Emergency Management and Social Intelligence: A Comprehensive All-Hazards Approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Emergency Management and Social Intelligence

A Comprehensive All-Hazards Approach, 1st Edition

By Charna R. Epstein, Ameya Pawar, Scott. C. Simon

CRC Press

248 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-12-19
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For effective preparedness, emergency managers must comprehend how a disaster impacts not only the physical infrastructure of the affected community but also the population. They must understand how the people interact with one another, how they interact with government, and how they react to the disaster event. In other words, they must have social intelligence. Emergency Management and Social Intelligence: A Comprehensive All-Hazards Approach provides a comprehensive framework for understanding a community before, during, and after a disaster in order to best mitigate the effect of a disaster on its people.

After an overview of what we’ve learned and what we haven’t learned from past events, the book provides detailed case studies on a spectrum of disasters spanning a century, including hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and oil spills. This context provides a framework for understanding a host of essential issues, including:

  • The interplay between how people perceive people in their communities, the public policy which results from socially constructed views, and the issues which surface during and after disaster as a result
  • The base logic of Social Intelligence which is rooted in the U.S. national security and intelligence apparatus
  • The application of the intelligence cycle in emergency management and how to develop and understand situational awareness
  • Baseline data points applicable to any community or jurisdiction and how they can be woven together to build on existing jurisdictional competence and real-time situational awareness
  • How geographic information systems (GISs) are used in emergency management, along with their limitations and the different software programs available
  • Modeling for disasters and how this helps the emergency management community plan for and respond to disasters
  • How emergency managers can use social intelligence to build resiliency at the local level and harness preexisting community strength before, during, and after a disaster

The insight presented in this volume supplies emergency managers, policy makers, and elected officials with a powerful blueprint for implementing social intelligence in any community or organization, maximizing the effectiveness of disaster recovery efforts. Equally important, this volume supplies emergency managers, municipalities, government organizations, and private sector entities with a framework to understand and identify social and economic fault lines in communities.

Table of Contents


Social Vulnerability & Policy

Social Policy Movements & History

Disaster Policy History and Outcomes

Alexandria Relief Bill

The Great Influenza

Hurricane Betsy

Hurricane Hugo

Northridge Earthquake

San Francisco Earthquake

Hurricane Katrina

Iowa Floods

Missouri Ice Storms

Lessons Learned from these disasters


Intelligence Methodology

Overview of nation's intelligence operations

Comprehensive study of geopolitical and socioeconomic landscape

Actionable intelligence

How intelligence shapes defense and foreign policy

Situational Awareness

Social vulnerability - what that means and how we currently measure it

Connect the dots

Develop actionable policy or systems

Robust Planning for Complex Events

EM situational awareness

Identify emerging trends

Building flexible response mechanisms


Money, Technology & Communications

Identify cost savings for future disaster planning and response efforts

Better budgeting and capital improvement planning

Leveraging GIS and emerging technologies

Develop targeted communications platforms

At the Local and State Level

Identify emerging trends

Respond more effectively

Develop robust statewide policies/programs for community development, etc.

Leverage information to identify additional federal resources for additional local support

Develop comprehensive mitigation, preparation and recovery strategies


Next steps

Prevent Katrina like response failures

Enhance value of emergency management

About the Authors

Charna R. Epstein is the Chief Operating Officer at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI). Prior to her work at UEI, Charna spent over ten years working in emergency and disaster management, primarily as the Director of Crisis Prevention, Resettlement and Disaster Recovery at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights. Charna also worked in Chicago government for three years and as a fellow at FEMA Region V. Among a number of awards, she was the recipient of the 2011 Red Cross Hero Award for disaster relief and preparedness work. Charna holds a M.Sc. in Threat and Response Management (2009), a M.A. in Social Service Administration (2005), both from the University of Chicago; and a B.A. from Brandeis University (1999).

Ameya Pawar serves as the Alderman of the 47th Ward on the Chicago City Council. He was elected to office in 2011. Since taking office, Ameya has passed legislation creating an independent budget office for Chicago City Council, passed the nation’s strongest anti-wage theft ordinance, and served on the Chicago Open 311 steering committee. Prior to taking office, Ameya spent 5 years working in emergency management and business continuity planning at Northwestern University. Ameya was a United States Department Scholar in 2009 and was named to Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 list in 2011. Ameya holds a M.Sc. in Threat and Response Management from the University of Chicago (2009) and a M.P.A. in Public Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology (2007).

Scott C. Simon works at BCFS Health and Human Services in the emergency management division in San Antonio, Texas. He holds a M.Sc. in Threat and Response Management from the University of Chicago (2009) and a B.A. from Texas State University (2007).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Disasters & Disaster Relief