Tag Archives: emergency systems

Science to Improve Disaster Communication

Source: FEMA News

During an emergency, alerts and warnings can mean the difference between life and death. Our reports explore the critical role of communication and make recommendations to improve systems and procedures. All are free to download.

Emergency Alert and Warning Systems: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions

Following a series of natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, that revealed shortcomings in the nation’s ability to effectively alert populations at risk, Congress passed the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act in 2006. …

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Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise

Our ability to observe and forecast severe weather events has improved markedly over the past few decades. Forecasts of snow and ice storms, hurricanes and storm surge, extreme heat, and other severe weather events are made with greater accuracy, …

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Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda

Science and technology are embedded in virtually every aspect of modern life. As a result, people face an increasing need to integrate information from science with their personal values and other considerations as they make important life …

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Tsunami Warning and Preparedness: An Assessment of the U.S. Tsunami Program and the Nation’s Preparedness Efforts

Many coastal areas of the United States are at risk for tsunamis. After the catastrophic 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, legislation was passed to expand U.S. tsunami warning capabilities. Since then, the nation has made progress in several …

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Public Response to Alerts and Warnings Using Social Media: Report of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps

Following an earlier NRC workshop on public response to alerts and warnings delivered to mobile devices, a related workshop was held on February 28 and 29, 2012 to look at the role of social media in disaster response. This was one of the first …

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Geotargeted Alerts and Warnings: Report of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps

Geotargeted Alerts and Warnings: Report of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps is the summary of a February, 2013 workshop convened by the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council to …

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Engaging the Public in Critical Disaster Planning and Decision Making: Workshop Summary

Engaging the Public in Critical Disaster Planning and Decision Making is the summary of a workshop held in March 2013 to discuss the key principles of public engagement during the development of disaster plans, the response phase, and during the …

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Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative

No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation …

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Metro Emergencies and the Importance of Underground Engineering

metro-train-l-enfant-plaza-station-washington-dc
Photo credit: latinpost.com

Many issues brought to national attention following the recent fatal smoke event in the Washington, DC underground Metro system have been discussed in the National Research Council report Underground Engineering for Sustainable Development. Smoke and fire represent one of the greatest hazards to health and safety in underground infrastructure. This report includes discussion of how fire and smoke spread easily through tunnel systems and how underground ventilation systems must be able to provide breathable air and remove hazardous gases.

We asked Sammantha Magsino, the Study Director of Underground Engineering, for her thoughts on how the report speaks to the recent rail incident:

Strategic decisions must be made related to alarm and exiting systems, entry systems for emergency personnel, and safety procedures to ensure both occupant and emergency responder safety. Such decisions must optimize human-technical relationships and provide at least minimum levels of safety consistent with long-term societal visions. Underground Engineering stresses that underground infrastructure is part of a system of surface and subsurface engineered and human systems that needs to be designed, built, operated, maintained, and used with due accounting of technical aspects of the infrastructure, as well as in consideration of human behaviors, physiology, performance capacity, and the necessary education and training for safe and effective human use. The failure of any element of the system can result in cascading failures of other system elements, and can put the whole system at risk. Risk in underground infrastructure, however, often does not receive the same levels of regulatory scrutiny as risk in surface infrastructure, and safety codes are often written in response to events rather than the thorough study of risk/

Underground Engineering includes overarching observations, conclusions, and potential actions in practice, education, and research that would encourage integrated and interdisciplinary approaches to underground infrastructure design, management, technology development, and safety.

Underground Engineering for Sustainable Urban Development

For thousands of years, the underground has provided humans refuge, useful resources, physical support for surface structures, and a place for spiritual or artistic expression. More recently, many urban services have been placed underground. Over this time, humans have rarely considered how underground space can contribute to or be engineered to maximize its contribution to the sustainability of society. As human activities begin to change the planet and population struggle to maintain …

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