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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions 3 Social Science Research on Hazard Mitigation, Emergency Preparedness, and Recovery Preparedness The committee’s goal in Chapters 3 and 4 is to document social science contributions under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) to the development of knowledge about the five core topics of hazards and disaster research and their interactions (see Figure 1.1.). As an organizing tool, the conceptual model of societal response to disaster, also introduced in Chapter 1 (see Figure 1.2), is employed. Within that conceptual model the catalytic impacts of disaster events are determined by conditions of systemic vulnerability, disaster event characteristics, and the actions of what the committee has termed the hazards and disaster management system. This chapter reviews research related to hazard vulnerability, disaster event characteristics and pre-impact emergency management interventions as determinants of disaster impacts. Chapter 4 then reviews research related to planned and improvised post-impact responses as determinants of disaster impacts. Each chapter concludes with recommendations for future research within the framework provided by the conceptual model. FURTHER COMMENTS ON THE CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF SOCIETAL RESPONSE TO DISASTER Understanding the causal processes by which disasters affect social systems (i.e., communities, regions, societies) is important for at least four reasons. First, research on these processes is needed to identify the pre-impact conditions that render social systems vulnerable (hazard exposure,
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions physical vulnerability) to disaster impacts (physical and social) in both chronological and social time. Second, research on these processes can be used to identify specific segments of threatened social systems that could suffer disaster impacts disproportionately, such as low-income households, ethnic minorities, or specific types of businesses (social vulnerability). Third, research on these processes can be used to identify disaster event-specific conditions (length of forewarning, predictability, controllability, and magnitude, scope, and duration of impact) that influence the level of disaster impacts. Fourth, findings on the interrelationships among characteristics of hazard vulnerability and disaster event characteristics allow documentation of the roles and interaction of pre-impact interventions (mitigation, emergency preparedness, and recovery preparedness practices) and post-impact responses (emergency and recovery activities) in influencing the level of disaster impacts. The causal processes by which disasters produce systemic effects in chronological and social time is informed generally within theorizing by Kreps (1985, 1989b) and Quarantelli (1989), and more specifically by causal models proposed by Cutter (1996), Lindell and Prater (2003), and Prater et al. (2004). HAZARD VULNERABILITY The preexisting conditions most directly relevant to disaster impacts are hazard exposure, physical vulnerability, and social vulnerability. Hazard Exposure Hazard exposure is defined by the probability of occurrence (or, equivalently, the recurrence interval) of events of a given physical magnitude and scope occurring in different locations. Hazard exposure arises from people’s occupancy of geographical areas where they could be affected by extreme events that threaten their lives or property. Social scientists have made contributions to understanding hazard exposure principally by examining the distribution of hazardous conditions and the human occupancy of hazardous zones (Burton et al., 1993; Monmonier, 1997). Physical Vulnerability A major component of physical vulnerability is structural vulnerability, which arises when buildings are constructed using designs and materials that are incapable of resisting extreme energy levels (e.g., high wind, hydrodynamic pressures of water, seismic shaking) or that allow the infiltration of hazardous materials. Thus, structural vulnerability can be defined by the likelihood that an event of a given magnitude will cause various damage
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions states, ranging from slight damage through immediate total failure, to buildings and infrastructure. The construction of most buildings is governed by building codes intended to protect the life safety of building occupants from the dead load of the building material themselves and the live load of the occupants and furnishings, but they do not necessarily provide protection from extreme wind, seismic, or hydrostatic loads. Nor do they provide an impermeable barrier to the infiltration of toxic air pollutants. Adopting hazard-related building codes for the purpose of providing protection in the event of earthquakes, hurricanes, and other types of disaster is not just a technological matter. It is a complex process involving a number of significant social, economic and political issues. Social scientists in the hazards and disaster field that study such issues are in a position to provide guidance to policy makers and practitioners who make decisions about how to protect life and property in at-risk communities. Social Vulnerability Social vulnerability can be defined by the probability of identifiable persons or groups lacking the “capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impacts of a … hazard” (Blakie et al., 1994). Vulnerable population segments might (1) have greater rates of hazard zone occupancy; (2) live and work in less hazard-resistant structures within those zones; (3) have lower rates of pre-impact interventions (hazard mitigation, emergency preparedness, and recovery preparedness); or (4) have lower rates of post-impact emergency and disaster recovery responses. Thus, these population segments are more likely to experience casualties, property damage, psychological impacts, demographic impacts, economic impacts, or political impacts—as direct, indirect, or informational effects. Hazard Vulnerability Analysis It is important to recognize the difference between social vulnerability as a construct and demographic indicators of social vulnerability. The latter are characteristics of individuals and households that are associated with social vulnerability. These characteristics, which include gender, age, education, profession, income, ethnicity, and number of dependents, are associated with the above four components of hazard vulnerability. The broad factors (or driving forces) that contribute to social vulnerability include a lack of access to resources, limited access to political power and representation (Mustafa, 2002), certain beliefs and customs, demographic characteristics, the nature of the built environment, infrastructure (lifelines), and urbanization (Watts and Bohle, 1993; Heinz Center, 2002; Bankoff, 2004). Social science research contributions, including those made by NEHRP–
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions supported investigators, have demonstrated that gender (Fothergill, 1996; Enarson and Morrow, 1998; Fordham, 1999), race and class (Perry and Lindell, 1991; Peacock et al., 2000; Cutter et al., 2001), and age (Ngo, 2001) are among the most important indicators of vulnerable individuals and social groups. The integration of hazard exposure, structural vulnerability, and social vulnerability indicators into systematic procedures for hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA) has progressed significantly from the regional ecology of hazards first proposed by Hewitt and Burton (1971), and this progress has been made possible by improvements in data and mapping technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (Lougeay et al., 1994; Monmonier, 1997; King, 2001; Greene 2002; Tobin and Montz, 2004). GIS-based approaches to vulnerability assessments were initially developed under NEHRP by social scientists (Mitchell et al., 1997; Morrow, 1999; Cutter et al., 2000) and are now a standard procedure for many state and local governments conducting hazard vulnerability analyses under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. These advances in GIS-based modeling have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of exposure to a wide range of hazards (Carrara and Guzzetti, 1995; Mejia-Navarro et al., 1994; Hepner and Finco, 1995; Chakraborty, 2001; Rashed and Weeks, 2003). Once data have been collected on hazard exposure, physical vulnerability, and social vulnerability, GIS analyses can either overlay or mathematically combine the data to assess the overall vulnerability of a jurisdiction (e.g., a county) or to identify social vulnerability “hot spots” within that jurisdiction. Emergency managers and land-use planners can use the results of these HVAs to adapt their hazard mitigation policies, emergency response plans, and disaster recovery plans to meet the special needs of vulnerable community segments. Maps of hazard exposure, structural vulnerability, and social vulnerability produced by HVA are expensive, require significant expertise to produce, and can become outdated over time as a community grows (Burby, 1998). These potential impediments to the development of hazard management policy make it important to identify the sources of data on hazard exposure, physical vulnerability, and social vulnerability that emergency managers and land-use planners use to formulate local policies for mitigation, response preparedness, and recovery preparedness. In addition, it is important to determine the staff capabilities of local governments to conduct HVAs and whether their capabilities are adequate to provide a sufficient fact basis to support the formulation of policies that will be effective in reducing hazard vulnerability and withstanding legal scrutiny (Deyle et al., 1998).
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions DISASTER EVENT CHARACTERISTICS There are many ways to classify threats based on the causal nature of the event but the most popular dichotomy has been natural versus technological hazards. One assumed implication of this distinction is that the societal response to disasters is fundamentally different for each of these categories. For example, some social scientists supported under NEHRP have argued that technological hazards are fundamentally different from natural hazards in their impacts on the human, natural, and built environments (Kroll-Smith and Couch, 1991), whereas others have suggested that natural disasters elicit a therapeutic community response and technological hazards elicit a nontherapeutic response. Since the events of September 11, 2001 some have suggested that another category of events be defined as intentional or willful acts—implicitly assuming that the response to such events will be different from the response to natural or technological events. Column A in Table 3.1 provides a list that is consistent with the way in which many government agencies define their missions, many physical scientists define the physical phenomena they research, and information is provided to the public about how to prepare and respond to environmental hazards. The classification of disasters simply as natural, technological, and willful does recognize the distinctions among them in terms of human agency, but this should not be overdrawn. There is little dispute that terrorism differs from natural and technological hazards in some ways. For example, the social dynamics that generate terrorist hazard agents are clearly different from the physical dynamics that generate natural hazard agents. However, technological hazard agents are determined by both physical and social dynamics (Perrow, 1984), so the differences are smaller than some might believe. Even if the unreasoning laws of nature and the faulty reasoning of human error are different from deliberate intent to harm, these different causal processes can produce equivalent results. Thus, it is important to recognize underlying dimensions of similarity among hazard agents. As Table 3.1 indicates, these are the threats (column B), and agent and impact characteristics (column C), with the latter addressed by such scholars as Dynes (1970); Cvetkovich and Earle (1985); Kreps (1985, 1989a); Sorensen and Mileti (1987); Burton et al. (1993); Lindell (1994); and Noji (1997). To date, however, there has been no systematic scientific characterization of the ways in which different hazard agents (column A) vary in their threats (column B) and characteristics (column C) and, thus, requiring different pre-impact interventions and post-impact responses by households, businesses, and community hazard management organizations. In the absence of systematic scientific hazard characterization, it is difficult to determine whether—at one extreme—natural, technological, and willful hazard agents impose essentially identical disaster demands on stricken communities or—
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions TABLE 3.1 Hazard Typologies A Hazard Agents B Threats C Characteristics Natural Hazards Extraterrestrial Meteorological Geophysical Biological Hydrological Technological Hazards Structural failure Environmental pollution Resource depletion Willful Hazards Sabotage Terrorism Materials Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Energy Explosive Flammable Information Corruption Theft Deception Agent Characteristics Frequency or likelihood Predictability Controllability Impact Characteristics Speed of onset or forewarning Impact magnitude Impact scope Impact duration at the other extreme—each hazard is unique. Thorough examination of the similarities and differences among hazard agents would have significant implications for guiding the societal management of these hazards. DISASTER IMPACTS Physical Impacts Damage to the built environment can be classified broadly as affecting residential, commercial, industrial, infrastructure, or community services sectors. Moreover, damage within each of these sectors can be divided into damage to structures and damage to contents. It usually is the case that damage to contents results from collapsing structures (e.g., hurricane winds that cause the building envelope to fail and allow rain to destroy the contents). Because collapsing buildings are a major cause of casualties as well, this suggests that strengthening the structure will protect the contents and occupants. However, some hazard agents can damage building contents without affecting the structure itself (e.g., earthquakes striking seismically resistant buildings whose contents are not securely fastened). Thus, risk area residents may have to adopt additional hazard adjustments to protect contents and occupants even if they already have structural protection. As a result of a solid body of research, much of it sponsored by NEHRP, one of the best understood structural impacts of disasters is the destruction of dwellings. According to Quarantelli (1982), people typically pass through
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions four stages of housing recovery—emergency shelter, temporary shelter, temporary housing, and permanent housing. Nonetheless, households vary in the progression and duration of each type of housing, and the transition from one stage to another can be delayed unpredictably (Bolin, 1993). Particularly significant are the problems faced by low-income households, which tend to be headed disproportionately by females and racial or ethnic minorities. Consistent with the social vulnerability perspective, such households are more likely to experience damage or destruction of their homes because of their location in areas of high hazard exposure. This is especially true in developing countries such as Guatemala (Bates and Peacock, 1987; Peacock et al., 1987), but also has been reported in the United States (Peacock and Girard, 1997). Low-income households also are more likely to be affected because they tend to occupy structures that were built according to older, less stringent building codes; used lower-quality construction materials and methods; and were less well maintained (Bolin and Bolton, 1986). Because low-income households have fewer resources on which to draw for recovery, they also take longer to transition through the stages of housing, sometimes remaining for extended periods of time in severely damaged homes (Peacock and Girard, 1997). In other cases, they are forced to accept as permanent what originally was intended as temporary housing (Peacock et al., 1987). Consequently, there may still be low-income households in temporary sheltering and temporary housing even after high-income households all have relocated to permanent housing (Berke et al., 1993; Rubin et al., 1985). There has been little systematic research thus far under NEHRP on the rates of post-disaster reconstruction in the commercial, industrial, infrastructure, and community service sectors; and the reason for this are unclear. Research on housing recovery has identified a number of problems and, although the broad outlines of housing recovery are reasonably well understood, there is little research on the rate at which households (of different demographic categories) progress through the stages of housing. Such information would be very useful in forecasting the demand for temporary shelter and temporary housing after disasters. Some initial efforts in this regard have been incorporated into HAZUS (FEMA, 2004; NIBS-FEMA, 1999) and further efforts have been undertaken by Prater et al. (2004), but more needs to be done. Social Impacts Social impacts—which can be psychological, demographic, economic, or political—can result directly from physical impact and be seen immediately or can arise indirectly and develop over shorter to longer periods of chronological and social time. For many years, research on the social
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions impacts of disasters consisted of an accumulation of case studies, but two research teams conducted comprehensive statistical analyses of extensive databases to assess the long-term effects of disasters on stricken communities (Friesma et al., 1979; Wright et al., 1979). These studies both concluded no long-term social effects of disasters could be detected at the community level. In discussing their findings, the authors acknowledged that their results were dominated by the most frequent disasters—tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. Moreover, most of the disasters they studied had a relatively small scope of impact and thus caused only minimal disruption to communities even in the short term. Finally, their findings did not preclude the possibility of significant long-term impacts upon lower levels of aggregation such as the neighborhood, business, or household, or over periods of time shorter than the 10-year interval between censuses. One significant limitation of previous studies before and after the creation of NEHRP is that they have defined the research question as whether there are long-term social effects at the community level, but a more fruitful objective would be to determine the distribution of the chronological and social time periods during which disruption is experienced at different scales of analysis (e.g., household or business, neighborhood, community, region) in disasters of different magnitudes. Such research could reveal how long it takes for the horizontal and vertical linkages in American society to produce disaster recovery resources for those in need. Psychological Impacts One type of social impact not measured by census data consists of measurements of psychosocial impacts and, indeed, research reviews conducted over a period of 25 years have concluded that disasters can cause a wide range of negative psychosocial responses (Perry and Lindell, 1978; Bolin, 1985; Gerrity and Flynn, 1997; Houts et al., 1988). In most cases, the effects that are observed are mild and transitory—the result of “normal people, responding normally, to a very abnormal situation” (Gerrity and Flynn, 1997:108). Few disaster victims require psychiatric diagnosis and most benefit more from a “crisis counseling” orientation than from a “mental health treatment” orientation, especially if their normal social support networks of friends, relatives, neighbors, and coworkers remain largely intact. However, there are population segments that require special attention and active outreach. These include children, frail elderly people with preexisting mental illness, racial and ethnic minorities, and families of those who have died in the disaster. Emergency workers also need special attention because they often work long hours without rest, have witnessed horrific sights, and are members of organizations in which discussion of emotional issues may be regarded as a sign of weakness (Rubin, 1991).
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions The negative psychosocial impacts described above, which Lazarus and Folkman (1984) call “emotion-focused coping” responses, generally disrupt the social functioning of only a very small portion of the victim population. Instead, the majority of disaster victims engage in adaptive “problem-focused coping” activities to save their own lives and those of their closest associates. Further, there is an increased incidence in pro-social behaviors such as donating material aid and a decreased incidence of antisocial behaviors such as crime (Mileti et al., 1975; Drabek, 1986; Siegel et al., 1999). In some cases, people even engage in altruistic behaviors that risk their own lives to save others (Tierney et al., 2001). In addition, there are psychological impacts, which are called informational effects in Chapter 1. These impacts can have long-term adaptive consequences, such as changes in risk perception (beliefs in the likelihood of the occurrence of a disaster and its personal consequences for the individual) and increased hazard intrusiveness (frequency of thought and discussion about a hazard). In turn, these adaptive informational effects can increase risk area residents’ adoption of household hazard adjustments that reduce their vulnerability to future disasters. However, such positive informational effects of disaster experience do not appear to be large in the aggregate—resulting in modest effects on household hazard adjustment (see Lindell and Perry, 2000, for a review of the literature on seismic hazard adjustment, and Lindell and Prater, 2000, and Lindell and Whitney, 2000, for more recent empirical research). The findings from the research on psychological impacts of disasters indicate that there is no need for communities to revise their recovery plans to include widespread assessments of direct and indirect psychological impacts following disasters, nor does there appear to be a major need for research on interventions for the general population. However, there is a need for research on appropriate interventions for children, and perhaps other vulnerable populations, before disasters strike. These could help them develop emotion-focused coping strategies or, as discussed later in the section on risk communication, acquire personally relevant information about hazards and hazard adjustments. Demographic Impacts The demographic impact of a disaster can be assessed by adapting the demographic balancing equation where Pa is the population size after the disaster, Pb is the population size before the disaster, B is the number of births, D is the number of deaths, IM
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions is the number of immigrants, and OM is the number of emigrants (Smith et al., 2001). In practice, population data are available for census divisions (census blocks, block groups, or tracts) rather than disaster impact areas, so GISs must be used to estimate the population change. Moreover, population data are most readily available from decennial censuses, so the overall population change and its individual demographic components—births, deaths, immigration, and emigration—are likely to be estimated from that source (e.g., Wright et al., 1979). On rare occasions, special surveys have been conducted in the aftermath of disaster (e.g., Peacock et al., 2000). The limited research available on demographic impacts (Friesma et al., 1979; Wright et al., 1979) suggests that disasters have negligible demographic impacts on American communities but there are documented exceptions such as Lecomte and Gahagen’s (1998) report of 50,000 out-migrants from south Dade County in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. It is widely anticipated that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the case of New Orleans will also be an exception. As noted earlier, the highly aggregated level of analysis in the Friesma and Wright studies does not preclude the possibility of significant impacts at lower levels of analysis such as the census tract, block group, or block levels. The major demographic impacts of disasters are likely to be the (temporary) immigration of construction workers after major disasters and the emigration of population segments that have lost housing. In many cases, this emigration is also temporary, but there are documented cases in which housing reconstruction has been delayed indefinitely—leading to “ghost towns” (Comerio, 1998). Other potential causes of emigration are psychological effects (belief that the likelihood of disaster recurrence is unacceptably high), economic effects (loss of jobs or community services), or political effects (increased neighborhood or community conflict)—all of which could produce significant demographic impacts at the neighborhood level. Most of the research under NEHRP that has addressed household behavior in the aftermath of disaster has examined the recovery of households that decided to return and rebuild. A few studies have examined highly aggregated data that could only discern net migration, not in-migration and out-migration separately. Thus, research is needed to assess the extent to which households decide to leave after disaster and the ways in which these migrating households differ from those who remain as well as from the in-migrants who replace them. Economic Impacts Economic impacts can be divided into direct and indirect losses. The property damage produced by disasters results in direct losses that can be thought of as losses in asset value (NRC, 1999c), measured by the cost of
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions repair or replacement. Disaster losses in the United States are borne initially by the affected households, businesses, and local government agencies whose property is damaged or destroyed, but some of these losses are redistributed during the disaster recovery process through insurance, grants, or subsidized loans. There have been many attempts to estimate the magnitude of direct losses from individual disasters and the annual average losses from particular types of hazards (e.g., Mileti, 1999a). Unfortunately, these losses are difficult to determine precisely because there is no organization that tracks all of the relevant data and some data are not recorded at all (Charvériat, 2000; NRC, 1999c). For insured property, the insurers record the amount of the deductible and the reimbursed loss, but uninsured losses are not recorded so they must be estimated—often with questionable accuracy. The ultimate economic impacts of direct losses depend upon the disposition of the damaged assets. Some of these assets are not replaced, so their loss causes a reduction in consumption (and, thus, a decrease in the quality of life) or a reduction in investment (and, thus, a decrease in economic productivity). Other assets are replaced—through either in-kind donations (e.g., food, clothing) or commercial purchases. In the latter case, the cost of replacement must come from some source of recovery funding, which generally can be characterized as either intertemporal transfers (to the present time from past savings or future loan payments) or interpersonal transfers (from one group to another at a given time). Disaster relief is an interpersonal transfer, whereas hazard insurance involves both interpersonal and intertemporal transfers. In addition to direct economic losses, there are indirect losses that arise from the interdependence of community subunits. Research, including that supported by NEHRP, on the socioeconomic impacts of disasters (Dacy and Kunreuther, 1969; Durkin, 1984; Kroll et al., 1991; Alesch et al., 1993; Gordon et al., 1995; Dalhamer and D’Sousa, 1997) suggests that the relationships among the social units within a community can be described as a state of dynamic equilibrium involving a steady flow of resources, especially money (Lindell and Prater, 2003). Specifically, a household’s linkages with the rest of the community are defined by the money that it must pay for products, services, and infrastructure support. This money is obtained from the wages that employers pay for the household’s labor. Similarly, the linkages that a business has with the community are defined by the money it provides to its employees, suppliers, and infrastructure in exchange for inputs such as labor, materials and services, electric power, fuel, water or wastewater, telecommunications, and transportation. Conversely, it provides products or services to customers in exchange for the money it uses to pay its inputs. Businesses’ operational vulnerability arises from their proximity to the point of maximum impact and the structural vulnerability of the buildings
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions certainty, clarity, accuracy, and sufficiency (Mileti and Sorensen, 1987; Mileti and Peek, 2000; Lindell and Perry, 2004). More is known about the effects of these message characteristics on warning recipients, but not about the degree to which hazards professionals address them in their risk communication messages. Receiver characteristics include previous hazard experience, preexisting beliefs about the hazard and protective actions, and personality traits. In addition, there are demographic characteristics—such as gender, age, education, income, ethnicity, marital status, and family size—but these have only modest (and inconsistent) correlations with hazard adjustment. Finally, Lindell and Perry (2004) summarized the available research as indicating message effects include pre-decisional processes (reception, attention, and comprehension), and the eight decision stages listed in Table 3.2. Each decision stage is defined by the critical question posed by the situation, the response activity, and the outcome of that activity. There is substantial variation in the amount of time and effort people spend in each of these eight stages (indeed, people can bypass some of the stages altogether) and the order in which the stages are processed. More- TABLE 3.2 Warning Stages and Actions Stage Question Activity Outcome 1 Is there a real threat that I need to pay attention to? Risk identification Threat belief 2 Do I need to take protective action? Risk assessment Protection motivation 3 What can be done to achieve protection? Protective action search Decision set (alternative actions) 4 What is the best method of protection? Protective action assessment and selection Adaptive plan 5 Does protective action need to be taken now? Protective action implementation Threat response 6 What information do I need to answer my question? Information needs assessment Identified information need 7 Where and how can I obtain this information? Communication action assessment and selection Information search plan 8 Do I need the information now? Communication action implementation Decision information Source: Lindell and Perry (2004).
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions over, people sometimes cycle through a decision stage repeatedly as new information is sought and received. Such extended “milling” most commonly occurs when there is conflicting or confusing information (e.g., when there are complex and uncertain scientific data about a hazard and alternative protective actions). Two empirical studies on public risk communication campaigns are illustrative of NEHRP-sponsored research in this area. Mileti and Darlington (1995) studied responses by the public and by government and private sector organizations to new scientific information on the magnitude of the earthquake threat in the San Francisco Bay area—information that was provided to residents in a color insert they received with their Sunday newspapers. In a similar effort, Mileti and Fitzpatrick’s The Great Earthquake Experiment: Risk Communication and Public Action (1993) analyzed the impact of government efforts to provide public information and encourage household seismic preparedness in connection with the Parkfield, California, earthquake prediction experiment. Here also, the study focused on what people in communities affected by the prediction knew about the earthquake hazard and how they responded. These two studies showed that residents did become better informed as a consequence of government risk communication, and some took steps to prepare for a coming earthquake. One key finding from both studies was that printed materials, such as the brochures residents received, were more effective in communicating risk than more ephemeral forms of communication such as television and radio. Another was that printed material—or any risk communication vehicle—is not sufficient to raise awareness and motivate action. Rather, risk-related information must be delivered through multiple channels, in different (but consistent) form, and must be repeated. In addition to these quasi-experimental designs, some studies, including some supported by NEHRP, have also used experimental designs involving random assignment to conditions. In a well-controlled field experiment, Mulilis and Lippa (1990) provided respondents with specially prepared earthquake awareness brochures that systematically varied information about an earthquake’s probability of occurrence, its severity, the efficacy of a recommended seismic adjustment, and the receiver’s self-efficacy (i.e., capability) to implement the adjustment. Researchers found that brochures induced immediate changes in the receivers’ perceptions of probability, severity, outcome efficacy, and self-efficacy, but these impacts were not sustained over the five to nine weeks between the administration of an immediate post-test, and a delayed post-test and there were only suggestive rather than conclusive improvements in the level of seismic adjustment. More recently, Whitney et al. (2004) investigated the prevalence of both accurate and erroneous earthquake-related beliefs and the relationship between respondents’ endorsement of earthquake beliefs and their adop-
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions tion of seismic hazard adjustments. In addition, the study examined the effects of an experimental earthquake education program and the impact of a psychological trait—need for cognition—on this program. Data revealed a significant degree of agreement with earthquake myths, a generally low level of correlation between earthquake beliefs and level of hazard adjustments, and a significant effect of hazard information on the endorsement of accurate earthquake beliefs and increases in hazard adjustment. Compared to an earthquake facts format, an earthquake myths versus facts format was slightly more useful for dispelling erroneous beliefs. In addition to their erroneous beliefs about hazards, some risk area residents have erroneous beliefs about such basic information as their location in a risk area. For example, Zhang et al. (2004a) found that one-third of the residents in counties threatened by Hurricane Bret were unable to correctly identify the risk area in which their home was located, even when provided with a risk area map along with the questionnaire. Moreover, Arlikatti et al. (in press) found that this percentage was two-thirds for the Texas coast as a whole. Such findings have obvious implications for defining these risk areas (using readily recognizable geographical features and political boundaries), but also underscore the importance of carefully assessing risk area residents’ beliefs about even the seemingly most obvious aspects of emergency preparedness. These and other studies have led to the development of practical guidance on the design of public education campaigns for earthquakes. Nathe (2000), for example, provided research-based advice for practitioners on such questions as what people need to know in order to actually change their behavior with respect to hazards, how to craft risk-related messages that address these informational needs, how best to convey scientific information to the lay public, and how to take advantage of the window of opportunity provided by a disaster. A recent report developed by social scientists affiliated with the three earthquake engineering research centers was designed specifically to provide guidance to earthquake safety advocates—including advice on risk communication and the design of strategies for educating the public (Alesch et al., 2004). Although derived from research on earthquakes, this guidance also incorporates findings from studies on many other types of hazards, and the principles outlined there can be applied to other natural, technological, and human-induced threats. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RESEARCH ON PRE-IMPACT HAZARD MANAGEMENT This section presents recommendations for future research that are organized in the order in which the corresponding topics were addressed in earlier sections of this chapter. The committee is cognizant of research in
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions areas other than disaster research that addresses similar issues but has not been cited in this chapter. However, much of this relevant literature has been addressed by hazards and disasters researchers in the work that is cited here. For example, research on protective action decision making for environmental hazards and disasters has been linked to research on persuasive communications, social conformity, behavioral decision theory, attitude-behavior theory, information seeking, health behavior, and innovation processes (Lindell and Perry, 2004). Thus, the research recommendations that follow have been formulated in light of such research even though it is not explicitly referenced. Recommendation 3.1: Research should be conducted to assess the degree to which hazard event characteristics affect physical and social impacts of disasters and, thus, hazard mitigation and preparedness for disaster response and recovery. This very broad recommendation is essentially a call for comprehensive tests of the model described in Figure 1.2. The practical value of research on this topic is to resolve the apparent conflict between the results of previous disaster research, which support an all-hazards approach, and the increased focus on specific hazards that has emerged in recent approaches to homeland security. Expedient hazard mitigation is arguably specific to a single hazard or group of hazards with similar effects, and emergency assessment arguably also has hazard-specific aspects. However, most aspects of population protection and incident management appear to apply to a wide variety of hazards. Research is needed to determine if this assumption is correct. Threat classifications will continue to play a significant role in the way researchers define events to study. However, few of the conclusions derived from crude threat classifications—the natural, technological, and willful classifications in particular—are based on empirical findings. It remains to be determined how human responses to intentional terrorist events differ from responses to natural or technological events. There has been much speculation that we cannot use past history to understand and predict how people will respond to events not previously experienced in this country. However, the likely responses to events such as suicide bombings, releases of biological agents, attacks with radiological dispersion devices, or releases of chemical warfare agents can be studied using careful empirical research before such disasters occur. Preliminary findings from the large number of post 9/11 investigations—not to mention studies of the 1993 World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings—suggest that some types of behavior are similar to those observed in other large-scale disasters. Thus, the absence of panic and the large amount of altruistic behavior should come as no surprise. Other types of behavior, such as changes in travel behavior and
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions product purchases, have not been studied in connection with disasters but have been observed in connection with stigmatized products such as cyanide-contaminated bottles of Tylenol and Alar-tainted apples. It is critical that comparative research efforts be made to document and understand variations in human response to a wide range of hazards and social conditions. Recommendation 3.2: Research should be conducted to refine the concepts involved in all three components (hazard exposure, physical vulnerability, and social vulnerability) of hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA). Research is needed to understand the ways in which appointed (e.g., emergency managers, land-use planners, public health officers) and elected officials and risk area residents interpret information about hazard exposure. Research is also needed to assess the ways in which these stakeholder groups interpret the structural vulnerability of the buildings in which they live and work. In addition to assessing risk perceptions, these studies also should assess the degree to which users can and do make use of the work that physical scientists and engineers produce on hazard exposure and structural vulnerability, respectively. Finally, research is needed to better understand the concept of social vulnerability. Following Cutter (2003a), Clark et al. (2000), Kasperson and Kasperson (2001), and the Heinz Center (2002), the first objective should be to understand the driving forces that determine the level of vulnerability and the scale (household, neighborhood, community, region) at which they are most pronounced. The second objective is to assess how current practices and public policies foster and transfer vulnerability both spatially and temporally. The third objective is to develop theoretical models and research methods that improve the prediction of future vulnerability. The fourth objective is to develop multihazard models that integrate hazard exposure and physical and social vulnerability. The fifth objective is to develop better metrics for comparing the relative levels of vulnerability from place to place and region to region, thus improving the linkage between the conceptualization of vulnerability and its measurement. The sixth objective is to improve visualizations of vulnerability and disseminate them to the practitioner and lay communities. The seventh objective is to develop a more robust understanding of the perception of vulnerability by various stakeholder groups (especially emergency managers, policy makers, and the public). The eighth objective is to develop rigorous and systematic methods for examining the similarities and differences in concepts, models, and exposure units of vulnerable groups, ecosystems, places, human-environment conditions, or coupled human-ecological systems.
