Case Studies in Disaster Response and Emergency Management (Hardback) book cover

Case Studies in Disaster Response and Emergency Management

By Nicolas A. Valcik, Paul E. Tracy

© 2013 – Routledge

262 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781439883167
pub: 2013-01-04
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781466595231
pub: 2013-01-29
from $37.78

FREE Standard Shipping!
e–Inspection Copy


Each emergency comes with its own set of challenges, however, many emergencies of the past can be used as tools to evaluate the decisions made and apply them to similar situations. Designed to enable public officials to conduct this kind of evaluation, Case Studies in Disaster Response and Emergency Management details a selection of emergencies—more than 50—that actually occurred. The book demonstrates that often there is no wrong or right answer, just choices that will resolve a problem favorably or cause the situation to deteriorate.

The book illustrates the application of public administration theories and practices to real-life disasters. Arranged chronologically, the case studies involve incidents from the U.S. and worldwide, with topics including natural disasters, industrial accidents, epidemics, and terrorist attacks. It includes a set of generic questions at different points in the case study to allow evaluation of which decisions were successful and why. The decision-making process described gives readers an applied venue to test theoretical emergency management techniques that should work in real-world situations.

The book demonstrates with the perspective of 20/20 hindsight how preventive planning measures are best practiced. It provides practical advice and guidance for public officials during emergency situations.


"In government service anything can and will happen. Valcik and Tracy have selected a wide variety of case studies to help the reader prepare for that phone call when you least expect it."

—Allen Barnes,City Manager of Gonzales, Texas

"I have gained a whole new appreciation of the need for a more informed manager. … This book will be on my office desktop, and I will be referring to it often. I know this book will be dog-eared in very short order."

—Ted Benavides,Executive Scholar in Residence at the University of Texas at Dallas

Table of Contents


Key Issues to Consider in Emergency or Disaster Response Situations


PART I: Disasters from Natural Forces

Group 1 – Fires

Richmond Theater Fire - Virginia – 1811

Great Chicago Fire – 1871

Peshtigo Fire - Wisconsin - 1871

Big Blowup - Washington, Idaho and Montana – 1910

Hartford Circus Fire – Connecticut- 1944

Nightclub Fire – Rhode Island – 2003

Black Saturday Brushfires, Australia – 2009

Group 2: Hurricanes

Newfoundland Hurricane – 1775

Galveston Hurricane – Texas - 1900

Hurricane Katrina – 2005

Hurricane Rita – 2005

Group 3: Floods

Johnstown, Pennsylvania - Johnstown Flood - 1889

Great Lakes Storm – 1913

Banqiao Dam Flood, China – 1975

Group 4: Tornados

Natchez Tornado - Mississippi - 1840

Goliad Tornado - Texas – 1902

Tri State Tornado – 1925

Group 5: Earthquakes

San Francisco Earthquake - 1906

Aleutian Island Earthquake - 1946

Great Chilean Earthquake - 1960

Good Friday Earthquake - 1964

Mount Saint Helens – Washington - 1980

Sichuan Earthquake, China – 2008

Group 6: Other Natural Disasters

Great Blizzard – 1888

Lions of Tsavo – Africa - 1898

Great White Shark Attacks – New Jersey - 1916

Chicago Heat Wave – 1995

North America West Nile Virus – 1999 – 2004

Killer Bee Attacks - United States - 2008

Disasters from Industrial Accidents and Structural Failure

Monongah Mine Disaster – West Virginia - 1907

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire – New York – 1911

Bhopal Industrial Chemical Accident – India - 1984

Texas City Disaster – 1947

Exxon Valdez – Alaska - 1989

Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse – Kansas City - 1981

Bridge Collapse – Minnesota - 2007

Northeast Blackout – 2003

Disasters from Criminal or Terrorist Acts

Group 1: Bombings

Bomb at Haymarket Square – Chicago - 1886

Wall Street Bombing – 1920

Bombing of Boeing 247 – 1933

World Trade Center Bombing – 1993

Oklahoma City Bombing - 1995

Atlanta – Centennial Olympic Park Bombing - 1996

Group 2: Other Terrorist Events

Rajneeshee Cult Salmonella Attacks – Oregon - 1984

Subway Attack by the Aum Cult – Tokyo - 1995

Amerithrax - 2001


J.F.K. International Airport Terror Plot - 2007

Group 3: Shootings and Riots

University of Texas at Austin – Charles Whitman – 1966

Los Angeles Riots – 1992

Columbine High School Massacre – Colorado - 1999

Beltway Sniper Attacks – 2002

Virginia Tech Massacre – 2007

Disasters from Nuclear, Bio-toxins, or Chemicals

Donora – Air Pollution – 1948

Love Canal – Niagara Falls - 1970

Three Mile Island – Pennsylvania – 1979

Chernobyl – Ukraine - 1986

Biological Hazardous Material Violation – Texas A&M University - 2007




About the Authors

Nicolas Valcik is Associate Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Paul E. Tracy is with the University of Massachusetts – Lowell.

About the Series

ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy

Founded in 1939, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is the premier professional organization for public administration, dedicated to advancing its art, science, teaching and practice. The ASPA book series provides expert information on a range of public administration issues, each authored by a leader in the field. Series Editor David Rosenbloom is Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs at American University, USA.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: