USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 24, No. 2 (August 2006)

Articles by:

    Arthur Oyola Yemaiel, “Editorial Introduction to Three Articles on the Disaster Resistant University,” pp. 179–190.

    R. Josh Human, Manasi Palit, and David M. Simpson, “ Risk Assessment and the Disaster Resistant University (DRU) Program: The University of Louisville Approach,” pp. 191–202.

      While state and local governments are required to complete a Hazard Mitigation Plan under the dictates of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000), universities are not required by that law to perform a similar planning and mitigation activity. FEMA’s Disaster Resistant University (DRU) program was intended to encourage and promote mitigation among institutions of higher learning. The University of Louisville received a DRU planning grant under the second, and what was to be the last round of grants, of the program, as it was phased out as a designated set-aside of planning and mitigation funding for universities.

      This paper describes the University of Louisville approach to creating a University Hazard Mitigation Plan and the unique elements of conducting a risk assessment and vulnerability analysis for the campus that mirrors similar efforts in state and local hazards planning. The project has been a collaborative effort on the part of the practitioner unit on campus responsible for day-to-day emergency preparedness and safety (the Department of Environmental and Health Safety) and one of the university's research units, the Center for Hazards Research and Policy Development (CHR), an active research unit performing theoretical and applied hazards research projects at the local, regional and national level.

      The project has been successful in creating a method of risk assessment and classifying the exposure of structures and population. Key challenges have been access to data from various sources within the university and the ability to assess structural integrity from existing building inventory data. This paper concludes by identifying the need for meaningful risk assessment and more robust exposure models, and further suggests research issues that if addressed, would improve university disaster resilience.

    Andrew Curtis, Jacqueline W. Mills, Jason K. Blackburn, John C. Pine, and Barrett Kennedy, “Louisiana State University Geographic Information System Support of Hurricane Katrina Recovery Operations,” pp. 203–221.

      During Hurricane Katrina a group of faculty, staff, and students at Louisiana State University voluntarily helped create, manage, and staff Geographic Information System (GIS) efforts in the Louisiana Emergency Operations Center (EOC). GIS is an integral component to decision support in all phases of emergency operations. However, for the Katrina response, no Louisiana state employees were assigned to the GIS desk at the EOC. This failure to have an established support system for all other agencies providing response could have been a devastating fault without the volunteer support provided by LSU. Most agencies looked for us in the EOC and then relied upon us throughout the operation. This paper documents the way our group utilized our academic backgrounds to expand and improve the geospatial decision support in the EOC.  (AA)

    Kenton Friesen and Doug Bell, “Risk Reduction and Emergency Preparedness Activities of Canadian Universities,” pp. 223–249.

      Preparing for emergencies and disasters has become a necessary part of daily operations of businesses, municipalities, and institutions. Furthermore, educational institutions such as universities, colleges, and schools are not immune to the impacts of disasters. Universities are realizing they are exposed to the impact of disasters and that emergency/disaster response requires careful coordination and communication with other organizations and entities that have the resources and skills necessary to manage and respond to particular emergencies. In Canada, the primary responsibility for emergency preparedness and response is that of the municipality, or local authority, within which a university is located. What then is the role of a university in preparing for and responding to emergencies or disasters?
      In the absence of compulsory standards, regulations or legislation, universities, based on the survey of this project, are nevertheless reviewing risks and hazards, implementing long-term strategies, and developing relationships with the local municipality. All of these should consider the unique characteristics of the campus environment, which include an open and accessible environment, a functionally separate hierarchy of administrators and academics, a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary worliforce, and a diverse student body, to name a few. After understanding the unique characteristics of the campus environment universities can address emergency preparedness and disaster management by building on the basics of existing and generally accepted standards, such as the NFPA 1600. Additionally, many universities operate much like a municipality (i.e., infrastructure, constituents, and an incorporated government structure) making existing municipal emergency or disaster-related standards, regulations, and legislation also applicable. Further investigation into the application of these standards, regulations, and legislation to the university environment is required to validate the similarities.

    Ann Enander, “Recalling Chernobyl: Reflections Among Swedish Farmers,” pp. 251–269.

      Interpretations of past disaster experiences are likely to influence reactions to future threat situations. This study examines recollections and interpretations of a diffuse threat situation among farmers in areas of Sweden affected to differing degrees by radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident in 1986. 20 farmers were interviewed and the data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. The analysis resulted in a model in which personal reflections emerged as a filtering link between recollections of the past event and anticipations about the future. Differences in recollections, reflections and anticipated behaviors could be related to differing experiences among the farmers. The main category of reflections exemplified ways in which memories from Chernobyl were reassessed and evaluated in a sense-making process. On the basis of these reflections, two differing patterns of anticipated future behavior could be identified: the first being passive and reactive in response to the actions of authorities; the second active and relying mainly on personal judgments and decisions.  (AA)

    Naim Kapucu, “Examining the National Response Plan in Response to a Catastrophic Disaster: Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” pp. 271–299.

      Over the years, the Federal Response Plan (FRP) and the National Response Plan (NRP) have reflected policy learning and changes that result from disasters. Since its initial release in 1992 the FRP was amended twice then replaced by the NRP in 2004. In the past, revisions to these plans have occurred in response to Hurricane Andrew and the September 11 terrorist attacks. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the state of us. emergency management has been widely questioned. This article examines developments in NRP and its implementations in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 from collaboration and partnership perspectives. Information was collected from a variety of print and electronic sources for the study.  (AA)




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