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions Recommendation 3.3: Research should be conducted to identify better mechanisms for intervening into the dynamics of hazard vulnerability. Recent examinations have revealed an exponentially increasing toll of disaster losses (Mileti, 1999a) that are exacerbated, if not caused, by existing federal hazard management policies (Burby et al., 1999). Hazard insurance has been identified as a promising alternative, but even subsidized flood insurance has had limited success—at best. An even broader issue concerns the ways in which there is escalating hazard vulnerability in specific population segments—especially the poor (Blaikie et al., 1994). Research is needed to assess the degree to which socially vulnerable population segments might be “pushed” into geographical areas of high hazard exposure and structures that were built under outdated building codes and are poorly maintained. However, it will also be important to assess the degree to which socially advantaged population segments are “pulled” into exposed areas and vulnerable structures. In the latter case, more affluent groups might choose high hazard areas for their normal amenities (views of rivers and coasts can carry the risk of flood and wind hazard; mountain views are associated with the risk of landslide and wildfire hazard). In addition, they might choose older houses for their historic and aesthetic qualities. Research is needed to assess the relative importance of these “push” and “pull” forces in determining vulnerability to different hazards in all regions of the country. Recommendation 3.4: Research should be conducted to identify the factors that promote the adoption of more effective community-level hazard mitigation measures. Specifically, most NEHRP-supported social science research on hazard mitigation has focused on intergovernmental issues in land-use regulation. Such research has substantially increased the scientific understanding of these issues, but this is only a portion of the problem. More research is needed on other mitigation measures—community protection works and building construction practices. In connection with the latter, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute conducted a study of factors affecting building code compliance, but more research is needed on this topic (Hoover and Greene, 1996). In addition, more research is needed on strategies other than regulation. Such research should examine the joint effects of regulations, incentives, and risk communication on households and businesses, and should address new construction and retrofits to existing construction. Recommendation 3.5: Research should be conducted to assess the effectiveness of hazard mitigation programs. In particular, Project Impact was instituted during the 1990s but termi-
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions nated immediately after a change in political administration. Project Impact was widely touted during the Clinton administration for its effectiveness in promoting hazard mitigation. Nevertheless, it was canceled by the Bush administration. Prater (2001) noted that it would be extremely difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of Project Impact since the cities that received the greatest financial support were selected specifically because they had already demonstrated support for hazard mitigation. However, a recently released study by the National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council that quantified the future savings from three FEMA mitigation programs, including Project Impact, found that they provided significant net benefits to society (Multihazard Mitigation Council, 2005). FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program were the other programs examined. The study, which focused on eight communities in depth during the period of 1993–2003, was requested by Congress and considered earthquake, wind, and flood hazards. The conclusion was that mitigation is sufficiently cost-effective to warrant significant federal funding. Many such studies are needed to examine the benefits and costs of mitigation efforts for all types of hazards. Research is also needed on methods for assessing the full costs and benefits of mitigations, comparing cost-effectiveness of different types of mitigations, and better incorporating such methods and knowledge into a decision-making process that reflects the needs of all stakeholders. A principle intellectual tool relating public policy to social science research is benefit-cost analysis. In general, benefit-cost analysis of natural hazards policies has lagged. The need to adapt benefit-cost analysis to the study of catastrophic events has recently been highlighted by Posner (2004) and Sunstein (2002). Recommendation 3.6: Research should be conducted to identify the factors that promote the adoption of more effective emergency response preparedness measures. Previous studies have identified community hazard vulnerability, community resources, and especially, strategies and structures that emergency managers and other hazards professionals can adopt at low cost. Nonetheless, these studies have relied on very limited samples and need further work to replicate and extend their findings. Recommendation 3.7: Research should be conducted to assess the extent to which disaster research findings are being implemented in local emergency operations plans, procedures, and training. Anecdotal evidence suggests a very poor level of utilization, in part because of the lack of communication mechanisms between researchers (who customarily publish their findings in academic journals or present
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions them at academic conferences) and practitioners (who customarily seek information from peers or at professional conferences). Recommendation 3.8: Research is needed to identify the factors that promote the adoption of more effective disaster recovery preparedness measures. The idea of recovery preparedness is intuitively appealing and initial research is promising, but there is little research on the extent to which local jurisdictions have adopted this practice and the ways in which it is being implemented. There is some evidence that pre-impact recovery planning is successful in accelerating housing recovery and integrating hazard mitigation into the recovery process (Wu and Lindell, 2004), but much more research needs to be conducted in this area. Recommendation 3.9: Research should be conducted to develop better models to guide protective action decision making in emergencies. Research on evacuation decision making is needed for a wide range of hazards such as hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and terrorist incidents. In addition, research is needed to choose between evacuation and sheltering in-place during tsunamis, hazardous materials releases, and wildfires. Such research will require social scientists to collaborate with transportation planners and engineers on evacuation modeling and with mechanical engineers on shelter-in-place modeling. Specifically, research is needed to assess emergency managers’ and responders’ preparedness for protective action selection, warning, protective action implementation, impact zone access control and security, reception and care of victims, search and rescue, emergency medical care and morgues, and hazard exposure control. Research on preparedness for protective action selection should assess emergency managers’ beliefs about the relative merits of evacuation and sheltering in-place—including compliance by the risk area population. Research on preparedness for warning should address the choice of warning sources, warning mechanisms, and warning content and the reasons for choosing them. In addition, research should examine the extent to which emergency managers systematically consider the time required to disseminate warnings and the role of informal warning networks in the dissemination process. Finally, research on preparedness for protective action implementation should address 11 behavioral parameters that affect the time required to complete an evacuation (see Box 3.3). These variables can have a significant influence on ETEs, but evacuation analysts appear to be making unfounded assumptions about them in the absence of reliable data.
