1st Edition

Preparedness and Response for Catastrophic Disasters

ISBN 9781466511897
Published May 29, 2013 by CRC Press
416 Pages 99 B/W Illustrations

USD $120.00

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Book Description

Based on a popular course for the FEMA Higher Education project, Preparedness and Response for Catastrophic Disasters provides important insight into plans to mitigate and respond to the devastation caused by large-scale catastrophic events. Hurricane Katrina provided clear evidence that these occurrences are both qualitatively and quantitatively different from other disasters. Recent tragedies, like the 2004 South Asia tsunami, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear plant meltdown in Japan further illustrate that we are not prepared for such events.

Written by top disaster scholars and practitioners, the book defines what constitutes a catastrophic event, outlining both the factors that can lead to catastrophes and the unique logistical, planning, and response challenges posed by them. Distinct from general disasters, these events are termed "catastrophic" due to the regional impact, impacts to logistics and infrastructure, the devastating effects on large-scale populations, and the ripple effects on regional and global economies.

Preparedness and Response for Catastrophic Disasters examines why catastrophes must be approached differently. If governments, public administrators, and emergency management professionals are to succeed in protecting our populations, there must be consensus, decisiveness, and leadership in both the coordination and response. In addition, there must be a fundamental recognition that catastrophic events compromise the very infrastructure—public utilities, delivery of goods and service, schools, business functions, and government—that supports communities and upon which modern society is based. As such, the book explores how catastrophes can dramatically affect populations and addresses new, innovative, and fundamentally unique strategies communities can institute to better prepare populations for catastrophic events and their aftermath.

Table of Contents

What Is a Catastrophe, and Why Is This Important? Rick Bissell

Understanding Catastrophes: A Discussion of Causation, Impacts, Policy Approaches, and Organizational Structures; David A. McEntire

Ethics in Catastrophe Readiness and Response; Anna K. Schwab and Timothy Beatley

Political and Legal Issues; John C. Pine

Economics of Catastrophes and Disasters; Kevin M. Simmons

Logistics and the Management of Critical Supplies Following Catastrophes; José Holguín-Veras, Tricia Wachtendorf, Miguel Jaller, and Theresa Jefferson

Overview of Critical Infrastructure in Catastrophes; Matthew J. Levy and Rick Bissell

Public Health Role in Catastrophes; Rick Bissell and Thomas Kirsch

Catastrophes, Mass Displacement, and Population Resettlement; Anthony Oliver-Smith

Emergent Organizations and Networks in Catastrophic Environments; Tricia Wachtendorf

Methods of Planning and Response Coordination; Jasmin R. Ruback, A. Scott Wells, and Brian J. Maguire

Catastrophic Disaster Recovery: An Institutional Network Perspective; Gavin Smith

Pandemic Scenario; Rick Bissell and Thomas Kirsch

Training and Exercises for Catastrophes; Myra M. Socher

Catastrophes in Haiti and Japan; Thomas Kirsch, Nobuaki Kiriu, and Rick Bissell

Summary and Call to Action; Rick Bissell and Jasmin R. Ruback


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Rick Bissell, Ph.D., is a professor and graduate program director at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Department of Emergency Health Services. His research focuses on disaster epidemiology, health sector response to disasters, public health–emergency management collaboration, emerging global emergency management challenges, earthquake impact on health services, and various topics related to emergency management.