Article Index

Routinized Reporting of Technological Accidents: Television Coverage of the Chernobyl Disaster

Authors
Lee Wilkins, Philip Patterson
Issue
March 1988
Description
An analysis of the US television network coverage of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl reveals that the networks relied more heavily on popular myths than scientific fact in reporting the story. The researchers found that three myths permeated the coverage: Soviets as technological bumblers, Soviets as uncaring for human life and Soviets as liars. Using Chernobyl as a case study, the authors suggest that while disasters are unpredictable, media behavior in reporting them is constant. This behavior will include treating the disaster as a human drama, using stereotypes to tell the story economically, focusing heavily on the technological cause, depending on familiar sourcing patterns and finally, turning the story into a moral fable. The authors suggest that this routine helps to \\"tame\\" the story for the networks\\' purposes.

Rural Community Disaster Resiliency: Self-Organizing Collective Action among Farmworkers in Central Florida

Authors
Fernando I. Rivera, Naim Kapucu and Christopher Hawkins
Issue
August 2015
Description
In this article we examined how voluntary and self-organizing efforts contributed to disaster resiliency in a rural community in Central Florida. We analyzed data from a focus group with farmworkers in Central Florida to investigate how self-organizing collective action can help develop more resilient communities in socially vulnerable populations. We identified three major themes within our coding scheme: past disaster experiences, self-organizing collective action, and challenges to self-organizing collective action and resilience. The results indicated that past disaster experiences provided an opportunity for these farmworkers to mobilize their social capital and network partnerships to self-organize and develop disaster resilience. The findings indicated that self-organizing collective action could be effective in creating disaster resilience, even in socially vulnerable populations. Nonetheless, the results also indicated certain challenges to self-organizing collective action and resilience such as: language barriers, an anti-immigrant sentiment, poor relations with law enforcement, and lack of work. These challenges are constant reminders that the goal of creating truly disaster resilient communities cannot be reached if these conditions are not lessen or eradicated.

Safety Officer Accounts of Earthquake Preparedness at Riverside Industrial Sites

Authors
Hugh D. Barlow
Issue
November 1993
Description
Safety Officer Accounts of Earthquake Preparedness at Riverside Industrial Sites

SARA Title III and Community Hazards Planning: The Case of the Chemcial Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program

Authors
David Lewis Feldman
Issue
March 1993
Description
This paper provides an overview and analysis of the impact of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986\\'s Title III provisions on community participation, risk communication, and other elements of effective emergency preparedness for response to accidental hazardous chemical releases. It employs the US Army\\'s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program as a case study and applies conclusions from this case to other programs.

School Construction as Catalysts for Community Change: Evidence from Safer School Construction Projects in Nepal

Authors
Rebekah Paci-Green, Bishnu Pandey
Issue
November 2016
Description
Organizations in Nepal have retrofitted weak school buildings using earthquake-resistant construction techniques for over a decade. Some of these safer school projects have been carried out as technical interventions only, while others have been embedded within programs of community engagement, masonry training, and oversight. Following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, 12 school sites were assessed through visual inspection and a series of community interviews to understand the impacts of safer school construction projects on local perceptions and construction practice. Compared to communities that had received technical intervention only, or no intervention at all, communities that had experienced community engagement were more knowledgeable of earthquake-resistant construction techniques and reported more adoption of these techniques in housing construction. They also evidenced more trust in the school building, using it as shelter following the earthquake. Community engagement can amplify the benefit of future school retrofit and reconstruction projects, simultaneously building social and infrastructure capital.

Searching, Sharing, Acting: How Audiences Assess and Respond to Social Media Messages about Hazards

Authors
Fred Vultee, Sadaf R. Ali, Christine M. Stover and Denise M. Vultee
Issue
August 2014
Description
This study uses a controlled experiment to examine the decisions social media users make in large- and small-scale emergencies. Drawing on a diverse sample from an urban research university, it finds that hazard message features such as proximity and authority affect social media users’ perceptions about the salience and sufficiency of the information they receive, as well as the computer-mediated communication choices they make after their exposure to such messages. Results suggest that layering messages across new and old media platforms can offer promising results for emergency communicators using social media tools as well as for traditional mass media positioning themselves in the new media environment.