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions BOX 3.3 Evacutation Parameters Evacuation scope Evacuation route system capacity Hotel occupancy rate Risk area resident population Transit dependent resident population Number of persons per household Number of vehicles per household Number of trailers per household Evacuees’ PAR compliance/spontaneous evacuation Trip generation time distribution Evacuees’ utilization of the primary evacuation route system In addition, many areas of research on preparedness for incident management are necessary. There is a major need to assess the extent to which the Incident Command System (ICS) successfully addresses problems identified by decades of research on emergency response (Drabek et al., 1981; Kreps, 1989a, 1991b; Tierney et al., 2001). One obvious disparity between the ICS framework and social science research findings is the absence of any explicit mention of population protection. Recommendation 3.10: Research is needed on training and exercising for disaster response. There has been some research on emergency response planning, but there appears to have been little or no research on training and exercising for disaster response. This is an unfortunate oversight because disaster response often requires the performance of tasks that are difficult, critical, and because of the rarity of such events, infrequently performed. There is an extensive literature on team training in organizational psychology that Ford and Schmidt (2000) found to be quite relevant to disaster response, but there is no evidence that this literature has been addressed by disaster researchers or utilized by practitioners. Analysis of the role of training and exercising before Hurricane Katrina should provide needed insight (see Box 3.4 for discussion on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita). Recommendation 3.11: Research should be conducted to develop better models of hazard adjustment adoption and implementation by community organizations.
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions Specifically, these research needs can be organized in terms of methodological issues, as well as by the units of analysis discussed in the previous sections—households, businesses, government agencies, and neighborhood organizations. Recommendation 3.12: There is a continuing need for further research on hazard insurance. There must be some public constraints on private choices, but there is a delicate balance between the near term acceptability and the long-term effec- BOX 3.4 Research Implications of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita The impact of Hurricane Katrina underscores a number of the recommendations in this chapter. First, the failure to evacuate a significant number of transit dependent households during Katrina calls attention to the need for research to assess social vulnerability and its relation to hazard exposure and physical vulnerability. In addition, it also raises questions about the extent to which hazard/vulnerability analyses are conducted and used as a planning basis for developing local emergency operations plans. Second, the continued occupancy of areas below sea level that were protected only to the expected surge from a Category 3 storm raises questions about the dynamics of hazard vulnerability and the potential for more effective land-use practices and building construction practices to reduce this vulnerability. Future research should carefully examine the extent unfettered market forces reproduce previous vulnerability or, alternatively, whether new structural protection works, land-use practices, and building construction practices are integrated into the reconstruction process that will reduce this vulnerability. Third, Katrina revealed a conspicuous lack of coordination among agencies and levels of government during the emergency response. This suggests not only that planned multi-organizational networks (e.g., the National Incident Management System—NIMS) failed, but also that emergent multi-organizational networks failed to develop adequately. Research is needed to identify the organizational design and training problems that must be corrected to prevent future breakdowns. Hurricane Rita provided yet another example of widespread traffic jams resulting from the evacuation of urbanized coastal areas. A survey by the Houston Chronicle found that approximately 2.5 million households (approximately 50 percent of the population) in the eight-county metropolitan Houston area evacuated. The large number of evacuating households, 46 percent of whom took more than one vehicle, grossly exceeded the capacity of the evacuation routes. This caused massive queues that resulted in 40 percent of the evacuees taking more than 12 hours to reach their destinations and 10 percent taking more than 24 hours—even though 95 percent of them were traveling to locations that are normally within a four hour drive. Although spontaneous evacuation was incorporated into evacua-
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Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions tiveness of any hazard insurance program. Some questions address institutional relationships such as the methods by which regulators can monitor insurers’ catastrophe and insolvency risks and intervene to protect policy-holders. Other questions address individual decision processes, such as how insurance premiums can be structured to encourage people to avoid hazard-prone areas where appropriate, to purchase insurance if they do decide to live there, and to implement hazard mitigation practices that reduce the likelihood of losses. tion analyses conducted four years earlier, the over-response to Hurricane Rita greatly exceeded expectations because only 18 percent of the population of these counties is within officially designated hurricane risk areas. The excessive evacuation rate (327 percent of the projected rate) cannot be attributed solely to over warning because only 25 percent of the households reported receiving a mandatory evacuation order and another 12 percent reported receiving a voluntary evacuation order. Nor was it due only to misperception of risk because only 36 percent thought they were at either high or moderate risk from the hurricane. Thus, further research is needed to determine more clearly why so many households evacuated and if this over response is likely to occur in future hurricanes. In addition, the Hurricane Rita evacuation indicates a need for better methods of hurricane evacuation management. In particular, the evacuation analyses conducted for the state of Texas predicted that traffic queues could form in the hurricane surge zone south of Houston if a hurricane tracking directly west made a late change in direction to the north, as was the case for Hurricane Bret in 1999 and Hurricane Charley in 2004. Such a scenario could cause thousands of deaths if the evacuation were initiated less than 24 hours before landfall. During Hurricane Rita, the evacuation queues formed much earlier and about 20 miles farther inland than predicted in the Texas evacuation analyses because the storm tracked directly toward the Houston-Galveston area. Consequently, local officials initiated evacuations approximately 60 hours before landfall. Even though the late changing track scenario did not occur in Hurricane Rita, it might happen in a future hurricane. The likelihood of a major loss of life in this scenario could be reduced by better highway capacity management techniques such as contra flow. However, this technique is difficult to implement and can only increase capacity by 50-75 percent. Even greater safety can be provided by better evacuation demand management that uses more effective risk communication, improved structural protection works, better land-use practices, and better building construction practices to sharply reduce the number of evacuating vehicles. A significant amount of research will be needed to support the development of feasible hurricane hazard mitigation and emergency response preparedness plans.
Representative terms from entire chapter: