IAEM Dispatch
Dec. 30, 2014

Managing chaos: Disaster planning handbook
Emergency Management
From March 20: Mitchell Stripling, Executive Director, Bureau of Agency Preparedness and Response, Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for New York City, has come up with a different approach to planning. The 18 page document is worth your read.More

Designing an upside-down, hurricane-proof hospital for New Orleans
Bloomberg Businessweek
From Aug. 21: When a hurricane hits land, hospitals are some of the most vulnerable structures. A power outage can send entire medical facilities into critical condition, as patients who depend on machines are placed at risk and incoming patients are turned away at the door. The result can be deadly.More

European official: Natural disaster costs have quadrupled in past 3 decades
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
From June 12: The average annual cost of natural disasters has quadrupled over the last three decades and it makes economic sense to boost spending on preparedness to ensure a stable future, a senior European official said. Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response, told a conference on disaster risk reduction and management of the Asia-Europe Meeting that costs related to natural disasters have increased from $50 billion a year in the 1980s to $200 billion in the last decade. In three of the last four years, costs exceeded $200 billion.More

At Cold War missile factory, elite rescuers drill for disaster
From March 27: A large-scale disaster drill, unfolding this week in rural Georgia, is being staged at a 830-acre training site that was a missile factory during the Cold War. The campus, known as The Guardian Centers, is nestled between a grove of pecan trees and a rural stretch of interstate and is designed to meet the growing needs of disaster rescue, police and military teams.More

Report: Many of America's Ebola-preparedness supplies have expired
Government Executive
From Oct. 30: Eighty-four percent of the hand sanitizer the Homeland Security Department has in stock in the event of an Ebola outbreak is expired, according to a government audit. An August 2014 report from the department's inspector general found that DHS did not adequately assess its need for pandemic preparedness supplies. The report also found that the purchase and management of these materials do not follow clear guidelines.More

Researchers develop a Wikipedia of fact-checking during natural disasters
From July 24: Researchers from the University of Southampton have helped to develop a new web application for gathering evidence during natural disasters, which will enable more effective emergency response. Accurate information can be life-saving in extreme situations, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. However, finding out the accuracy of that information from the vast amount of contradictory material that is posted on social media channels is becoming increasingly difficult.More

In emergencies, people with disabilities often an afterthought
Disability Scoop
From June 5: Serious barriers continue to jeopardize the well-being of people with disabilities in the wake of disasters and in other emergency situations, a new federal report finds. Problems with emergency communications systems are rampant including everything from evacuation maps and websites that are inaccessible to alerts featuring language that is unclear for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.More

We can eliminate the major tornado threat in Tornado Alley
From June 26: The annually recurring devastating tornado attacks in US Tornado Alley raise an important question: Can we eliminate the major tornado threat in Tornado Alley? Some people may claim that such a question is beyond imagination as people are powerless in facing violent tornadoes. However, according to Professor Rongjia Tao's recent publication in IJMPB, human beings are not powerless on this issue: if we build three east-west great walls in Tornado Alley, we will eliminate major tornado threat there forever. These walls can be built locally at high tornado risk areas to eliminate tornado threat there first, then gradually extended.More

What it's like to run a 1-person department
Emergency Management
From Feb. 6: From drawing up emergency plans and coordinating projects to establishing relationships with first responders, the tasks of preparing and educating a county population about what to do when disaster strikes can be overwhelming, even with the resources and staff to do it. But in most small jurisdictions in remote areas of the U.S., one person is commonly charged with doing all of that and with very few resources.More

'Dread' of disasters could be an important political tool
Nature World News
From May 29: Officials should be considering how the public reacts to various natural disasters when making plans to mitigate or recover from these disasters. Understanding a region's "dread" of a natural disaster, a new study suggests, could help officials determine how much tax money should go towards addressing that threat.More