Setting Boundaries for Research on Organizational Capacity to Evacuate

Authors
Susan A. Murty, David F. Gillespie
Issue
August 1991
Description
A theoretical model of factors contributing to evacuation capacity is examined in relation to boundary setting criteria used to delimit populations. A population of disaster response organizations is delimited, and then the boundaries of four sub-populations are set according to four different delimiting criteria. The model is tested on the total population and the four sub-populations. Strikingly different results are obtained for the various populations. These disparate findings are the result of confounding the delimiting variable with the independent variables in the model. An expanded theoretical model which includes one of the delimiting variables provides a solution. Recommendations concerning explicit use of boundary setting criteria are made. In particular, it is suggested that a delimiting criterion should not be associated with the dependent variable under study, and that social service organizations should be included in research on evacuation and disaster management.

Shelter in the Storm: A Battered Women’s Shelter and Catastrophe

Authors
Pamela J. Jenkins, Tricia Wachtendorf, Bethany L. Brown
Issue
August 2010
Description
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, causing devastation that would last a lifetime. Indeed, the communities along the Gulf Coast were dealt a critical blow. In the midst of this destruction, the only shelter for battered women in Orleans Parish was flooded and just days later, caught fire and burned to the ground. The director and staff evacuated all of the residents before hurricane landfall, yet returned almost immediately to navigate through the destruction and find ways to offer services to women living with intimate partner violence and also those living through the community-wide crisis of Hurricane Katrina. The storm, the flooding, and the damage would require the organization’s staff to think about how to create refuge and safety during and after a catastrophe. In this paper, we use in-depth interviews, document analysis and direct observation to document and analyze how Katrina’s devastation changed the direction, scope, and goals of New Orleans Shelter. The lessons New Orleans Shelter learned during this catastrophe may be useful for shelters in future disasters.

Shelter Life After Hurricane Katrina: A Visual Analysis of Evacuee Perspectives

Authors
Brenda Phillips, Patsilu Reeves, Lynn Blinn-Pike
Issue
November 2006
Description
Nine survivors of Hurricane Katrina, who were residents in two Red Cross shelters, provided the researchers with a total of 90 Polaroid photographs of their lives in their respective disaster shelters. After they completed the photographic activity, they participated in semi-structured interviews about their individual photos. The following research questions were addressed to discover the emic (insider) perspectives of the shelter residents: a) what features of shelter life did the residents photograph and discuss; and b) what needs were evident in their photos and interviews? The results showed that the residents had particular needs related to a) privacy, b) interpersonal relationships, c) security, and d) outreach. The discussion covers recommendations for using visual research methodologies to understand the needs of shelter residents and suggests practical implications for shelter managers and other professionals serving those displaced by disaster.

Simulation Evacuation Modeling of a Commercial Shopping District to Safe Zones

Authors
Qingbiao Ni and Manuel D. Rossetti
Issue
March 2013
Description
Commercial shopping districts offer challenges for emergency planners to plan for the evacuation of short-notice emergency events. This paper illustrates a simulation analysis of the evacuation a large commercial shopping district, which focuses on street and parking lot vehicle traffic. Microscopic simulation is used to track the behaviors of vehicles evacuating from parking lots to safe zones. Evacuation scenarios investigate evacuation strategies by varying factors involving the occupancy rate of parking lots, inbound traffic control, and destination assignment policy. The performance of the evacuating vehicles is measured by an evacuation risk profile including the most problematic parking lots in terms of evacuation time. A trade-off analysis illustrates the effectiveness of the evacuation strategies in terms of costs, time, and risk. The simulation results indicate that an optimized destination assignment policy can alleviate traffic congestion and reduce total evacuation time.