations’ preparedness activities in these three areas.

CBOs reported being very prepared in implementing life safety measures. However, they had significant deficiencies in continuity of operations planning, including written protocols for prioritizing services. They had not communicated with clients how service delivery might change in a constrained environment. Two CBOs were integrated into community disaster plans, but the other organizations were unaware of collaboration opportunities.

These results underscore the importance of support for CBO preparedness from government partners. While CBOs can achieve life safety preparedness without substantial outside assistance, continuity of operations and collaboration often pose greater difficulty. The maturity model identifies specific areas where CBOs encounter roadblocks so partners can better target providing assistance. Funders and partners can promote collaboration, interoperability, and coordination with CBOs. Funding CBO business continuity training, including homeless providers in emergency response networks, and developing standardized templates for CBO preparedness will better equip CBOs for partnerships.

Lisa Graff, Illinois State Water Survey

Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Facilities

The Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Facilities (FVA) is a new tool that is available online to assist critical facilities, like hospitals, fire and police departments, and utility providers, evaluate their preparedness for potential future flooding events. At the heart of the assessment is a series of questions that will help a critical facility manager determine their facility’s risk based on factors like its proximity to a floodplain, past flooding issues, stormwater drainage structures, and the location of back-up generators, servers, and other critical systems.

After completing the assessment, users receive a report with specific recommendations for steps they can take to reduce the facility’s vulnerability to riverine and/or urban flooding and useful resources and recommendations to make those steps forward a bit easier.

The FVA was developed by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, the Illinois State Water Survey, and the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The FVA is available as an online tool here: http://mrcc.isws.illinois/FVA

Lesley Gray, Joint Centre for Disaster Research

Preparing for the Big One: Morbid Obesity in Disasters

This is a new mixed methodology research project, taking a pragmatic approach, addressing the conspicuous invisibility of any empirical research concerning very large people in disasters. A handful of largely anecdotal reports previously described situations in which people categorized as morbidly obese, a body mass index of 40 and above, were negatively impacted in disasters because of their size, shape and/or weight. Given the paucity of research in relation to morbid obesity, this research is exploring the layers of potential and actual vulnerabilities, engaging with individuals and communities most likely to be impacted to identify disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies. What is important in DRR is the identification of strategies by, with, and for communities.

Alex Greer, Oklahoma State University
Tristan Wu, Oklahoma State University
Haley Murphy, Oklahoma State University
Hsien-Ho Chang, Oklahoma State University

Community Risk Perceptions and Hazard Adjustment Adoption in Response to Induced Seismicity in Oklahoma

While Oklahoma is known for tornadoes and flooding events, more recently the state has also dealt with a dramatic increase in earthquake activity. From 1978 to 2008, the state averaged one to two earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or greater per year. Since 2015, however, the state has averaged one to two earthquakes of this magnitude or greater per day. Given that residents have little experience with seismicity and the potential for significant earthquakes, there is considerable risk. Additionally, little is known regarding what kinds of adjustments residents are considering or have undertaken, or whether they consider these events as natural or imposed upon them. To explore these issues, we used a mixed-methods design, including semi-structured interviews with local- and state-level emergency managers, representatives of non-profits working in the area, and oil and gas industry representatives, a serendipitous, quasi-experimental online survey of college students, and a mail-based survey of households in Shawnee and Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Preliminary results suggest that adjustments to induced seismicity are limited, preference is given to adjustments with applicability to multiple hazards, and that emergency management professionals are using familiar events to anchor expectations (that may not be inherently transferrable) when developing plans to address earthquake preparedness, response, and recovery.

Donghwan Gu, Texas A&M University
Nathanael Rosenheim, Texas A&M University

Spatial Data Exploration of Post Hurricane Matthew Field Study in Lumberton

Estimating the size of a population that might be dislocated by a disaster is vital to effective emergency response and recovery planning. Household dislocation and the number of days they spend away is a function of many factors such as structural damage, infrastructure/lifeline disruption, and socio-economic characteristics. This poster explores the spatial relationship between dislocation, flood damage, tenure, and income level. A field study was conducted after Hurricane Matthew caused flooding that damaged the community of Lumberton, North Carolina. Field study teams undertook damage inspections and, where possible, household interviews to gather data on both the physical and social consequences of Hurricane Matthew. This poster focuses on mapping field study data on dislocation by combining damage and household characteristics. GIS techniques were used to develop heat and contour maps. We explore factors shaping dislocation spatially.

The results of this analysis should be considered preliminary, however, they do allow us to better understand factors shaping household dislocation and the importance of considering both damage and socio-economic characteristics influencing dislocation. On the whole, the low-income neighborhoods with a high ratio of rental housings were located in a lower-lying part of the city, and accordingly, these neighborhoods were heavily flooded and experienced higher dislocation rates. In addition, the low-income households were more likely to return their damaged homes earlier than the other households. These results suggest damage as well as socio-economic factors such as tenure and income can have important influences on determining dislocation and how long households are away from their homes.

Kailash Gupta, The International Emergency Management Society-India

Pandemic Knowledge to Action

Time magazine proclaimed “Warning: We are not ready for the next pandemic” on the cover page of the May 15, 2017 issue. Inside, Bryan Walsh states, “Warning: The next global security threat isn’t what you think. On a hyperconnected planet rife with hyperinfectious disease, experts warn we aren’t ready to keep America-and the world-safe from the next pandemic.” Most countries rely on emergency response approaches that are ineffective, as evidenced during H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009 and Ebola Virus disease in 2014.

A dearth of knowledge about pandemics is not the issue; it’s the inaction. The European Commission funded the Action Plan on Science in Society Related Issues in Epidemics and Total Pandemics, abbreviated as ASSET, a transdisciplinary research project comprised of researchers from public health, vaccine and epidemiological research, social and political sciences, law and ethics, gender studies, science communication, and media.

A participatory governance strategy was developed and tested in a mobilization and mutual learning approach equipped with strategic and action plans. Consultations with about 50 citizens were successfully performed simultaneously on September 24, 2016, in eight European countries. Local initiatives are being developed in 12 cities. Experts thrice engaged face-to-face in a high-level policy forum discussion. The ASSET website ( develops a participatory dialogue with professionals, other projects, and the public. This is also done through social media.

Kailash Gupta, The International Emergency Management Society-India

The India Chapter of The International Emergency Management Society

The India Chapter of the International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS-IC) is a not-for-profit organization with about 275 members. Recent TIEMS-IC activities include:

•    Participating in UNISDR Global Platform on disaster risk reduction (DRR) held Cancun, Mexico in May 2017

•    Initiated and presented at National and Global Platforms on DRR Operation Resilience, a start-up that seeks to match demand and supply of goods and services

•    Co-hosted a Workshop on Higher Education in Disaster Management: Challenges & Opportunities in New Delhi on Feb. 10, 2017

•    Working to have Jaipur City selected as one of the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities

•    Conducting a disaster management course

TIEMS is a Brussels-based organization founded in 1993 and has 13 chapters in across the globe. The vision of TIEMS-IC is to make disaster resilience a mass movement. To do so, it promotes resilience at gatherings, such as kumbh mela, cricket matches, and local festivals. More information is available at or by contacting Kailash Gupta.

Kailash Gupta, The International Emergency Management Society-India

Crisis Participatory Governance

The concept of Crisis Participatory Governance (CPG) was developed as a part of the ongoing European Commission co-funded research project ASSET, or Action Plan on Science in Society Related Issues in Epidemics and Total Pandemics. CPG entails including citizens and civil society in risk communication and an organizing crisis response to engage citizens in policy-making and implementation.

Participatory governance is the backbone for equitable and sustained development. Participatory governance means including citizens in decision making that has implications for their wellbeing and for being transparent in decision making and implementation processes. CPG is important because people become both the providers and receivers of aid in a crisis. CPG enlarges the envelope of participatory governance.

CPG starts with effective risk communication that is contingent on identifying the cultural dimensions and priorities of the targeted groups. It is critical that identification is a result of a two-way communication process.

Research was conducted to address the challenges confronting policymakers and healthcare practitioners’ call for more inclusion of citizens and civil society in risk communication and organized response to pandemics threats in such a way that rumor will not be the main information channel and mistrust of authorities reduced. For future research, the question will be how to empower marginalized groups in CPG and why they would participate when they have higher priorities, for example of hand-to-mouth existence. Another research area is how to improve willingness and capacity of state actors in CPG.

Caroline Hackerott, Arkansas Tech University
Jeffrey Aulgur, Arkansas Tech University

Community-Based Adaptive Capacity and Resilience within Developing Societies

This project focuses on the role community-based organizations may have in enhancing community adaptive capacity and disaster resilience within Ecuador. Little literature exists regarding nonprofit disaster preparedness management, even less regarding organizations in developing countries. The ever present risk of natural disaster and man-made disaster pressures organizations to minimize losses (Dahlhamer & D’Souza, 1997). Nonprofit entities in disaster areas are critical to the response efforts and provide significant support not readily available through governmental efforts (Salamon, 1995; Kapucu & Wart, 2006; Vita & Morley, 2007). Specific disaster response efforts, in addition to the daily mission of nonprofit organizations, supplement material goods not provided by the government response (Salamon, Hems, & Chinnock, 2000; Steinberg, 2006; Weisbrod, 1977; Young, 2006).

The concept of community-based adaptive capacity provides a framework from which to consider community resilience. Partnering with the impacted public increases adaptive capacity and resilience (Comfort et al., 1999) and community-based organizations provide this vital link (Austin, 2012; Wisner, 2003). The emergence of nonprofit networks in Ecuador (Appe, 2013, 2016) may enhance disaster preparedness and mitigation. However, community-based organizations and civil sector preparedness in Ecuador may be influenced by political developments (Ortiz, 2015).

Julia Hage, Texas A&M University

Assessing Housing Quality and Storm Water Infrastructure in Informal Settlements Through Visual Analysis

In the state of Texas, and other states along the Mexican border, social and economic factors have historically shaped the development of what is often termed informal neighborhoods or subdivisions in unincorporated county areas known as colonias. Within colonias, housing is often of low quality and many lack infrastructure in the form of paved streets, water, sewage, and storm water management systems. The lack of quality housing and infrastructure to protect residents against natural hazards can leave the residents of colonias vulnerable to disasters, especially flooding. Assessing the quality of housing and storm water infrastructure within colonias can be an important step to address flood hazard mitigation and preparation. However, settlements such as colonias, and agencies that might be interested in helping them, may have limited time and resources to undertake such assessments and audits. 

In recent years a number of researchers and communities have begun to employ publicly available visual data such as Google Street View to assess housing and neighborhood quality issues. This project will explore the utility of employing Google Street View, to assess characteristics and quality of housing and infrastructure in colonias located in Cameron County, Texas. Specifically, Google Street View will be used to assess and compare a random sample of single-family residences located within and outside 100- and 500-Year flood plains. We hope to assess the potential effectiveness of visual analyses employing Google Street View as an effective and efficient way of furthering the hazard mitigation and adaptation processes for the residents of socially vulnerable communities, such as colonias. We hope this project can help highlight the potential use of a public domain of visual data and analysis as a tool to increase colonias residents’ self-determination in becoming communities resilient to disaster. 

Ubydul Haque, University of Florida

Globally Increasing Deadly Landslides

Landslides are a major hazard causing large human losses worldwide. It is therefore important to identify primary causes of deadly landslides and evaluate emerging global landslide prediction efforts and public preparedness on the hazard. However, there is only a little information on the historical patterns of fatal landslides and spatiotemporal spread at the global scale that would provide a baseline. Thus, in the present study, the spatiotemporal distribution of deadly landslides and risk mapping is presented for 129 countries over the past 20 years (1995–2014). Initially, the internet search engine Google was used to examine worldwide fatal landslides. In addition, web sources were used to cross-check and update. Approximately 90 percent of the recorded events could be validated and adapted, if necessary. Spatial and temporal trends were evaluated in 3434 locations. An emerging hot spot analysis tool was used to analyze the daily record of deadly landslide locations. In the studied period, a total of 156,259 deaths, 13,732 injuries, and 7,537 missing were recorded resulting from 3,876 landslide events. In the northern hemisphere, deadly landslides were reported most frequently from June to October. In contrast, in the southern hemisphere landslides were mostly recorded in December to February. Significant increasing trends of fatal landslides were observed in many countries, however most dramatically in China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Austria, Italy, Sierra Leone, Brazil, and Bolivia. This study characterizes baseline information on spatial and temporal analysis of the fatal landslides at the global scale. 

Tracy Hatton, Resilient Organisations
Charlotte Brown, Resilient Organisations
Erica Seville, Resilient Organisations
Sawyer Baker, Global Disaster Preparedness Center
Omar Abou-Samra, Global Disaster Preparedness Center

Bringing Resilience to Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises: An App for Business Preparedness

Small- and medium-sized enterprises are prevalent in economies around the world, yet they often do not have the resources, or do not know how, to invest in disaster preparedness. The American Red Cross Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) has embarked on a project to make preparing for disasters easy, accessible, and engaging for SMES around the world.

A new mobile application called Atlas: Ready for Business, will soon be available to provide jargon-free, practical, action-oriented advice for SMEs. New Zealand-based Resilient Organisations and GDPC have partnered to create content that includes traditional business continuity planning advice, guidance to develop organizational resilience capabilities, and tasks that will help business owners and managers implement resilience.

Atlas: Ready for Business allows small business owners and managers to assess their level of preparedness for natural and man-made disasters. Integrating mobile gaming elements, the interactive tool then takes users through a series of modules to develop or improve upon their preparedness. These interactions ultimately create an easily accessible crisis and recovery plan for the small businesses that can be used during a crisis. It also provides employees with the proper training needed to address disaster situations appropriately and effectively.

The app will be available for both Android and iOS devices. For more information about when the app will be available in your country, please contact the authors.

Tracy Hatton, Resilient Organisations
Charlotte Brown, Resilient Organisations
Erica Seville, Resilient Organisations

Business Recovery from Disaster

Organizations play a vital role in the recovery of communities following disaster events. This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge examining the impacts on, and recovery trajectories of organizations following disruption. A survey, conducted in 2016, examines recovery trajectories of 206 organizations impacted by the 2010-2011 Canterbury, New Zealand, earthquake sequence. The survey was the fifth in a series of surveys carried out by the authors following the earthquakes.

This sequence of earthquakes created many challenges for organizations with a wide range of disruption profiles. Some organizations suffered significant damage and loss including stock and buildings, while others faced staff, customer, and/or supplier disruption.

Data from this longitudinal data set gives a unique opportunity to examine the relative importance of different impacts, preparedness measures, and post event adaptation measures at different time points in recovery.

Key findings of the study include:

• Recovery is a long process for many organizations, 40 percent of organizations were still recovering two years after impact.

• Sector is a factor influencing short but not long term recovery.

• Demand changes were a key factor in the recovery trajectory of organizations. This indicates a need to review current business continuity processes to ensure that both demand and supply side impacts are appropriately planned for.

Jennifer Helgeson, National Institute of Standards and Technology

National Institute of Standards and Technology's Economic Decision Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed the Economic Decision Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (EDG), which provides a standard economic methodology for evaluating investment decisions aimed to improve that ability of communities to adapt to, withstand, and quickly recover and rebuild from disruptive events. This approach is applicable to resilience decisions on the community level ranging from retrofitting historical buildings, to new community bridge projects, and to assessing solutions to reduce losses in wildland-urban interface areas. The EDG is designed for use as a standalone guide or as a companion to the NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems. Based on the EDG, the NIST is now developing the first generation Economic Decision Guide Software tool to facilitate benefit cost analyses of competing community resilience plans.

For more information see:

Seong Nam Hwang, Southeast Missouri State University

Effects of Past Tornado Events on Human and Property Loss

The United States faces numerous tornadoes every year, resulting in extensive property damage, casualties, and a variety of demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental impacts. This research provides a GIS-based examination of the ways tornadoes in the U.S. between 1950-2015 have caused bodily injuries and the loss of life and properties. To this end, the research drew from two major secondary data sources: georeferenced tornado point data and the census block demographic data, and used GIS technology to create a map that shows relationships between the past tornado events and casualties (injuries or property losses). Raster-based spatial analysis, including the point density analysis and map algebra, was performed to find areas at high risk of tornadoes in relation to a high concentration of human populations. One of the major research findings from the spatial analysis show that the geographic areas, or regions impacted by tornadoes, have varied over time. The statistical results show a trend that the regions at risk of tornadoes extend from “Tornado Alley” to the states of Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida, indicating that the communities in those states that are newly considered to be vulnerable to tornadoes should step up to develop a tornado mitigation plan to help protect the public and its property from tornadoes.

Kanako Iuchi, Tohoku University

Challenges of Third-Sector Organizations in Post-Disaster Community Rebuilding: Six-Year Efforts by Intermediary Organizations after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Various institutions and organizations to support community rebuilding emerge in the recovery phase following large-scale disasters. While interim governments are the established leaders in the overall recovery process, research on post-recovery efforts in Kobe and Chuetsu revealed third sector intermediary organizations were key to linking governments and citizens. However, the role of the third sector in recovery is still being defined and their sustainability continues to be complicated (Sugano, 2015, Inagaki 2014).

This exploratory study aims to understand how intermediary organizations began their activities, established identities, and continue working in community rebuilding in Tohoku in the six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Eleven intermediary organizations in seven sub-political boundaries of Miyagi prefecture were interviewed in February 2017.

There are several findings. First, the way intermediary organizations began their activities varied – while some existed before the Great East Japan Earthquake, many non-native organizations randomly emerged after the event. However, their missions are similar as almost all aim to be active in civic engagement, which local governments often overlook. Second, organizations have gradually shifted their activities from response to recovery and to normal development. Lastly, the outlook for intermediary organizations is uncertain as many rely on governmental subsidies that are likely to terminate.

Lisa Jackson, Emergency Management Victoria

Lessons Management: From Individual Learning to Learning as One

Emergency management in Victoria has commenced on a journey to enable experiences and learning to be shared across the emergency management sector, resulting in change and improvement. This involves bringing together departments, agencies, organizations, and communities to establish a common approach to lessons management. In November 2015, after 12 months of extensive stakeholder engagement, Victoria’s first emergency management lessons management framework (EM-LEARN) was approved for discussion and released to the sector. The framework establishes cultural characteristics and a model for lessons management. The framework is being implemented in collaboration with the State Review Team (SRT). The SRT has representatives from 16 agencies and is the overarching leadership group that provides guidance and coordination for review, debrief, monitoring, lessons management activities, and performance improvement across the emergency management sector for all hazards. The SRT’s primary objective is to share knowledge and promote consistent sector-wide continuous improvement in a coordinated and effective manner. Implementation of the framework, together with the SRT, has been focused on five areas for action, including governance, communication, process, training, and technology. The success of this implementation relies on a strong lessons culture, and EMV has been focused on embedding this within the sector using innovative practices, with elements of just/fair, leadership, accountability, communication, and learning focused. This journey is allowing the Victorian emergency management sector to build a central source of information and a consistent approach to support behavioral change and future service delivery planning; thus improving our performance in providing public value to the community.

Pamela Jenkins, University of New Orleans
Liz Williams, Foundation for Louisiana

Planning in Partnership: Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments

Through a unique public-private partnership, Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) attempts to build a model for adaptive strategies for risk reduction developed with sustained and broad community input. The pubic-private partnership is co-led by Louisiana Office of Community Development and the Foundation for Louisiana. The process, which will extend over a 10 month period, includes a series of community meetings where residents voice their concerns, their hopes, and their solutions. Each set of meetings, five sets in total, allows community members in six coastal Louisiana parishes to envision the future of their communities. The result of these intensive conversations will produce a long-term vision for each parish and recommend specific projects, program and policies. LA SAFE will develop six pilot projects across the parishes as an initial investment while working on other solutions and funding strategies. At the time of this conference, two rounds of community meetings will be completed. During the first round, nearly 500 residents attended, producing 2000 separate ideas, that were then categorized. In the second round of meetings, another 550 residents attended, refining their original ideas and placing them in a context specific to their locale. All meetings are documented using multiple methods including observational notes, photographs, and videos. Initial meetings show the tensions between structural and non-structural risk reduction strategies, the discussion of levees and diversions in a context of long-term change that includes non-structural dimensions such as elevation, retrofitting, and relocation. Other tensions arise between the immediate needs of the vulnerable coastal communities and the long-term planning for sustainability.

Sangman Jeong, Kongju National University
Hayong Kim, Kongju National University
Insang Yu, Kongju National University
Moojong Park, Hanseo Univeristy

Development of a Management System for the Landslide and Debris Flow Damage Mitigation in Urban Areas

Localized thunderstorms and extreme rainfall events, which are mainly caused by global warming and climate change, cause the degree of sediment disaster as well as its damages to be degenerated. A recent example of this is the landslide from Mt. Umyeon in 2011, which left 16 people dead and a total damage of approximately $100 million USD. Such incidents demonstrate the urgent need for the development of a sediment disaster mitigation system. In particular, one that would consider the specific characteristics of urban areas.

The main goal of this research is to develop a sediment disaster prediction model, its corresponding countermeasure technology, as well as, a tool for vulnerability, estimation, and evaluation. Ultimately, it aims to build an integrated management system which monitors the urban sediment disaster from its prevention up to recovery period. To build resilient cities, the research institute divided the study into four topics: (1) assessment of specific urban sediment disaster vulnerability (2) development of suitable sediment disaster countermeasures (3) development of specific urban sediment disaster prediction with 3D simulation technology and (4) improvement of legal and institutional systems. With the study currently on its final stage, the research institute intends to contribute in the advancement of the disaster related industry in Korea and protect its citizens from future landslide and debris flow disasters.

This research was supported by a grant (13SCIPS04) from Smart Civil Infrastructure Research Program funded by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) of Korea government and Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA).

Sangman Jeong, Kongju National University
Insang Yu, Kongju National University
Hayong Kim, Kongju National University
Taesung Cheong, National Disaster Management Research Institute

Assessment of Physical Risks of Flood, Wind, and Snow Disasters for Houses

The increase in magnitude and frequency of natural disasters intensifies the disaster damage in the world. In the case of Korea, damage coming from flood, wind and snow disasters were recorded as $4.2 billion USD, $1.8 billion USD, and $0.9 billion USD, respectively, as they represent 99 percent of the total natural disaster damage in the country. In order to mitigate such damage to houses and establish countermeasures scientifically, assessment of the physical risk by flood, wind, and snow disasters is vital. In this study, such assessment was applied for houses in Daegu, Ulsan, Gyeongbuk and Gangwon in Korea. Flood inundation, wind velocity, and snow-depth maps were developed under the scenario of design frequency for each house. Vulnerability functions for flood, wind, and snow were constructed and its property, for a total of 758, 209 houses. The results revealed the houses which were damaged by flood, wind, and snow, thus, their damages were estimated. Moreover, the physical risk for houses was classified according to damage. The resulting physical risk can be used for the identification of hazardous houses and determination of priority of investment for future disaster mitigation projects.

Ihnji Jon, University of Washington
Shih-Kai Huang, Jacksonville State University
Michael Lindell, University of Washington

Tornado Warning Polygons: Are Gradient Polygons More Effective?

Since 2007, when the National Weather Service replaced its county-wide warnings to inform households threaten by tornado risks with smaller warning polygons, studies have examined individual perceptions of strike probabilities (ps) in response to tornado warning polygons and the impacts of side information (e.g., storm radar images). Past findings indicated that ps would be highest at the polygon’s centroid and then decline as the location becomes further distant from the centroid. Nonetheless, individuals’ ratings on ps significantly shifted when storm radar images were presented together with the polygon. These findings entice a new research question—would a gradient polygon, which displays probabilities of tornado striking within the polygon, better communicate the tornado risks to individuals than a conventional polygon? To test this hypothesis, this study recruited 145 participants to rate ps for 22 hypothetical warning polygons in four different conditions (conventional polygon, gradient polygon, conventional polygon with tornadic storm cell, gradient polygon with tornadic storm cell). The multivariate analysis of variance indicates the condition effect is significant (Wilks Λ = 0.25, F66 = 3.27, p < .001) that individuals’ ps ratings were different across the conditions. In short, our results showed that gradient polygons had some potential in communicating tornado risk more efficiently in the sense that ps judgments had a more consistent pattern, and that it enhanced the polygon borderline effect, which significantly decreases ps judgments outside the polygon borderline. 

Brittany Kiessling, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Community Environmental Resilience to Disasters

Improving community resilience to disasters is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014-18 Strategic Plan. To fulfill the goals of this Strategic Plan, the EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program has developed the Community Environmental Resilience Index (CERI) project. The goal of the CERI project is to develop indicators, an index, and decision support tools that can help community stakeholders assess and enhance their resilience. The CERI project seeks an interdisciplinary approach to resilience that addresses key environmental and social factors that contribute to a community’s ability to anticipate, prepare for, adapt to, and overcome a disaster.

The project has three phases. The first phase involves an evaluation of indicators that measure critical social and environmental factors that affect resilience. In phase two, researchers will develop and test an index of weighted, qualitative and quantitative indicators. In phase three, researchers will develop and test community decision support tools with the input of community stakeholders.

The purpose of this poster is to: 1) communicate the value and purpose of the CERI project, 2) explain each phase of the project, including completed products, 3) outline the conceptual framework used to assess indicators and develop an index, and 4) solicit feedback about the development of an index and decision support tool.

DISCLAIMER. The views expressed in this abstract are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

Margaret Kilvington, Independent Researcher
Wendy Saunders, GNS Science

Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities to Translate Science into Planning Practice for Natural Hazard Risk Reduction

The way in which natural hazards science is incorporated in local level decisions on land use is a complex process, influenced by numerous social levers and networks. Both research providers and policy and planning practitioners are aware of many of the challenges associated with enabling science to practice. However, efforts to improve the situation are sometimes misplaced and dominated by ideas about improved delivery and science communication that can place undue burden and expectations on only one component of a complex system. This paper provides a framework to explore the challenges and opportunities to improve the science to planning interface for natural hazards, with two examples: the inclusion of risk science into the replacement Christchurch District plan for land instability in the Port Hills; and for a plan change to intensify development in Petone, a community located in the most hazardous location in the Wellington region.

In this research we found that the availability of technical information alone is not enough to ensure that natural hazards science is able to contribute to any planning decision. Rather, a mix of factors act to facilitate and constrain this. These include the time limits of existing planning processes; the skills and resources of planners and policy makers; the availability of consultants or knowledge brokers who can interpret technical information into compelling and plausible planning options; and importantly, social and political pressure which shapes the decision context and directs it towards a specific planning outcome that may not accommodate natural hazard risk as a high priority. 

Qiuxi Li, University of Delaware

Rebirth and Challenges: The Fieldwork in Ethnic Settlements in the Post-Reconstructed Sichuan

The massive earthquake that struck the southwest of China left more than 87,000 people dead and millions homeless. Many of the victims are Qiang, an ethnic minority group in China. In the years since the catastrophe, the Chinese government has undertaken an enormous task of reconstruction. Eight years after the earthquake, the author revisited several quake-affected ethnic settlements, focusing on their reconstruction work and its impacts on local society. The findings indicate that the economic status of these reconstructed sites vary due to differences in geographical location, cultural backgrounds, industrial structure, and reconstruction type (reconstruction on original site, nearby, or relocation). 

The newly-emerged tourism, in forms of ethnic tourism and disaster tourism, have played a critical role in their economic recovery. Generally, the places that retained the purest ethnic cultural tradition show great economic vitality after the reconstruction, if they had not been relocated. Ethnic communities that have assimilated to dominant Han culture are now undertaking great efforts to rejuvenate their ethnic minority culture by changing the appearance of their communities. However, the ethnic culture in these communities is misleadingly presented, local economy is depressed, and people are struggling to make a living. Moreover, the findings also suggest that disaster tourism has a decay curve and cannot be a sustainable industry and that there are difficulties in protecting large-scale earthquake ruins. This study provides insight into the post-disaster reconstruction issue, and impacts of the reconstruction on social, cultural and economic aspects.

Shen-Chang Lin, University of Delaware
Sue McNeil, University of Delaware
Rusty Lee, University of Delaware

GIS-Based Information Needs of First Responders in Highway Emergencies

The failure of highway infrastructure, such as a bridge collapse, flooding, hazmat spills, or other disasters, may cause extensive network disruptions in both temporal and spatial scales. In these dynamic and complex traffic conditions, first responders often have to function with little and incomplete information. Access to real time traffic data using GIS applications offer an opportunity to improve first responders’ situational awareness and decision making in response operations. To better understand the information needs of first responders in highway emergencies and the usefulness of GIS tools, this research gathers the practical perspectives of first responders. 

Specifically, the research focuses on enhancing police’s situational awareness and understanding related information needs because police take more responsibility of traffic emergency operations compared to other first responders and have many shared responsibilities with transportation authorities ranging from scene management to large-scale traffic control. The research utilizes in-depth semi-standardized qualitative interviews with state troopers, local police, and emergency managers to understand the role of police, procedures, challenges, and information needs in highway emergency response. In addition, a survey is used to identify the GIS-based information that fits the needs of police and improves situational awareness. Four GIS-based functions, traffic information capturing, navigation assistance, operation planning, and traffic condition monitoring, are evaluated by interviewees. The research findings are intended to guide the development of GIS applications in highway emergency response for improving police’s situational awareness and response performance in the future. 

William Lovekamp, Eastern Illinois University
Cameron Craig, Eastern Illinois University

Nature's Fury and the Human Spirit

In the mid afternoon of May 26, 1917, nature thrust its vengeance against humanity in two very small communities in east central Illinois when the third deadliest tornado disaster on record swept across Illinois. Mattoon and Charleston in Coles County were the most severely impacted communities. In Mattoon, the tornado killed 53, injured another 409, destroyed 496 houses, and partially destroyed 124 homes, leaving 2,500 homeless. The path of destruction was 2.5 miles long by 2.5 blocks wide, and damage estimates near $1.2 million in 1917 dollars. This would be equivalent to approximately $22.5 million dollars in damage today. In Charleston, the tornado killed 38, injured another 182, destroyed 221 homes, and partially destroyed another 265. The path of destruction, which passed a mile north of the State Normal School, now Eastern Illinois University, was 1.5 miles long by 600 yards wide, with damage estimates of $781,000 in 1917 dollars. This would be equivalent to approximately $14.6 million dollars in damage today, a total of approximately $37 million dollars of damage in the county by today’s standards.

After the destruction, mothers, fathers, and strangers from other regions worked together to survive and rebuild a community that has become the foundation of humanity and companionship in Charleston and Mattoon. Two years of research and multiple interviews with community members led to the production of a documentary film called, Nature's Fury and the Human Spirit: The Charleston and Mattoon Tornado 26 May, 1917.

JingChein Lu, Central Police University

Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Public Shelter Demand Due to Typhoon: The Case of 2009 Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan

Understanding the demand for public sheltering and preparing for it before emergencies are critical for population protection. Research has identified several demographic and socioeconomic factors that may influence shelter-seeking behavior. Disaster loss models, e.g. HAZUS, use factors such as race/ethnicity and income to estimate the demand of public sheltering for a specific geographic area. However, the research that focuses on public sheltering demand and related socioeconomic factors identification is relatively limited in countries other than the United States.

This study uses survey data of Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan to examine demographic and socioeconomic factors related to public shelter seeking. Findings indicate that race/ethnicity matters. Indigenous households tend to use public shelter at a higher rate when compared to non-indigenous groups. Indigenous households with lower income and lower education are even more inclined to use public shelter. This study suggests that local governments need to integrate population characteristics in disaster scenarios to better plan for sheltering strategies. For a major typhoon event in Taiwan, about 60 percent of dislocated indigenous households and 20 percent of dislocated non-indigenous households may demand public sheltering services. 

Allison Madera, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

“I Had to Try to Establish an Identity without a Business:” Business Interruption, Identity Disruption, and Innovative Recovery Strategies among Small Business Owners Following the 2013 Colorado Floods

Disaster scholars have researched and documented the many ways small businesses are more vulnerable to disasters than larger firms, citing such post-disaster challenges as limited resources, a lack of redundancy, and disadvantages regarding insurance. Much of this literature takes an organizational approach, and when scholars research business owners themselves, these discussions are often limited to correlations between an owner’s demographic characteristics and business recovery outcomes, such as whether an organization will survive. The literature lacks discussions on how business recovery may affect the owners themselves, overlooking personal consequences like changes in self-perceptions as post-disaster conditions challenge an owner’s identity.

I address this gap by examining small business owners’ experiences and perceptions following the 2013 Colorado Flood. Drawing on interviews with seventeen small business owners from Estes Park and Lyons, Colorado, I discuss business recovery experiences and the relationship between responses to post-flood challenges and personal identity. Participants described how they were troubled by their dependence on aid at a time when they were incapable of providing for others, which several valued as an element of their identities. Many considered business ownership and entrepreneurial traits to be central to their identities. Some were able to take advantage of opportunities that came out of challenges like business interruption to act in entrepreneurial ways, coming up with innovative strategies to meet financial and personal recovery goals. Additionally, some adopted methods they had improvised to meet business-related recovery goals, like mitigating financial losses, as long-term better business practices.

Julie Maldonado, Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network
Heather Lazrus, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Bob Gough, Intertribal Council on Utility Policy

Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions

The Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions program facilitates cross-cultural approaches for adaptation solutions to extreme weather and climate events, climate variability, and climate change. It was initiated to increase engagement among indigenous communities in the United States and indigenous and non-indigenous scientists by asking the question, “What are the elements of successful co-production of science and policy in the fields of extreme weather and climate change?” The goal is to address the challenges of understanding and responding to a changing and variable climate, extreme weather events, and research, and policy needs. The program has evolved into a movement of engaged indigenous and non-indigenous individuals, including leaders, environmental experts, students, and scientific professionals from across the United States, including Alaska and the Pacific Islands. Under Rising Voices, social and physical scientists work together and in full partnership with community members to follow cultural protocols and understand community needs and priorities. Research collaborations between climate and indigenous scientists and communities are pursued that would not be possible by physical scientists, social scientists, or communities in isolation. Rising Voices also emphasizes participation of indigenous students and early career scientists. This is an important step in rectifying the considerable under-representation of indigenous populations in atmospheric sciences, decision making, and policy efforts in the United States.

Natasha Malmin, Georgia State University

The Influence of Disaster Resiliency Indicators on Health: A 2010 U.S. County-Level Analysis

Are investments in disaster resiliency also associated with better health outcomes in communities? In a preliminary analysis, I examine the relationship between disaster-associated baseline social, economic, institutional, and environmental resilience measures and various health outcomes using ordinary least squares regression. Using county-level data from the 2010 Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities, developed by the Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute, and health outcomes provided by the Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, I found that social resilience indicators had the strongest, consistent and significant (p-value < = 0.05) associations across all health measures. As social resilience indicators increased by one standard deviation, premature deaths decreased by .540 standard deviations, the percentage of poor or fair health days decreased by .669 standard deviations, and poor mental health days decreased by .398 standard deviations. The remaining resilience indicators did not have consistent relationships across the various health measures. For instance, economic resilience was inversely associated with premature deaths, yet was positively associated with the other health measures. Researchers and practitioners are developing indices to measure the capacity of communities to withstand disasters. How these indices relate to the health of the public comparatively across the U.S. is still developing. Understanding how these issues relate can continue to spur interdisciplinary outreach in reducing morbidity and mortality to disasters and promote holistic community recovery in the face of a changing climate.

Rejina Manandhar, Arkansas Tech University

Managing Information to Assess Post-Disaster Risks

The collection, collation, and distribution of information is crucial in emergency management to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Information management is specifically challenging during and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster due to the urgency of the situation and uncertainties about risks and safety. The lack of information not only impedes the response and immediate post-disaster activities of emergency management organizations, but it also puts the public at risk. Timely and effective management of information helps to assess the post-disaster risks, enhance safety of the public, and facilitates response and recovery efforts. 

This study examines the information management behaviors and strategies of local emergency management organizations following Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, it also examines the type of information emergency management organizations seek to assess post-disaster risks and to develop return-entry messages after a disaster. The data is collected through semi-structured telephone interviews with county and municipal emergency management organizations in the state of New Jersey that experienced return-entry in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It is expected that the findings of this study will aid emergency management organizations in identifying information-management strategies that enable them to assess post-disaster risks effectively and to make prompt risk communication decisions after a disaster.

Valerie Marlowe, University of Delaware
Nuno Martins, University of Delaware
James Kendra, University of Delaware

Data Mirage: Challenges and Limitations of the Use of Local Data in Understanding Disaster Impacts

Resilience has increasingly become a national priority in the public and private sectors of the United States, but efforts by scholars in recent years to better understand what makes communities resilient, and how to build resilience in communities that are not, have been hampered by difficulty accessing and utilizing appropriate and relevant data. In an era of Big Data, where data is unceasingly collected by everything from government agencies to smartphones, data regarding crucial indicators of pre- and post-disaster community functioning are neither accessible, nor tailored to goals of resilience-building, allowing for an idea of resilience that can only be blurry and approximate. 

In an effort to understand more about the data that local communities collect, and to further examine the data landscape in the United States (along with the concomitant possibilities and limitations of data collection to support the development of a model of community recovery), the authors conducted an exercise in data collection. The goal of this exercise was to undertake an organized, qualitative attempt to understand what types of data are collected at the local level, and with what frequencies. This was primarily accomplished through analysis of six disaster case studies, chosen to represent a variety of geographic scales and locations, and impacts of various types of hazard, with differing levels of impact severity. This poster presents the findings of this project, including a depiction of data collected for the pre- and post-disaster period in each community.

Tony McAleavy, Rabdan Academy

A Picture Says a Thousand Words: Linking Disaster Theory to Practice through Visual and Linguistic Metaphor

Disaster and emergency management theory has not traditionally informed practice even though, the academic-practitioner divide has lessened in recent years. Mechanisms for knowledge transfer between these stakeholders remains a work in progress. Academic language and culture differs significantly from that of practitioners, which is different from the natural language used by the communities we serve; this hampers collaboration. This practice does not yet fully embrace academia and is already accounted for in the works of distinguished writers such as Jensen, Neal, Quarantelli, Rubin, Smith and Wenger, and Tierney. What is needed is an effective communicative mechanism to transfer rich information between stakeholders in a timely and understandable format to promote dialogue and knowledge sharing. A study of how British and American emergency managers focused on how they understand, interpret, and make sense of their respective command and control frameworks was completed. Linguistic and visual methods were used to demonstrate a metaphor’s ability to stimulate timely and deeper knowledge exchange beyond the spoken word.

Qualitative data was collated via 30 semi-structured interviews with federal, state, and local emergency managers. Content, linguistic, and visual metaphor analysis were applied resulting in five conceptual metaphors inspired by organizational theorist Gareth Morgan. The resultant metaphors, Command and Control as a Candle, a Trivial Pursuit Pie, a Golden Thread, Spinning Plates, and Virus and Antidote, combine visual imagery and linguistic narratives to link existing theory to practice, forming an accessible communications mechanism that promotes understanding and critical dialogue, which can be readily applied to other disaster problems.

ConSandra McNeil, Jackson State University

Proposing a Research Study to Investigate the Impact of Major Disasters on Family Experiences and Implications for Crisis Managers and Other Professionals

Research that addresses the impact of major disasters on marital/intimate relationships, parent/adult child relationships, and fictive kinship is scant. Post displacement crises that impact the family are rarely discussed and documented in research literature. There is evidence to show that when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the coastal areas of Mississippi, recovery had multiple effects on residents of New Orleans, including employment, racial discrimination, loss of healthcare, post-traumatic stress disorder, and relationship dynamics.

This research project is in the early infancy and is seeking ways to determine what post-crisis issues led to or can lead to relationship discord and family separation after a major disaster. My presentation will focus on relevant literature, potential methodology approaches, and potential theoretical models and framework that can have implications on these types of family crises; and based on the findings, what are the recommendations for professionals (i.e., crisis managers) for successfully working with families of disasters in this county.

Michelle Meyer, Louisiana State University
Brant Mitchell, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute
Carlee Smith, Louisiana State University
Kyle Breen, Louisiana State University

Hurricane Evacuation Behaviors and Intentions in Southeast Louisiana Eleven Years Post-Katrina

Evacuation is central to emergency management planning that will reduce risk to hurricanes for the nearly 40 percent of the US population that resides in coastal communities. This study examined previous evacuation behavior and evacuation intentions for 2,635 southeast Louisiana coastal residents. Results indicate that evacuation behavior correlates with evacuation intentions, and both correspond to storm strength and official evacuation orders. Demographic factors had varying effects on both behavior and intentions, with gender and race having the most consistent effects. The effects of income, education, homeownership, and housing type varied by storm strength, and had different effects for intentions and behaviors. Hazard proximity affected evacuation behaviors, but not intentions. Previous flooding and wind damage had minimal effects on evacuation intentions. Risk perceptions had stronger effects on evacuation intentions than on actual behaviors except for perceptions of safety in one’s home. Overall, the results indicate that most persons will evacuate from strong storms, especially when ordered to do so. The results call for more research into how predictors of actual behaviors and intentions vary even while behaviors and intentions are correlated.  

Scott Miles, University of Washington

DESaster: Discrete Event Simulation of Disaster Recovery

DESaster is a Python programming library for developing discrete event simulations of disaster recovery that has been designed to be open, modular, and extensible. The DESaster library is intended to support collaborative recovery planning activities. DESaster is a modular library for building simulations and so does not impose hard-coded progressions of or policies for recovery. Different types of recovery entities, resources, programs, and policies can be arranged in different ways by the user. One simulation can be built that requires a homeowner to submit an insurance claim prior to applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) individual assistance, while a different simulation can be built that allows owners to make both requests simultaneously and reimburse FEMA (if necessary). DESaster can represent some types of decision logic for entities. For example, an entity can be imbued with patience related to each resource request or search for residence (e.g., for a rental in the jurisdiction). If the duration of an event exceeds that patience (e.g., 90 days patience to secure a local rental), the current event is interrupted and a new event triggered (e.g., search outside the jurisdiction). Currently, the deployable codebase of DESaster exclusively represents housing recovery related to single family wood frame houses. As part of one National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project, DESaster will be expanded to represent a broader range of housing recovery entities, building types, resources, programs, and policies. For another NSF project, inclusion of utilities infrastructure is underway. DESaster is open source and available for use and contributions as part of its development:

Shalini Misra, Virginia Tech

Thinking and Decision Making in an Age of Divided Attention

We will investigate the challenges that digital overload poses for managerial thinking and decision making. We will interview emergency managers to identify the characteristics of their information environment and overload stressors. Then, we will pilot a survey to test the relationship between perceived information overload and the capacity for integrative/vertical thinking. We will also design an experiment examining the relationship between information overload, team level macrocognition, collaborative processes, and outcomes during high stress decision making contexts. The project will bring innovative psychological theories and methods to the literature on crisis and emergency decision making and public management. In psychology, we will innovate by analyzing the effect of digital overload on the capacity for attention and thinking of public sector professionals.

Diana Mitsova, Florida Atlantic University
Alka Sapat, Florida Atlantic University
Ann-Margaret Esnard, Georgia State University
Alberto Lamadrid, Lehigh University

Using Expert Judgment to Understand the Impacts of Critical Infrastructure Interdependencies on the Delivery of Vital Community Services

The vulnerability of critical infrastructure systems and their interdependencies have long-standing implications for community recovery and resilience. This study reports on the results of an expert opinion survey of state and county emergency management officers, city managers, and other professionals from South Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania aimed at assessing the impact of infrastructure interdependencies on the delivery of critical community services. A set of reference events (the hurricane season of 2004-2005, Superstorm Sandy, and the 2011 Nor’easter) were used to elicit expert judgment and to evaluate the impact of power outages and disruptions of communication, transportation, and water infrastructure on vital community services such as emergency operations, hospital care, sheltering, traffic management operations, supply of goods, and evacuation. The experts were asked to select the three most important disruptions in each service category and statistically significant interdependencies were identified. The statistically significant variables in each service category were used as independent variables in a binary logistic regression to understand if the identified interdependence can be correctly predicted and to assess the relative importance of each predictor. Further, nested models were used to examine interactions among the predictor variables. The results indicate several levels of complex interactions. Some interdependency models, especially those related to emergency services and hospital care, were found to have a large number of statistically significant main effects (conjoint interdependencies) and interaction terms. We conclude with a set of policy implications for addressing the restoration of critical infrastructure systems to improve disaster recovery outcomes. 

Cristina Muñoz, University of Iowa

A Meta-Analysis of Social Capital Research for Disaster Recovery

Community resilience is an increasingly important research topic. As disasters grow in frequency and demand for external resources increase, communities’ internal capacity to recover from disaster becomes critical. One of the key components of community resilience is social capital, the potential reproduction of social relationships via the interchange of tangible and nontangible resources. This poster will present the results of a meta-analysis on social capital literature in disaster recovery case studies. The poster will first illustrate a conceptual model for social capital theory, which defines the relationship between social ties, resources, and community characteristics such as social trust and community cohesion. The synthesis of the literature is based on elements of the conceptual model. This approach will highlight areas where social capital theory is underdeveloped. Focus is given to discrepancies between theoretical elements and metrics of social capital. Suggestions for future research incorporating social capital in community resilience is provided.

Mary Nelan, University of North Texas
Ronald Schumann, University of North Texas
Laura Siebeneck, University of North Texas
Gary Webb, University of North Texas

Research at the University of North Texas: Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science

The newly formed Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science at the University of North Texas was launched in the fall of 2016. Although the department is new, it houses the world’s first bachelor’s degree program in emergency management, the Emergency Administration and Planning program, which was established in 1983, and a master’s degree is currently being planned. The department is committed to conducting cutting-edge research on the human dimensions of hazards and disasters and educating the next generation of emergency management professionals. Our distinguished faculty come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, including hazards geography, disaster sociology, and policy studies. This poster highlights some of their ongoing projects, including a study of disaster preparedness among Native American communities (funded by the National Science Foundation), a multi-institutional collaboration examining return and recovery patterns in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy (funded by the National Science Foundation), perceptions and trade-offs in long-term community recovery, and material convergence behaviors in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Mary Nelan, University of North Texas
Tricia Wachtendorf, University of Delaware
Samantha Penta, University at Albany

The Social Construction of Donations: Agility, Adaptability, and Alignment as Success Determinants in Relief Supply Chains

The convergence of material donations following disaster events is often dubbed a “second disaster” with non-priority and unnecessary goods causing transportation and storage challenges to the community of survivors. Interviews were conducted following Hurricane Sandy in 2013 and two tornadoes outside of Oklahoma City in May 2013. By utilizing the Triple-A model (agility, adaptability, and alignment), which has previously been applied to commercial and humanitarian supply chains, and the social construction paradigm, we investigated how stakeholders understand donations and the roles of the features of the Triple-A model in the disaster relief supply chain. 

Findings illustrate conflicting views about the necessity for agility, adaptability, and alignment. The findings reveal that individuals involved in the supply chain differentially assign value in the donations process, including if they value donor needs over survivor needs, and if cash or material items are of greater value to the donors and survivors. Agility, the timing, flexibility, and reaction time in the supply chain, was viewed as necessary to a healthy supply chain, however, there was not a universal understanding of how to achieve an agile supply chain. Overall, alignment of donor interests and survivor interests was constructed as necessary by stakeholders in the disaster affected community. However, donation drive coordinators lacked a clear understanding of how to align the interests of survivors and donors. Lastly, adaptability to structural changes was constructed as necessary, except in the cases of individuals and organizations that placed a higher value on donor generosity over survivor interests.

Kensuke Otsuyama, Kyoto University
Norio Maki, Kyoto University

Comparative Analysis of Legislative Structure on Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning in Japan and the United States

Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning (PDRP) has been a key agenda to cope with incremental trends of damage and loss from natural disasters in Japan. Recovery plans are expected to contain lessons learned from previous disasters, though there are time limitations that are challenging. The experience of major disasters highlights that several tasks for recovery planning can be done in advance. Although PDRP has been discussed for several decades among researchers and practitioners in Japan, there is limited implementation in municipalities such as Tokyo metropolitan. In order to enhance the implementation of PDRP, a review of legislation needs to be conducted about disaster risk reduction from the Isewan Typhoon in 1959. This preliminary research intends to identify the gap between two countries through the comparison of PDRP in Japan and the United States. The study found that legislation has been transformed at least three times in 25 years based on “National Preparedness” and the "National Preparedness Goal,” and PDRP is included in U.S. policies under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where recovery issues fall behind due to the overemphasis on emergency response and hazard mitigation without a central initiative post-disaster in Japan. 

Shaye Palagi, University of Colorado Boulder
Amy Javernick-Will, University of Colorado Boulder

Infrastructure Dormancy: Causes and Impacts of Unoccupied Homes at Post-Disaster Relocation Sites

Despite recognition that disasters are derived from a system of interrelated causes, such as social, economic, infrastructural, or geographic vulnerabilities, one subset type of disaster—destruction after coastal hazards—is often singularly associated with geographic exposure. This linkage motivates recovery actors to implement a particular type of post-disaster risk reduction: relocation of coastal communities. Relocating entire communities is a formidable task with an uncertain outcome; research has yet to demonstrate relocating reduces risk in a comprehensive and holistic way. 

To further understand the relocation process and investigate outcomes, we embarked on a longitudinal study of relocation implementation in the Philippines. After Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central islands in 2013, many municipalities selected relocation as their risk reduction strategy. We narrowed in on the relocation of over 16,000 families in Tacloban City, Leyte. During five months of fieldwork in 2016, an unplanned but un-ignorable issue emerged: infrastructure dormancy. We define infrastructure dormancy as a temporary period of latency between construction completion of an infrastructure asset and its ultimate utilization of its intended capacity. In Tacloban City, significant delays in transferring families resulted in housing infrastructure dormancy at many relocation sites, where a handful of transferred families are living against a backdrop of hundreds of unoccupied homes. Drawing from qualitative analysis of observations, documentation, and interviews with dozens of officials and community members, we present a discussion of the processes that lead to a disconnect between housing construction completion and move-in and explore the potential future impacts of housing infrastructure dormancy.

Melissa Parsons, University of New England

Cultural Worldviews and Natural Hazard Risk Perception

Perception of the risks of natural hazards is considered to be one of the precursors of desirable behaviors of mitigation, preparation, and resilience. However, the processes of risk perception are complex and are likely related to underlying cognitive factors associated with information processing. Cultural worldview theory suggests that people actively choose what to fear, and how much to fear it, in order to support their ways of life (Kahan, 2012). Aspects of these choices may include prioritizing public vs. private interests, choice vs. control, and differing levels of belief and/or adherence to egalitarianism, hierarchy, individualism, and communitarianism. To assess whether and how cultural worldviews relate to perceptions of risk to natural hazards, we recruited over 500 residents of New South Wales, stratified between urban and regional areas, who completed a cultural worldview questionnaire and a new questionnaire developed by the researchers to assess the following four aspects of natural hazards: 1) perceptions of the risk of natural hazards 2) perceptions of control over natural hazards 3) perceptions of responsibility for natural hazard preparation and outcome and 4) trust in different sources of information about natural hazards. Results indicated significant but varying relationships among cultural cognition types (i.e., egalitarianism, hierarchy, individualism, communitarianism) and the four aspects of natural hazard risk perception. Some consistency was found regarding how cultural cognition types predicted risk perception across four different types of natural hazards (bushfire, flood, severe thunderstorm, earthquake) but, this also varied by geographical location. Understanding the influence of cultural worldviews on attitudes toward natural hazards might lead to community engagement messages orientated to the views of egalitarianism, hierarchy, individualism, and communitarianism.

Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Lubna Mohammad, Colorado State University

Cumulative Disaster Exposure and Coping Capacity of Women and their Children in Southeast Louisiana

The Women and Their Children’s Health (WaTCH) study ( is a five-year project launched in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. This research focuses on the potential physical, mental, and community-level health effects of the disaster on women and children who lived in the seven most affected southeastern coastal parishes in Louisiana.

The present study draws from the WaTCH survey data and delves into the lives of nine mother-child pairs who we deemed “exposure outliers” based on their multiple, repeated exposure to major disasters since 2005. These disasters negatively affected the child and the household and in all cases led to multiple displacements of the family.

We conducted in-depth interviews in 2016 to learn more about the social support and coping capacity of women and their children who experienced multiple disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Isaac and/or the BP Oil Spill. Results indicated that disaster experiences alone did not determine disaster coping and recovery, but rather it was how these exposures combined with secondary stressors that led to what we refer to as “problem pile-up” for the child and the household. Due to disaster frequency and regularity, the families in the study did not have sufficient time to recover. Each new disaster brought additional challenges for the household. In an era of more frequent and intense disasters, this project has important ramifications for thinking about recovery from multiple disasters and how that can best be supported over time.

Lori Peek, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
Jennifer Tobin, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center
John van de Lindt, Colorado State University

Institutional Review Board Authorization Agreements: A Partnership between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Colorado State University

Large interdisciplinary research projects involving human subjects require significant effort to coordinate Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements across multiple universities. In an effort to streamline this process, it is becoming more common for one university to act as the lead on a project and establish an IRB Authorization Agreement (IAA). This Agreement, when signed, becomes part of each Institution's Federalwide Assurance (FWA) for the Protection of Human Research Subjects (Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS). 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) funded Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning headquarted at Colorado State University (CSU) has implemented an IAA between NIST, CSU, and 12 other universities involved in human subject’s research for this project. This five year study will include three-five field studies in post-disaster locations and the CSU-IRB has pre-approved a base protocol so that researchers can enter the field in a timely manner and not lose perishable data. In order to have this base protocol pre-approved, the lead researchers drafted not only the base protocol, but also all the supplementary interview guides, survey protocols, and other research instruments. This protocol was successfully used twice in 2016.

It is important that institutions can learn from this approach to protect human subjects while streamlining institutional approval across multiple universities and providing pre-approval for disaster field studies. This process can help reduce the time to entering the field after the disaster, while also increasing the time that teams have available to reflect on the research process pre-event. 

Samantha Penta, University at Albany

Figuring Out Where to Start: Developing Situational Awareness in Crisis Events

Extreme events have the potential to cause substantial harm to those subjected to them. In particular, disasters and epidemics can trigger an increase of people requiring medical care. At the same time, people involved in those health and medical responses may be presented with new and unfamiliar operating circumstances and demands. Through the use of observations, document analysis, and interviews with people who participated in medical relief efforts for the 2015 Nepal earthquake and the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, this research examines the underlying processes involved in planning and implementing an international crisis medical relief effort. 

Specifically, this study focuses on how people in organizations came to learn about and understand the crisis event they responded to and the context in which they operated. People engaged in a process of developing situational awareness consisted of two components: gathering and disseminating information, and processing that information. Information collection and dissemination took place both between individuals within an organization and between different organizations participating in the crisis response. The information collected was processed by assessing the information's content and quality. It was from these assessments that people involved in the relief efforts derived meaning about the crisis and their environment. Developing situational awareness began early in the response, and continued throughout the implementation of the relief effort. This research contributes to the body of work explaining how people and organizations come to understand and adapt to crises, and points to areas where there are similarities between responding to disasters and epidemics.

Victor Perez, University of Delaware

Environmental Justice, Climate Change, and Relocation

I have been involved in an ongoing interdisciplinary research project examining the potential for climate change impacts, such as sea level rise, to interact with contaminated properties in an urban, environmental justice community in South Wilmington, Delaware. The key thrust of this interdisciplinary project is the potential for soil and groundwater contamination to mobilize legacy contaminants as sea level rise contributes to higher tides and storm surges in coastal communities. The mobilization of contaminants, like arsenic or chromium, pose potentially serious threats to human and environmental health. As the sociologist on the project, I have been examining community perceptions of risk of sea level rise, flooding, pollution, and their perceived confluence on human health in the community. This work can help inform natural science and public policy colleagues about the most pressing concerns of the community; the embodied experiences of flooding; and the embodied health experiences of residents in order to help prioritize remediation efforts. One key finding to date, for example, is that the community is very concerned about sea level rise, but knows very little about it. Thus, their input on remediation is lacking and efforts to increase educational awareness and involvement in long-term hazard planning is needed. In addition, I am curious about the community’s perception of, and role of inequality in driving, more extreme climate change adaptation options like planned relocation. The work has many implications for environmental justice scholarship, community collaboration, public policy, and long-term climate change hazard planning.

Marla Petal, Save the Children

Child-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction and Comprehensive School Safety Research and Practice Linkages

Save the Children, internationally, with funding support from C&A and others, has launched at least a dozen research projects in the past two years to illuminate three areas that are considered vital to evidence-based practice in child-centered disaster risk reduction (C-CDRR) and comprehensive school safety (CSS). The topics center around three areas: the enabling policy environment, hazard impacts on education, and scalable solutions for risk reduction and resilience, especially in the face of urbanization and climate change. Project outputs are designed especially to meet the needs of field practitioners and technical advisors. The last of the projects in this suite  is intended to span the C-CDRR  and CSS policy-practice-research nexus, and we'll be looking at what we can do to make sure that evidence makes its way into practice and visa versa. 

The overall intention is to bring practitioners, policy-makers, and future researchers together into the discussion to more systematically and effectively bring evidence into practice, and to generate practice-based evidence. This includes:

1. Stimulating development and communication across a global C-CDRR/CSS community of practice of researchers and practitioners committed to helping to identify and bridge the gaps between research, practice, and policy.

2. Working together to develop strategic C-CDRR and CSS research objectives and developing a shared, stepped-logic and strategic road map/guiding model for a) developing and delivering theory- and evidence-supported C-CDRR and CSS frameworks and initiatives b) for monitoring and evaluating them c) for disseminating and implementing the initiatives that work at scale d) identifying research-produced utilization tools, will assist in meeting these main objectives.

If you are interested in being connected, please complete the survey found at:

Marla Petal, Save the Children
Rebekah Paci-Green, Western Washington University
Suha Ulgen, Risk RED

Comprehensive School Safety Assessment Suite

The Comprehensive School Safety Framework (CSS) is the foundation for the collective work of the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector (GADRRRES), and the common approach of the Worldwide Initiative for School Safety. It’s goals are the prevention of death and injury in schools, the assurance of educational continuity, the prevention of loss of education sector investments, and the development of a culture of safety. At the heart of a holistic approach is multi-hazard, child-centered assessment for both awareness and education, as well as for planning and decision-making.  

GADRRRES has developed a template of targets and indicators to monitor and encourage progress towards school safety in the areas of enabling environment, safe school facilities, school disaster management, and risk reduction and resilience education. To monitor and encourage progress towards school safety, GADRRRES partners have developed the CSS Assessment Suite, comprised of three tools to support education sector planning and decision making: 1) CSS First Step: a crowd-sourced smart-phone app to engage students, and community members in becoming aware of and reporting on school safety concerns; 2) School Safety Self Assessment Survey: a tablet-based app, automated reports and portal for school-based non-technical assessment of hazards and risks, school facilities conditions, school disaster management, and risk reduction and resilience education indicators. This step can triage facilities in need of technical inspection; and 3) VISUS Lite or VISUS Pro: a methodology for training skilled enumerators (professionals in construction trades) to conduct a rapid assessment which can yield cost estimates for needed intervention. The methods all include photo documentation. Data uploaded to a web-based portal generates automated reports with recommendations for schools, and aggregated reports on the web-based portal for planners and decision-makers.

Rachel Reeves, University of South Carolina
Susan Cutter, University of South Carolina

Scholarship, Research, and Development at the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute

The Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute (HVRI) at the University of South Carolina is an interdisciplinary research and training center focused on the development of theory, data, metrics, methods, applications, and geospatial analytical tools for understanding hazard vulnerability and resiliency science. HVRI facilitates local, state, and federal government efforts to improve emergency preparedness, planning, response, and disaster resilience through its outreach activities, including technical assistance to and translational products for practitioner communities. Our signature products include SHELDUS, SoVI®, and BRIC. Current HVRI projects include:

• Partnering with South Carolina Emergency Management Division to analyze past mitigation actions across the state and develop a hazards assessment for use in the state’s 2018 Hazard Mitigation Plan Update

• Assisting Hurricane Matthew disaster response efforts by tracking evacuation behavior through analysis of twitter geo-tagged tweets and a survey mailed to coastal residents across three states – South Carolina, Georgia and Florida—in partnership with University of Central Florida and University of North Georgia

• Updating SHELDUS, SoVI®, and BRIC to incorporate more recent census and hazard loss data including crop losses due to drought

• Supporting FEMA on their national Risk Index Project through social vulnerability mapping at the census tract level for the US

HVRI also houses the International Center of Excellence on Vulnerability and Resilience Metrics (ICoE-VaRM) which is part of the ICSU/UNISDR Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Program. In that effort, HVRI co-sponsored a workshop on the spatial and temporal dynamics of risk and vulnerability in Salzburg, Austria, September 2016.

More information at:

Flavio Ribeiro, University of Delaware

Disaster Risk Reduction or Disaster Risk Expansion: An Assessment of Risks Associated with the Sao Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer in the Semiarid of Brazil

This research uses a risk studies perspective to analyze the Sao Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer (SFIWT), which is the main project of the Brazilian government to mitigate the impacts of drought in the semiarid region of Brazil. If on one hand it is expected that the SFIWT will benefit the poorest population of Brazil with reliable freshwater and increase social-economic development in the region (Meller, 2011), on the other hand, this project is also creating new and potentially more destructive risks than drought for the whole country. Failures on the hydraulic system, unforeseen climatic events, environmental degradation, and man-made actions are considered by many specialists a real threat to the existence of the Sao Francisco river, some of its tributaries, and even other watersheds.

Far from being just a critique, this poster analyzes the Sao Francisco Inter-Basin Water to better understand the characteristics that make this project be considered a high-risk system and an even bigger threat to the country than droughts. The analysis relies on an integrated view of main environmental, social, and economic risks created by the SFIWT and asks: “Is the Sao Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer project reducing or expanding risk of disasters in Brazil?”

Cynthia Rivas, University of Delaware

Adaptive Spatial Management for Fires at the Wildland Urban Interface

This project focuses on the problem of fire in the wildland urban interface. Specifically, the automation of fuel mapping using remotely sensed data such as aerial photographs (with Near Infrared) and Lidar, is investigated. The research focuses on a small neighborhood located in Orinda, California. Structures such as buildings, homes, roads, and the variability of land use and the heterogeneity of vegetation are essential items in defining the difference between wildland and wildland urban interface fire. For the purpose of scale and manageability, a small portion of the neighborhood known as Sleepy Hollow is analyzed. 

The research defines and identifies the wildland urban interface through the use of aerial imagery and other ancillary spatial information. An automated mapping process is developed to extract vegetation, houses, and other urban structures. The process demonstrates that the automation of fuel identification is possible, but that further development is warranted. It is also observed that mapping and modeling fuels in the wildland urban interface is impeded by the heterogeneity of the human designed landscape. Mapping and modeling potential fires in the wildland urban interface is valuable, informs the community regarding potential damage caused by such an event and leads to mitigation strategies and plans that can help reduce risk of a catastrophic firestorm. Experimenting with and automating such a study brings us closer to being able to cost effectively map and model all wildland urban interface regions in California.

Claire Rubin, Claire B. Rubin & Associates
Gregory Vigneaux, California State University, Long Beach

The Disaster Time Lines Redux: Transitioning to an Online Service Model

The Disaster Time Lines, created by Claire B. Rubin and Associates, are an institution within emergency management presently being revived after a several-year hiatus. Through connecting events with their outcomes, the time lines provide a chronologically structured causal mapping of emergency management history. Charting the past from a causal perspective illustrates the evolutionary path leading to the arrival of key entities currently relevant to emergency management practice, education, and training. The time lines preserve emergency management history and in doing so inform present practice.

Approaching the arrival of the present as a product of the past aligns with complex systems science which emphasizes the importance of understanding how the past leads to the present. Historic knowledge allows for a rich understanding of the present and provides foundations for images of the future that practice can be aimed toward. The ongoing transition will embrace the project’s scientific foundations and highlight their presence in the service’s design, delivery, and use.

A central component of the ongoing revival is a transition to a service-based interactive online presence. The online format will allow documents to be accessible from any location that can be easily updated and the project can be continually expanded as needed. The transitioning of the Disaster Time Lines project is intended to support populations served by emergency management practitioners and adjoining stakeholders through informing and synchronizing practice among organizations' policies, plans, and research.

Wendy Saunders, GNS Science
Julia Becker, Massey University

The Christchurch Recovery: An Example of Resilience and Sustainability

The term resilience is increasingly being used in a multitude of contexts. Seemingly the latest buzz word, it can mean many things to many people, in many different situations. In the natural hazard context, the terms ‘sustainable planning’ and ‘resilience planning’ are now being used, often interchangeably. But from a natural hazard perspective, is a resilient community a sustainable one? In order to be sustainable, does a community need to be resilient? This poster provides an overview of resilience and sustainability within a land use planning and natural hazard context, and discusses how they are interrelated. With a focus on the earthquake impacted city of Christchurch, New Zealand, it presents the planning response to the earthquakes, and the sustainable and resilient planning options being implemented.

Due to the amount of liquefaction and land instability (i.e. rockfall and cliff collapse) that occurred in parts of Christchurch– and likelihood of continuing susceptibility to future events – a specific planning response was implemented. This included the introduction of the residential red and green zone system. Red zones were developed for the flat land subject to liquefaction, and for areas in the Port Hills susceptible to cliff collapse and boulder roll, green zones were developed for areas generally considered to have a sufficiently low risk to life, and the land could be remediated independently of surrounding properties. This response has created both a sustainable and resilient approach to land use planning.

Elena Sava, Pennsylvania State University
Joseph Thornton, Tennessee Technological University
Alfred Kalyanapu, Tennessee Technological University
Guido Cervone, Pennsylvania State University

Integration of Contributed Data with HEC-RAS Hydrodynamic Model for Flood Inundation and Damage Assessment: 2015 Dallas, Texas, Case Study

Flooding is one of the most damaging hazards that cause extreme devastation worldwide every year. The increasing trend in flooding events, paired with rapid urbanization and an aging infrastructure, is projected to enhance the risk of catastrophic losses and increase the frequency of both flash and large area floods. Remote sensing technologies have become the de-facto approach for observing the Earth and its environment. However, satellite remote sensing data are not always available. For these reasons, it is necessary to develop new techniques to analyze large amounts of heterogeneous geospatial data in a collaborative environment and in a timely fashion. 

It is critical for officials to have access to timely actionable knowledge regarding preparedness, emergency response, and recovery before, during and after a disaster. Recent advancements in data fusion techniques of remote sensing with near real-time heterogeneous datasets have allowed users to more efficiently extract increasingly precise and relevant knowledge from the available information. 

This research presents a fusion technique using satellite remote sensing imagery coupled with non-authoritative data such as Civil Air Patrol and social media sources. Furthermore, we assess the feasibility of integrating multiple sources of contributed data into hydrodynamic models for flood inundation simulation and estimating damage assessment. The goal is to augment remote sensing imagery with new open-source datasets to generate flood extend maps at higher temporal and spatial resolution. The proposed methodology is applied on the 2015 Dallas flood that caused up to $61 million dollars in damage.

Philip Schneider, National Institute of Building Sciences

Resilience Incentivization and Mitigation Saves

Resilience has come to occupy a place in public policy and programs across the United States. Yet, even in the face of growing losses and the deleterious effects of natural disasters, the nation’s capacity and appetite for continued funding of federal and state pre- and post-disaster mitigation efforts to create resilience is waning. A new approach is necessary; one focused on capturing all of the potential incentives provided by both the public and private sectors for pre- and post-hazard investment. The most cost-effective manner to achieve resilience is through a holistic and integrated set of public, private, and hybrid programs based on capturing opportunities available through mortgages and loans, insurance, finance, tax incentives and credits, grants, regulations, and enhanced building codes and their application. This focus on private/public-sector opportunities to induce corrective action is called incentivization. This approach calls for input, consensus, leadership, and action from a broad spectrum of stakeholders that represent the regulatory and economic processes that need to be developed and coordinated to make incentivization part of the nation’s economic fabric. Stakeholders need a level of confidence through benefit-cost analysis that using incentives to implement mitigation strategies to achieve resilience will justify investments, underwriting, and loan and grant programs. Those mitigating want the certainty that they can offset the cost of implementation. Thus, the private and public sectors will be motivated to undertake investments to support achieving resilience, not just because it is sensible, but because it is economically prudent.

Ronald Schumann, University of North Texas

The Meaning of Long-Term Place Recovery on the Mississippi Coast

Despite decades of research on recovery since Haas, Kates, and Bowden’s landmark study in the late 1970s, there have been few developments in recovery theory. While techniques for measuring and monitoring recovery over time and space have advanced, scholars continue to rely upon the four-wave (10-10-10) recovery model to understand how this process works at the community level. Long-term recovery is particularly understudied as pockets of still recovering neighborhoods and households persist amid regions that, in the aggregate, appear to have largely regained their pre-disaster vitality.

This study utilizes a feminist geographic approach and a mixed methodology comprised of photographic, participatory mapping, and indicator-based techniques to examine long-term recovery. Enlisting Mississippi Gulf Coast residents in defining their own recovery process, this study asks: 1) What does the recovery of place mean to residents? 2) How do residents assess recovery progress and recovery outcomes based on community features? 3) Do residents’ qualitative assessments differ from recovery indicators derived from quantitative secondary data? Discourse analysis, GIS aggregation, and self-organizing maps are among the analysis methods brought to bear on the mix of visual and spatial data generated by participants themselves. This poster showcases the methods and notable findings from this grounded study conducted eight to nine years after Hurricane Katrina. Memory and mobility, in particular, emerge as key elements in generating understandings and judgments about recovery. Findings also question several basic assumptions about the nature of the community recovery process that have stood for nearly 40 years.

Kijin Seong, Texas A&M University
Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A&M University

Micro-Scale Hazard Mitigation Approach: Mapping Physical Vulnerability to Floods on Single Family Homes in Brownsville, Texas

Finding populations that are vulnerable to disaster is one of the most crucial steps in hazard mitigation planning. An awareness of existing physical vulnerability provides mitigation opportunities before the event and helps communities recover from disasters with better information after the event. In this respect, the flood risk perception of the public is important in preparedness for flood events and it reduces fatalities, as well as property damage. The main research objective was first, to investigate the natural and built environment factors that affect flood vulnerability for each housing unit using remote sensing and GIS data analysis; second, to analyze the existing physical condition of the housing unit and calculate flood vulnerability index with those factors; and finally, to create a composite flood vulnerability map for individual single-family homeowners. In this context, the research question was: How can we do a micro-scale hazard mitigation approach to give single-family homeowners a better understanding about their physical vulnerability to flood? The case area is the northern part of Brownsville, Texas. The study focuses on three census tracts as a pilot area because the housing units were built from the early 1940s to after the 2000s and floodplain and non-floodplain zones are fairly-mixed to compare the characteristics of physical environment. Data sources were integrated including the GIS data, high-resolution remote sensing imagery, property appraisal data, and census data to conduct the GIS analysis.

Nick Shufro, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Angela Gladwell, Federal Emergency Management Agency

National Mitigation Investment Strategy: An Initiative of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group

The National Mitigation Investment Strategy (NMIS), a national effort led by the Federal Interagency Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG), is the result of a recent General Accounting Office report requesting that the federal government establish an investment strategy to identify, prioritize, and implement federal investments in disaster resilience.  The MitFLG seeks to develop a strategy involving all national stakeholders, not just the federal government.  Six outcome areas drive the NMIS:  a resilient built environment; coordination of disaster risk management among federal, state, local, tribal, territorial and private partners; sharing fiscal responsibility for risk reduction with the federal government; private sector involvement in resilience finance; provision of federal data and digital services to support resilience; and disaster risk communication resulting in increased awareness and risk reduction.  

Rachel Slotter, University of Delaware
Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware
Rachel Davidson, University of Delaware
Jamie Kruse, East Carolina University
Linda Nozick, Cornell University

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Modeling Multiple Stakeholder Decision-Making to Reduce Regional Natural Disaster Risk

Despite many private sector and policy interventions, the current system of managing natural disaster risk in the United States remains problematic from the perspectives of the government, insurance industry, and homeowners. Prior research has resulted in extensive knowledge about how individuals and organizations make risk-related decisions, as well as the strategic behavior of the industry. However, efforts to understand how stakeholder choices interact as a system have been limited. This poster presents findings from a project to produce an integrated set of mathematical models, in a game theoretic framework, that can be used to better design and evaluate natural disaster risk management policies. This framework includes the following components: 1) stochastic optimization models of government regulation and incentive decisions as well as insurer pricing and risk transfer decisions, 2) a Cournot-Nash model of insurer competition, 3) an empirically-based model of individual homeowner insurance and mitigation purchase decisions, and 4) a component-based regional loss and retrofit simulation model. In 2017, a sample of 2500 randomly selected homeowners in coastal North Carolina received a mailed survey asking them to indicate their perception on hurricane risk, hazard insurance options, mitigation actions, and the current hazard features of their properties. The data is currently being analyzed to inform enhancements to this framework. Ultimately, this framework will provide a structure to allow for the integration of hazard analysis, loss modeling, homeowner decision-making, insurer strategy, and public design in a way to advance the understanding of the decisions made by the entire system. 

Ben Smilowitz, Disaster Accountability Project

SmartResponse: A New Online Platform to Ensure Help Reaches Those Who Need It Most

Haiti. Nepal. Katrina. Sandy. Yolanda. Too often, post-disaster donations are sent to the wrong organizations. With limited information about which groups are directly responding, individuals, foundations and corporations donate hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations located far from the disaster zone. Immediate generosity is often delayed for months, if not years. 

Much more direct philanthropy after disasters in the U.S. and globally would allow aid organizations to put resources to use faster, save more lives, and make the most of donor generosity. More direct giving would also minimize the amount of funds “skimmed” as overhead, by intermediaries, every time donations are transferred from one group to the next.

SmartResponse will collect quarterly, state-by-state, and country-by-country information on local, national and international organizations, before and after disasters occur. The site will incentivize transparency as groups will not place information on "how-to-help" lists without sharing data about their activities. The information will help donors make quick decisions about how to help groups providing direct services on the ground. Data-driven decisions about how to help after a disaster can ensure funds reach those in the greatest need, faster and more directly. Other user groups include survivors, aid organizations, the media, governments, coordinating bodies, and civil society.

Sanaz Sohrabizadeh, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences

Gender Analysis Factors in Disaster Risk Management: The Case of Iran

Disasters do not affect people equally. Gender is an important variable which can aggravate or decline the negative consequences of disasters. Gender shapes people’s responses to disasters and influence capacity as well as vulnerability in the face to disasters. The study's purpose was to explore the gender analysis factors after the major earthquakes and floods in Iran.

This qualitative field study was performed on three regions of Iran, including East Azerbaijan, Bushehr, and Mazandaran, all affected by the earthquakes and floods in 2012 and 2013. These disasters killed more than 300 citizens and caused the physical injuries to more than 3000 inhabitants. Survivors living in the destroyed regions as well as a number of key informants were approached for interviews (N=35). Data was collected using unstructured in-depth interviews. The conventional content analysis using Graneheim approach was used for data analysis.

The gender distribution of participants was 50 percent for both male and female groups. The age of the participants were between 18 and 70 years old. Four themes of health, livelihood, religiosity and capability were extracted from the data. Health included the categories of physical, mental and reproductive health; livelihood consisted of joblessness and homelessness categories. Positive and negative effects of religiosity were the categories of religiosity.

Gender can shape people's vulnerabilities in different aspects of health, livelihood, and religiosity as well as various coping capacities in disasters. Considering distinct roles played by men and women and their special needs, responsibilities and capacities in disaster management are highly suggested.

Edward Thomas, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association

Natural Hazard Mitigation Association Disaster Risk Reduction Ambassador Curriculum

The Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) is a national organization of practitioners committed to disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the context of climate adaptation and mitigation. NHMA members are dedicated to helping our nation achieve the goal of reducing the devastating costs and impacts of natural hazards. Such a reduction improves public safety and health as well as community wellbeing, while reducing government expenditures, human misery, and environmental harm for the whole community addressing natural hazards while protecting underrepresented populations from disaster damage.

The goal of the DRR Ambassador Curriculum is to facilitate the DRR efforts of community representatives by: 1) Engaging in discussion of how disasters can be reduced through local action; 2) having exposure to local leaders and technical experts to enable the development of cross functional solutions; and 3) acquiring the best-available information, knowledge of best practices, and analytic tools to enable better-informed decisions before, during, and after disasters. Individuals who have completed the DRR Ambassador Curriculum will be better able to advocate for and support effective DRR in their local communities.

The DRR Ambassador Curriculum is designed:

• With a multi-hazard approach that encourages shared management strategies and unified responses in DRR plans and action

• To build a strong legal, ethical, and equitable basis for safe and effective development, redevelopment, and adaptation

• To be custom-tailored and updated for local needs to facilitate community progress

• As an initial set of self-study and training media that can be extended as new topic options are identified and developed

Jennifer Tobin, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

The 2013 Colorado Floods: A Case Study of Educational Continuity for Lyons Elementary and Middle/Senior High Schools

Schools are consistently identified as one of the strongest protective institutions for children’s well-being following a major disaster event. Schools support childhood development, education, health, and well-being. They act as community hubs, bring families together, and they build networks that strengthen the social fabric of a region. Yet, little research is available to offer guidance on how schools should plan for student displacement, what pre-existing social conditions make continuous education possible following a disaster, and how school continuity influences community recovery.

This dissertation is a case study that documents the displacement and educational continuity process for Lyons Elementary and Middle/Senior High Schools following the 2013 Colorado Floods. This event resulted in the near complete dislocation of approximately 2,000 residents in Lyons, CO. Although the elementary and middle/senior high schools were untouched by the floodwaters, the St. Vrain Valley School district had to devise a plan to continue educating 744 Pre-K through 12th grade students until they could return to their home schools. 

The Lyons case demonstrates how imperative it is that we learn from these experiences so that we can continue to strengthen our disaster planning for schools in the future. Findings from this research demonstrate the effectiveness of strong leadership at both the district and school level, the value of table top exercises and thoughtful disaster planning, and the importance of bringing key stakeholders together to make swift, yet informed decisions about educational continuity for displaced students. 

Andrew Tracy, University of Colorado Boulder
Amy Javernick-Will, University of Colorado Boulder

Defining Credibility during Times of Uncertainty: Evaluating Information in the Wake of Induced Seismicity

In preparing for and responding to natural hazards, it is important for experts and decision makers to be able to effectively communicate with each other and with at-risk communities. For years, the primary method of mass communicating scientific information, including hazard information, focused simply on getting information to individuals and communities, following what literature calls the “deficit model.” In recent years this model has proven ineffective, as factors such as where the information is coming from and how it is communicated play a large role in whether the audience accepts such information as fact and how they act on that information.

In the central United States, earthquakes linked to wastewater injection are on the rise, particularly in petroleum producing areas such as Oklahoma. Because of the connection to energy production, the cause of quakes often is a contested issue in the public sphere. In order to effectively communicate information regarding the causes of seismic activity and the risks these earthquakes pose, we must understand how community members evaluate information they receive and the sources providing the information. This work will draw upon hazard communication, management, and journalism literature to determine effective, context-specific definitions for the trust, credibility, and legitimacy of information and sources. Qualitative analysis will be used to understand how individuals in communities impacted by induced seismicity evaluate information and sources relevant to the public debate on the causes of and risks from these earthquakes.

Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware
Pamela Murray-Tuite, Virginia Tech
Praveen Edara, University of Missouri
Konstantinos Triantis, Virginia Tech
Taylor Williams, University of Delaware
Tatiana Daychman, Virginia Tech
Mirla Abi Abad, Virginia Tech
Yohan Chang, University of Missouri
Anthony Cario, University of Delaware
Atizaz Ali, Virginia Tech

Multi-Perspective Evacuation Performance

This project combines sociological, engineering, and economics approaches to explore the question of what makes an evacuation a success or a failure. This question is explored from two perspectives: 1) the transportation agencies charged with managing an evacuation, and 2) individual households who participate in the evacuation. Through focus groups, a survey, and simulations, this project explores how these groups experience evacuations, and by what criteria they deem an evacuation “good” or “bad”. The project will quantify these criteria into measurable variables, which can be used to form models to evaluate how much of a success or failure an evacuation is, from each perspective. These models could be used to evaluate the impact of different evacuation strategies, in order to enable authorities to conduct evacuations that are more successful, both for the agencies that manage them and the households that participate in them.

Joseph Trainor, University of Delaware
Brenda Philips, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Daryl Yoder Bontrager, University of Delaware
Christine Beste, University of Delaware
Apoorva Bajaj, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
David Westbrook, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Eric Lyons, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Michael Zink, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Venkataramani Arun, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

CASA Alerts: Next Generation Warning Systems Research

Researchers at the Disaster Research Center and University of Massachusetts Amherst and government partners in the Dallas Fort Worth area are exploring new aspects of rapid onset warning systems in order to seed the development of next generation warning systems for rapid onset hazards. The project combines social science data from focus groups and surveys with application data from a project-created live warning system. These sources are being brought together with radar and sensor data in our Dallas-Fort Worth living lab. Among other analyses, we are exploring how, when, and why people give attention to mobile phones. Another area of research examines the role of time and space in severe weather perception. Ongoing cell phone app and survey data will allow us to continue to probe weather perceptions and will allow for the comparisons of participant responses with real time weather conditions.

A supplemental project uses existing and innovative data collection methods such as mobile phone surveys to develop a flexible research strategy for National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration to benefit the National Weather Service. New strategies will allow the weather service to capture how people comprehend and respond to severe weather warnings, ultimately improving weather services.

John van de Lindt, Colorado State University
Hussam Mahmoud, Colorado State University

Hindcasting the 2011 Joplin Tornado

The Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, headquartered at Colorado State University, is a five-year Center of Excellence funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The main objective of the Center of Excellence is to develop a computational environment to be known as IN-CORE (Interdependent Networked Community Resilience Modeling Environment) to allow researchers to identify the attributes that make communities resilient to natural hazards. 

Joplin, Missouri, was heavily affected by an EF5 tornado in May of 2011. The field studies team visited Joplin from July 17-22, 2016, to begin a hindcast study. After developing a beta version of IN-CORE, the team is utilizing the 2011 Joplin tornado to assess the accuracy of the approach including many components within IN-CORE. This includes physical infrastructure, demographics, economic impact and the interconnected recovery.  The purpose of this study was to learn about the long-term recovery process in order to try to project recovery and resilience trajectories for other communities. 

The process involves a detailed construct of the physical and non-physical systems in Joplin prior to the tornado. This will include investigation of individual sectors, coupled sectors, and eventually the full IN-CORE architecture. This requires the development of tornado building and the sector damage fragilities, a computable generalized equilibrium model for economic recovery modeling, and demographic-based vulnerability models for population dislocation and other reseilience metrics.

John van de Lindt, Colorado State University
Bruce Ellingwood, Colorado State University
Therese McAllister, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Center of Excellence for Community Risk-Based Resilience Planning

Community resilience depends on the performance of the built environment and on supporting social, economic, and public institutions which are essential for response and recovery of the community following a disaster. The social needs of a community are not reflected in codes, standards, and other regulatory documents currently used to design individual facilities. A new approach is necessary, one which is interdisciplinary in nature and reflects the complex inter-dependencies among the physical, social, and economic systems on which a healthy and vibrant community depends. 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology funded Center of Excellence for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, (CoE) headquartered at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, with a number of partner universities, was established by The National Institute of Standards and Technology to advance the measurement science for understanding the factors that make a community resilient, to assess the likely impact of natural hazards on communities, to move toward a standardized data structure for resilience studies, and to develop risk-informed decision strategies that optimize planning for and recovery from disasters. 

The center has three major thrusts which include approximately 90 people focusing on the development of the Interconnected Networked Computational Environment for Community Resilience (IN-CORE), data ontology and tools, and resilience architecture validation. A beta version of IN-CORE is slated for release in 2017 and a new taxonomy is under development. A special issue of Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure was recently published which highlights some of the CoE’s recent progress by centering the analysis and methods around a virtual community known as Centerville.

John van de Lindt, Colorado State University
Derya Deniz, Colorado State University
Nathanael Rosenheim, Texas A&M University

The Lumberton, North Carolina, Flood of 2016: A Community Resilience Focused Field Study

The National Institute of Standards and Technology-funded Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning (NIST-CoE) research team conducted a quick response field study from November 27-December 4, 2016 in Lumberton, North Carolina. In early October 2016, Hurricane Matthew crossed North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm caused major flooding in Lumberton, with some areas receiving 15-18 inches of rain on already saturated land from previous heavy rains. The purpose of this field study was to explore the interconnectivity across structural damage to residential buildings, commercial buildings, roads, bridges, power, water, school closures, student and staff displacement, evacuation patterns, and household dislocation. 

An interdisciplinary team of more than 20 people assessed over 600 randomly sampled housing units, the teams completed nearly 500 damage assessments and 180 household interviews. A report will focus on the results of the damage inspections and interviews. The initial fieldwork was designed to establish a baseline for a longitudinal study to better understand socio-economic decision variables and their relation to population dislocation and recovery as a whole. 

The sampling strategy employed for this study helped to integrate engineering and social science methodologies. Future field studies within the NIST-CoE further refine the survey instruments and methodologies. This work will also provide objective information on the recovery process as documented by an outside research team to the relevant local, state, and federal officials.

Jamie Vickery, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center

"Every Day is a Disaster:" Homelessness and the 2013 Colorado Floods

The purpose of this research is to shed light on the distinctive experiences and needs of a population that is poorly understood, particularly with respect to disasters and their effects. Although homeless populations are mentioned in studies of disaster vulnerability, discussions of their unique experiences, capacities, and vulnerabilities are often referred to tangentially. In an effort to address this gap in the literature, this research explores the experiences of pre-disaster homeless individuals and homeless service organizations (HSOs) during and following the 2013 floods in Boulder County, Colorado. My dissertation draws upon over 75 hours of participant observation at HSOs, 28 semi-structured interviews with community stakeholders (e.g., staff from HSOs and public officials), and unstructured interviews and focus groups with 28 homeless individuals who were present during the floods. 

This dissertation broadens the scope of knowledge on underserved and marginalized groups, specifically homeless persons, in the context of a natural disaster. Moving beyond social vulnerability studies that tend to homogenize such groups, I argue for a more holistic perspective that recognizes the intersecting characteristics and social processes that result in uneven disaster outcomes among homeless individuals. In so doing, I demonstrate factors that increase and decrease homeless individuals’ and HSOs’ disaster vulnerability and resilience. The broader implications of this research speak to the growing need to understand the structural factors that create risk and vulnerability while simultaneously hindering efforts to enhance community resilience.

Gregory Vigneaux, California State University, Long Beach
Shirley Feldmann-Jensen, California State University, Long Beach
Steven Jensen, California State University, Long Beach
Christine Rodrigue, California State University, Long Beach

An Organizational Perspective on U.S. Wildland Firefighting Operations: Opening the Black Box

The U.S. federal wildland fire management system continues to experience rising numbers of acres burned annually and increases in management expenditures. The upward trending of costs and acres burned is indicative of the dominance of positive, amplifying feedback and suggestive of a system propensity toward unsustainability. From the management perspective, existing research has identified the continuous suppression of wildland fires as a factor of considerable significance underlying the ascendancy of amplifying feedback and interrelated unsustainable trajectory. Although not ubiquitous throughout the nation, an expanse of research suggests suppression interrupts and constrains the historic and natural balancing processes of fire leading to conditions conducive to more severe and difficult to control fires. The recognized endurance of anthropocentric management has served as a significant attractor for scientific inquiry. Related research has identified several key factors contributing to the continued prevalence of suppression as a management strategy. Pervasive among the factors identified is the application of the incident command system. Although common, absent from the research is exploration of the incident command system relative to the elements and processes recognized as contributing to the dynamics of amplifying feedback dominance and unsustainable direction. This research explores the design of the incident command system in the context of amplifying feedback and unsustainability within the domestic wildland fire management system. In support of this inquiry, the actions of the single resources charged with carrying out wildland firefighting operations are approached as being inseparable from the conceptual space afforded to them by the incident command system’s design. 

Lauren Vinnell, Victoria University of Wellington
Taciano Milfont, Victoria University of Wellington
John McClure, Victoria University of Wellington

Can Social Norms Enhance Support for Earthquake Legislation? Comparing the Effects of Descriptive and Injunctive Norms

Research has shown that social norms influence behaviors in areas such as health promotion and environmental conservation, but the potential of norms for encouraging actions to mitigate aversive effects of natural hazards is relatively untested. This research examines whether descriptive and injunctive norms can increase support for earthquake-strengthening legislation in a seismically active city, Wellington, New Zealand. A descriptive norm described the rate at which earthquake-prone buildings were being strengthened each year, whereas an injunctive norm described the proportion of citizens who supported earthquake strengthening. The control condition described the likelihood of earthquake prone buildings collapsing and gave no norm information. In a community sample (N = 690), the injunctive norm led to increased support for the legislation compared to the control whereas the descriptive norm did not. In contrast, the descriptive norm led to higher judgments of the feasibility of the strengthening compared to the control whereas the injunctive norm condition did not. These findings extend previous research showing that the two types of norms have differing effects, and suggest that the best strategy for enhancing a range of positive attitudes toward earthquake-strengthening legislation is to use both descriptive and injunctive norms in the same communication. 

Natasha Volny, University of Colorado Denver
Debra Kreisberg, University of Colorado Denver
Charles Little, University of Colorado Denver

Improving Disaster Management Skill Acquisition through Integration of Simulated Disaster Scenarios into Public Health Curricula

Objective: To enrich disaster management curricula through the integration of hands-on experiential learning and performance-based exercises into high-complexity simulated disaster scenarios.

Background: Feedback from regional emergency managers indicates a lack of practical skills amongst individuals seeking employment. In response, the Colorado School of Public Health has developed a certificate program in Public Health Preparedness & Disaster Response Methods which utilizes enhanced training methodologies to promote practical skill acquisition in addition to establishing foundational knowledge of domestic and international disaster management principles.

Methods: This unique curriculum structure integrates traditional in-person and online learning with action-oriented table top and full-scale field simulation exercises. Students are introduced to several practical elements of disaster management, including radio communication, hazards mapping, search and rescue, and decontamination procedures. Students perform various roles as they operate in high-complexity situations with incomplete information, demanding the development of confident, adaptive, critical thinkers who can integrate into disaster response teams in diverse contexts.

Results: Course evaluation data have shown high student engagement and clear understanding of principles taught, supporting the introduction of practical skills training into Public Health curricula as a way of enhancing mastery.

Joseph Wartman, University of Washington
Jeffrey Berman, University of Washington
Scott Miles, University of Washington
Michael Olsen, Oregon State University
Kurt Gurley, University of Florida
Jennifer Irish, Virginia Tech
Ann Bostrom, University of Washington
Laura Lowes, University of Washington

The NHERI RAPID Facility: Enabling the Next-Generation of Natural Hazards Reconnaissance

The NHERI post-disaster, rapid response research (or “RAPID”) facility at the University of Washington (UW), is a collaboration between UW, Oregon State University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Florida. The RAPID will enable natural hazard researchers to conduct next-generation quick response research through reliable acquisition and community sharing of high-quality, post-disaster data sets that will enable: characterization of civil infrastructure performance under natural hazard loads, evaluation of the effectiveness of current and previous design methodologies, understanding of socio-economic dynamics, calibration of computational models used to predict civil infrastructure component and system response, and development of solutions for resilient communities. The facility will provide the hardware, software and support services required to collect, process and assess perishable interdisciplinary data following extreme natural hazard events. 

The RAPID will support natural hazards research through training, field deployment services, and public engagement with science and engineering. Strategic RAPID activities include: 1) acquiring, maintaining, and operating state-of-the-art data collection equipment, 2) developing and supporting mobile applications to support interdisciplinary field reconnaissance, 3) providing advisory services and basic logistics support for research missions, 4) facilitating the systematic archiving, processing, and visualization of acquired data in DesignSafe-CI, 5) training a broad user base through workshops and other activities, and 6) engaging the public through citizen science, as well as through community outreach and education. The facility commenced operations in September 2016 and will begin field deployments beginning in September 2018. The poster will provide an overview of the vision and schedule for the RAPID facility.

Maria Watson, Texas A&M University
Yu Xiao, Texas A&M University

Business Impacts, Recovery, and the Importance of Time: Results from a Systematic Review of the Literature

Businesses play an important role in community recovery—they provide wages, goods, and services that are necessary for households and a returning social system. Previous research has identified a wealth of factors that influence whether a business will succeed or fail in a post disaster environment. This poster contributes to this literature by synthesizing the evidence on these factors with the end goal of modelling business impacts and recovery. Through a systematic literature review process, we identify 241 articles related to disasters at the individual business level. Qualitative articles are coded and used to generate a conceptual model and resilience framework. We then categorize and present the quantitative evidence using the factors generated from the qualitative review.

Secondly, literature on businesses and disasters suggests the importance of time, especially in terms of decision-making in recovery. A business that can repair its premise faster may be able to secure its competitive position. Similarly, relocating quickly can mean beating a potential rent spike. This synthesis, therefore, highlights time as an important variable in understanding business recovery. Which factors identified from the review are more important early on, and do these factors change as time progresses? The results of the syntheses, therefore, are presented temporally. These findings can help inform disbursement timing for assistance, and better match recovery policies with changing business needs after disasters.

Gary Webb, University of North Texas
Nicole Dash, University of North Texas

Hazard Exposures in Native American Communities

This research is part of an ongoing exploratory study of disaster preparedness among Native American communities in the United States (CMMI 1435178). The primary objectives of the larger study are to: identify and map the multiple types of hazards facing Native American communities in the United States, measure levels of community disaster preparedness, describe the different types of emergency management structures, and identify the various challenges faced by community leaders in their efforts to bolster preparedness levels. The study employs a triangulated, mixed method approach that integrates survey research, focus group interviews, and geo-spatial analysis. This research highlight previews findings from the first study objective, namely, identifying and mapping the various natural and technological hazards faced by Native American communities. Consistent with past collaborative research conducted by the lead PI, our mapping efforts reveal significant exposures of Native American communities to technological hazards, including petroleum and chemical processing facilities and environmentally contaminated sites. Additionally, Native American communities, particularly in Oklahoma, also face significant earthquake threats. The United States Geological Survey recently projected parts of that state to be at significant risk of damage from induced earthquakes that are associated with wastewater disposal at oil well and hydraulic fracturing sites. As our work shows, the impacts of these induced earthquakes will not be randomly distributed. Instead, communities with higher Native American populations, particularly in the North Central region of the state, will experience heightened exposure.

Hung-Lung Wei, City University of New York
Tristan Wu, Oklahoma State University
Michael Lindell, University of Washington
Carla Prater, University of Washington
Hideyuki Shiroshita, Kansai University
David Johnston, Massey University
Julia Becker, Massey University

Assessment of Households’ Responses to the Tsunami Threat

This study examines households’ immediate responses to the potential for a tsunami generated by the 2011 earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan. Surveys conducted in Christchurch, New Zealand and Hitachi, Japan investigated pre-impact tsunami hazard communication, immediate post-impact expectations that these earthquakes would cause tsunamis, the information sources that respondents used after the shaking stopped, and household evacuation in anticipation of a tsunami. The results reveal some similar patterns as well as some significant differences in the ways that households in the two cities reacted to the tsunami threat. Both cities had very low levels of pre-impact tsunami hazard communication and, possibly as a result, about half of the respondents significantly underestimated tsunami arrival times. Moreover, face-to-face conversation and telephone were the most important sources of disaster information in both communities after the shaking stopped. However, Hitachi households had a higher level of tsunami risk perception, expected sooner tsunami arrival times, and were more likely to evacuate than Christchurch households. Regression analyses indicate that risk perception was the only significant predictor of evacuation and Hitachi location, which was probably a proxy for shaking duration, was the only significant predictor of risk perception. However, these regression equations accounted for little variance, so further research is needed to better understand the tsunami evacuation process.

Xinyuan Wei, Jilin University
Huilong Li, Jilin University

The Cognition of Crises in Chinese Traditional Crisis Culture

Disaster culture is a dynamic system gradually formed by exploring the relationships between human and nature, humans and society, and humans and themselves. It is the ideology, material relics, and customs in response to the natural disasters and social crises.

Traditional Chinese disaster culture is a huge issue, and to get a clear clue about it, my study begins with an interesting phenomenon, and looks at the different relationships between man and nature. I find the theoretical basis for this phenomenon, which is the Heaven-human Induction. Furthermore, this theory is also an important clue to study the Chinese traditional disaster culture.

Kris Wernstedt, Virginia Tech

How Emergency Managers (Mis?) Interpret Forecasts

Emergency managers who work on floods and other weather-related hazards constitute critical front line responders to disasters. Yet, while these professionals operate in a realm rife with uncertainty related to forecasts and other unknowns, the influence of uncertainty on their decision making is poorly understood. We administer a national level survey of county emergency managers in the U.S. to examine how these local managers interpret forecast information, using hypothetical climate, weather, and flood scenarios to simulate their responses to uncertain information. We find that even emergency managers with substantial experience employ decision shortcuts and make biased choices, just as do members of the general population. Their choices vary depending on the format in which probabilistic forecasts are presented and whether outcomes are represented as gains or losses. They also appear to evaluate other emergency managers’ forecast utilization differently than their own. We suggest forecast producers who consider these decision processes when developing and communicating forecasts could help improve flood preparation and potentially reduce disaster losses.

John Wiener, University of Colorado Boulder

Resilient Neighbors Network

After all the publications on the importance of quick, credible, expert, and available help on a peer-to-peer basis, the Resilient Neighbors Network (RNN) has achieved lift-off. The RNN was started by members of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) in order to bring together practitioners with a great depth of practical experience. The RNN invites interest and contributions and seeks to enable an increasing membership base that can help those in need.

Distinct from research on resilience and risk reduction, RNN performs the unusual role of deliberately remaining largely informal and informative. The cities and governments involved are often acknowledged for their successes. In these times of severe pressure on staff, funding, and new initiatives, RNN is a network rather than a more formalized organization.

The RNN is a volunteer organization, created in a set of charter communities.  The folks in this organization are interested in expanding the network and they invite your interest! Visit the website at and consider how your own experience and expertise might help a neighbor may need. Webinars and resources can also be accessed through RNN.

John Wiener, University of Colorado Boulder

Building Your Roadmap to a Disaster Resilient Future

Building Your Roadmap to a Disaster Resilient Future helps vital community stakeholders navigate the varied, and at times bewildering, array of pre- and post- disaster resources and programs available to reduce the impact of natural, technological, and human made events on the human-built environment. This document offers quick and effective access to resources, programs, and ways to build agreement on the pursuit of resilience, following the “whole community” approach.

This is the third-generation edition of a concept developed by Edward Thomas, who is the current president of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA), when he was working in Iowa as the federal coordinating officer following the Great Flood of 1993. The basic guidebook was written in 1994 and subsequent editions titled Planning and Building Livable, Safe, & Sustainable Communities and The Patchwork Quilt Approach (more commonly referred to as the Patchwork Quilt) were published by the Association of State Floodplain Managers in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The successor to the Patchwork Quilt, The Living Mosaic: A Path Forward was produced by NHMA in 2015 to help engage and inform community members in constructive assessment and response. The Roadmap is a new work, supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, directed at getting past the problems of where to start with recovery and resilience work.

John Wiener, University of Colorado Boulder

Hide From the Wind: Tornado Safe Rooms in Central Oklahoma

This report provides a careful application and example of lessons learned and synthesized by Dennis Mileti on the value of consistent and repeated messaging from multiple respected sources. The current buzzword “normalize” is a shorthand idea for this wisdom. The report was produced by the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.   

The direct impact includes people in Oklahoma financing safe rooms through a zero interest loans from a community caring-based program managed by the Oklahoma Central Credit Union. We also have been told about lenders in the area advertising low cost loans for safe room construction. The safe room concept has rapidly spread. This sort of unified message (you need a safe room—we will show you how to finance it) delivered through multiple respected sources has led to enormous ongoing change in risk perception and protective actions, as Mileti hypothesized in his work on techniques to change attitudes and induce safer behavior. The report can be accessed at

John Wiener, University of Colorado Boulder

Alert on Waters of the United States Repeal and Environmental Injustice and Damage

The legal definition of Waters of the US (WOTUS) relates to the Constitutional Commerce Clause, the source of federal power to regulate pollution.  Reflecting claimed overreach of federal power, interference with property rights, and regulatory uncertainty, the administration seeks to radically decrease federal control, although there are already enormous exemptions for normal agricultural activities. State law may fail to help.

What is at stake may be far more than the sharply increasing degradation of water quality in many places with intensive high-input agriculture affecting the aquatic ecosystems below, and into, some hypoxic marine zones. In addition, many cities are faced with increasing water treatment costs. The Des Moines, Iowa, Waterworks sued but the defendant drainage districts are legally immune in Iowa. The legislature has not responded, though even in Iowa a majority of voters approved the lawsuit. 

Unexpected consequences beyond environmental damage may include (1) increased drinking water costs disproportionately affecting low-income families and smaller water providers;  (2) disproportionate impacts on users of water-based recreation and amenity values;  (3) increasing losses of fisheries; and (4) increasing exposures of pollutants from industrial wastes, oil and gas leaks, dumps, and wastes that may be permitted of not,  and pollutants mobilized by higher-intensity precipitation (e.g. North Carolina’s CAFO flooding), changed flooding, coastal conditions, vegetation, urbanization and conditions such as the fire-flood combination. 

The hazards community is urged to consider the impacts, and low-cost research opportunities. Learn more at

Molly Woloszyn, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Climate Planning through the Resilient Chicago Initiative

The Resilient Chicago initiative helps decision makers in the greater Chicago metropolitan region incorporate climate adaptation into local planning efforts through workshops, direct stakeholder engagement, partnerships, and the development of tools and other resources. The Resilient Chicago initiative is led by the extension climate specialist with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. This poster provides a brief overview of efforts within the Resilient Chicago initiative currently and future work. It will highlight the development and availability of a new online Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Facilities and a joint project with the American Planning Association and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on incorporating local climate science into community planning efforts. Finally, the poster will highlight future climate adaptation work in Glenview, Illinois.

Molly Woloszyn, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
James Schwab, American Planning Association
Robert Dean, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

Incorporating Local Climate Science to Help Communities Plan for Climate Extremes

Communities across the United States are experiencing more extreme weather, leading many to ask how to more effectively plan for this and climate change. The American Planning Association (APA) recognizes that while more and better climate data are available to community planners, there is still a disconnection between data availability and how that climate data is applied in planning and decision making.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, and the State Climatologist Office for Illinois have partnered with the APA for a project to pilot test strategies on how to incorporate climate change information and data into the planning efforts of five communities in northeastern Illinois. The climate change vulnerability assessment will focus on interviews with the community, data collection around current hazards, exposure of community assets and resources to these hazards, project climate change impacts, and the adaptive capacity of the community.

At the conclusion of the project in summer 2018, the project will release three products. The first is a guidebook, which will provide the process for incorporating usable sources of climate change data into the planning process. A data analysis guide will provide a template to walk users through information they can use to understand future impacts of extreme weather on their community. Finally, it will release a set of case studies with successes and challenges from the five pilot communities.

This project is funded by NOAA-SARP (Sectoral Applications Research Program).

Nathan Wood, U.S. Geological Survey

Reducing Future Loss of Life from Tsunamis through Collaborative Evacuation Modeling

Recent tsunamis have killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed coastal communities throughout the world. Geologic evidence of past events and geophysical models of potential sources suggest that many other coastal communities face substantial tsunami risk. Researchers with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Western Geographic Science Center have been working with state partners over the past decade to assess the vulnerability of U.S. coastal communities to various local and distant tsunami threats. Recent efforts have included assessments to gauge the number and type of people in tsunami-hazard zones, as well as cluster analyses to communicate regional trends in vulnerability. A significant element of this work has involved geospatial pedestrian evacuation modeling to determine if at-risk individuals will have sufficient time to evacuate before catastrophic wave arrival. Pedestrian evacuation modeling has been conducted in tsunami-prone areas of Hawaii, American Samoa, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Modeling efforts have provided insight on regional evacuation potential, likely evacuation corridors and population demand at assembly areas, implications for future community vulnerability due to post-tsunami recovery decisions, and implications for scenario-based evacuations. A geospatial decision support tool has been developed and publicly shared to facilitate pedestrian evacuation modeling, including the ability to test the relative benefits of vertical-evacuation refuge options. Collaborative research with state partners will help emergency managers to develop effective outreach, training, response procedures, and mitigation to reduce the loss of life from future tsunamis.

Jie-Ying Wu, University of Taipei

Flood Structural Mitigation Measures and Risk Perceptions

Past literature suggests that mitigation measures influence household risk perception. This study chooses Xizhi District in New Taipei City, Taiwan as the case study area. Located by the Keelung River, Xizhi has been the most frequent flooding area in the urban area in Taiwan. This study used a questionnaire method and got 350 respondents. This study found that before the construction of the Yuanshanzih flood diversion channel in 2005, 93.7 percent of the residents in Xizhi reported that they lived in a very high or high flooding risk area. However, only 8.1 percent indicated this after the construction of the Yuanshanzih flood diversion channel. Among several structural mitigation measures such as levees, drainage systems, and a pumping station, the flood diversion channel was chosen as the most effective project to reduce the flood losses. This study also found that the more flooding experienced in the past, the less optimistic respondents were about the effectiveness of the Yuanshanzih flood diversion channel. Moreover, the higher the education level, the more trust respondents had in the effectiveness of the structural mitigation measures.

Guochun Wu, China Earthquake Administration

A Quantitative Study on Community-Based Recovery and Reconstruction in the Wenchuan Earthquake

Build Back Better (BBB) is one of the priorities in the Sendai framework, which includes integrating disaster risk reduction into development  and strengthening national and community resilience to disaster. The concept of BBB in community recovery and reconstruction includes not only social and economic recovery and reconstruction, but also promoting the capacity during the recovery phase to reduce future disaster risk. The recovery from the Wenchuan Earthquake was quick—the three-year recovery mission was completed in two years. Aiming to examine the communities’ recovery results, we did a survey in Defang, one of the most severely affected areas in the Wenchuan Earthquake. Surveys of 795 community leaders were conducted in October 2016. The results showed some achievement of BBB in the recovery phase. Compared to the reconstruction of housing and infrastructure, recovery of livelihood was not high. During the recovery, capacity, including disaster reduction planning and emergency exercises and drills, were developed. Overall, preparedness for disaster reduction were improved from previous earthquakes.

Yu Xiao, Texas A&M University
Kai Wu, Texas A&M University
Donovan Finn, Stony Brook University
Divya Chandrasekhar, University of Utah

Understanding Social Vulnerability and Social Capital for Disaster Resilience

Social vulnerability and social capital are two approaches for understanding how individuals and communities respond and recover from disasters. Many researchers took the social vulnerability approach to understand how individual and/or community’s inherent socioeconomic conditions affect their damage and response in disaster situations. Social vulnerability index (SVI), a frequently used measure of social vulnerability, is calculated by socioeconomic status, demographics, household composition, and housing and transportation status, etc. Because many of these variables are hard to change, SVI represents a passive approach for understanding vulnerabilities, but not necessarily providing solutions for reducing vulnerabilities. In contrast, some researchers took an asset-based approach to understand the differences in individual and community’s capacities in responding to disasters. They categorized social capital into bonding, linking, and bridging capitals. Individuals and communities can actively invest and grow these capitals so that they can draw upon them in a disaster situation. To date, no research studied the intercorrelation of social vulnerability and social capital.

This study fills the gap by examining the difference between social vulnerability and social capital and tests whether social vulnerability explains social capital. Through a random sample survey of 2000 households in New York City after 2012 Hurricane Sandy, we quantify and empirically test the correlations of social capital and social vulnerability. Our preliminary results show that these two approaches are somewhat linked. Social vulnerability factors can partially explain social capital. The social vulnerability and social capital approaches can be combined in enhancing community resilience.

Insang Yu, Kongju National University
Hayong Kim, Kongju National University
Tae Sung Cheong, National Disaster Management Institute
Sangman Jeong, Kongju National University

Evaluation of Socio-Economic Risk by Flood, Wind, and Snow Disaster

Various regions, especially urban areas, have become more vulnerable to natural disaster due to urbanization and increases in population density. Factors such as population density, impermeable surface area, and populations vulnerable to disaster increases risk. In order to reduce disaster risk, assessment of socio-economic disaster risk is essential. In this study, the socio-economic risk by flood, wind, and snow disaster, which is 99 percent of total natural disaster damage in Korea, was assessed in Daegu, Ulsan, Gangwon, and Gyeongbuk. 

The risk is composed of hazards, exposure, vulnerability, and disaster coping and adaptive capacity. Hazards include rainfall intensity, snow depth, and wind velocity. In terms of exposures, it is composed of population density and number of cars. For vulnerability, it denotes how impermeable the surface is and the urbanization rate. And for disaster coping and adaptive capacities, this involves the GDP of the location and detention volume. All of these factors are calculated and normalized using a z-score and each factor’s weight was estimated through the analytic hierarchy process. Then, the normalized z-score was combined by applying the estimated weights. In addition, the socio-economic risk was classified according to the combined z-score. The risk is expected to decide the hazardous administrative districts by flood, wind, and snow disaster.