Preparedness and Response

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This is another in a string of pre-loaded posts. I've got three weeks of work travel followed by about two weeks of personal travel, but since I'm just getting this warmed up I didn't want to drop off immediately. Most of these will be based on articles I've been saving to address at some point, and it looks like this is it.

Since I'm heading out on the road, including a lot of flying, I'm also reviewing my reading list and pulling hard and soft copies of a lot of things to keep me company. I've got the better part of  18 hours in planes (and another 12 of layovers in airports) so I'm grabbing everything that catches my eye. A major chunk of that time will be spent digging into the two-and-a-half years worth of Risk Analysis (the SRA journal) that are so nicely shelved in my office, but here are a few others:
Recent years have witnessed community disaster resilience becoming one of the most heavily supported and advocated approach to disaster risk management. However, its application has been influenced by the lack of assessment tools. This study reviews studies conducted using the resilience concept and examines the tools, models, and methods adopted. It examines the domains, indicators, and indices have been considered in the tools. It provides a critical analysis of the assessment tools available for evaluating community disaster resilience (CDR).

  •  Climate Change: A Risk Assessment. I saved this report after reading about it on a Fierce Homeland Security a little while back. Risk assessments in general are what I do, and the impacts of climate change (both immediate and potential long-term) are a big question for a lot of folks I work with. In many cases they're working with competing pressures, since there's now White House level priorities around the inclusion of climate change related information in many assessments, but also local-level leadership who may not support that as a priority. While it's probably impossible to get a truly bias-free analysis of the concerns, it looks like this report is stressing the need to evaluate and prepare for climatic shifts in a similar way that we do for national/homeland security and public health. From the press release:
The report identifies thresholds beyond which ‘the inconvenient may become intolerable’. These include limits of human tolerance for heat stress, and limits of crops’ tolerance for high temperatures, which if exceeded could lead to large-scale fatalities and crop failure; as well as potential limits to coastal cities’ ability to successfully adapt to rising sea levels. It suggests that these thresholds could become increasingly likely to be crossed over time: an extreme event that may be very unlikely at one point in time could be highly likely at some later point. This will especially be the case if global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, as the report suggests they will in the absence of stronger political commitment and faster technological development.
As of July 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported taking several actions that could help address electromagnetic threats to the electric grid. GAO's preliminary analysis of DHS's actions indicates that they generally fell under four categories: (1) developing reports, (2) identifying mitigation efforts, (3) strategy development and planning, and (4) conducting exercises.
During the Hurricane Sandy Recovery, five federal programs—the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA), Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), the Federal Transit Administration's Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hurricane Sandy program—helped enhance disaster resilience—the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to disasters. These programs funded a number of disaster-resilience measures, for example, acquiring and demolishing at-risk properties, elevating flood-prone structures, and erecting physical flood barriers.

State and local officials from the states affected by Hurricane Sandy GAO contacted reported that they were able to effectively leverage federal programs to enhance disaster resilience, but also experienced challenges that could result in missed opportunities. 
That's the beginning of the pile, anything I missed?
Author: Joel Palmer
Posted: August 31, 2015, 1:30 pm

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