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Emergency Management Case Study

FEMA conducts grant effectiveness case studies to demonstrate how states and urban areas across the country use a mix of homeland security non-disaster grant programs to improve preparedness. FEMA chose case study locations to ensure geographic diversity and to link grant investments with recent events.

Success stories from each location are shared below.

California

California has received over $3 billion in Federal homeland security grants since 2006. Recently, the state has used grant funds to develop and implement a regional planning approach for the provision of disaster housing in the event of a catastrophic earthquake.

  • Virtual Port System: The Port of Long Beach (POLB) is the second busiest port in the United States, with more than $180 billion in trade moving through the port annually and covering 3,500 acres of land and 4,600 acres of water. To enhance port security operations, the POLB developed Virtual Port—a customized mapping and monitoring platform that integrates real-time data from multiple sources. It provides situational awareness of port operations and facilitates rapid incident response across multiple agencies and jurisdictions.

  • California Common Operating Picture for Threat Awareness: Developed through the Statewide Risk Management Program in collaboration with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and eight California Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) regions, the California Common Operating Picture (Cal COP) for Threat Awareness addresses the statewide need for storing and sharing critical infrastructure information and enhances situational threat awareness.

  • County of San Diego Cyber Disruption Response Team: In 2013, the County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services (San Diego OES) convened cybersecurity, law enforcement, and emergency management subject matter experts to establish a regional Cyber Disruption Response Team (CDRT). The CDRT is responsible for managing the region’s response to cyber disruptions as defined in San Diego OES’s cyber disruption response plans. In a 2015 full-scale cybersecurity exercise, the CDRT successfully responded to a cyber disruption that affected regional power infrastructure.

Colorado

  • Amateur Radio Volunteers Protect Community Water Supply: Colorado’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) assists in establishing and maintaining emergency communications during disasters. In response to historic flooding in 2013, 150 ARES volunteers supported operations at a critical wastewater facility.
  • Terrorism Liaison Officer and the Community Awareness Program: Through the Terrorism Liaison Officer program and Community Awareness Program, the Colorado Information Analysis Center trains local law enforcement officers, private sector partners, and the general public to recognize and report terrorism-related information.

  • Regional Explosives Unit Protects Police Officers: The South Central Regional Explosives Unit responds to hundreds of explosive-related calls in 33 Colorado counties each year, including improvised explosive devices, active shooters, booby-trapped drug facilities, and suspicious packages

Louisiana

Since 2005, Louisiana has received over $380 million in Federal homeland security grants, investing funds in interoperable communications, partnerships to enhance disaster response and recovery, and critical infrastructure protection:

Michigan

Michigan has received over $435 million in preparedness grant funding since 2006. Michigan has used a portion of these grants to enhance response capabilities, including an innovative project to use an unmanned aircraft system to support state response teams.

  • Unmanned Aircraft System: Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology enhances Michigan’s abilities to conduct real-time assessments during anincident and collect detailed post-incident information for recovery activities. The Michigan State Police (MSP) purchased the UAS with $162,000 in Homeland Security Grant Program funds and have used the UAS during real-world incidents, exercises, and trainings.
  • Michigan Cyber Initiatives: Michigan’s emergency managers and state officials are building public-private partnerships and using grant funding to enhance the state’s cyber response capabilities.

Minnesota

From 2006 to 2014, Minnesota received over $298 million in preparedness grant funding. The state has used a share of this grant funding to invest in innovative cybersecurity projects, including an effort to enhance local jurisdictions’ ability to monitor and detect malicious cyber activity.

  • Statewide Security Monitoring Initiative: Recognizing the vulnerability of government information technology (IT) networks to threats from malicious actors, MN.IT—the state’s IT agency—created the Statewide Security Monitoring Initiative (SSMI) to increase IT network security for counties and cities across Minnesota.

New York City

From 2006 to 2014, New York City received over $2.1 billion in preparedness and public health grant funding. A number of factors, such as its population density and large number of international visitors, contribute to the city’s heightened risk for the spread of communicable diseases. Accordingly, the city has invested heavily in improving infectious disease preparedness and response capabilities; Ebola virus disease was no exception. Through March 2015, New York City agencies spent $21 million responding to the virus. Federal preparedness and public health grant-supported projects in the areas of pre-incident coordination, preparedness activities, and response lessened the financial burden and helped New York City effectively address its 16 suspected cases (including one positive case) of Ebola virus disease since 2014.

  • Bio Isolation Transfer Cards: Following the March 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa, New York City (NYC) agencies began developing plans and protocols for handling potential EVD cases. As part of this effort, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) collaborated with city hospitals and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to develop Bio Isolation Transfer (BIT) cards—documents embodying standard operating procedures (SOPs) for safely transporting and handing off individuals suspected of having contracted EVD (known as “persons under investigation,” or PUIs).

  • New York City Community Outreach Teams: When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first-ever case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the United States, New York City (NYC) quickly acted to educate the public about EVD and its associated risks. In support of this effort, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) deployed community outreach teams to distribute informational materials and engage the public in discussions about EVD.

  • Active Monitoring System and Call Center: New York City (NYC) began monitoring individuals returning from countries affected by Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the fall of 2014, in response to a directive from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using almost $1.7 million in Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds (including the EVD suplemental) and $3.5 million in Urban Areas Security Initiative funds, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) quickly adapted existing structures to stand up an active monitoring system.

Oklahoma

Between 2006 and 2013, Oklahoma received over $146 million in preparedness grant funding. Oklahoma faces a diverse set of threats and hazards, including tornadoes, wildfires, ice storms, and floods:

  • Oklahoma’s Regional Response System: The Regional Response System (RRS) provides all-hazards response capabilities throughout the state within two hours of an incident.

  • Oklahoma’s School Safety Initiatives: The Safe Schools 101 and the Oklahoma School Security Institute (OSSI) programs protect schools from the dangers of tornadoes and enhance school security and response plans.

Washington

Since 2006, Washington has received nearly $469 million in preparedness grant funding. Washington implemented a regional approach to managing homeland security investments and improving preparedness:

  • Northwest Regional Aviation Unit: Protecting the Puget Sound: The Seattle Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) established Northwest Regional Aviation (NWRA)—an aviation consortium that protects the Puget Sound area from terrorism and responds to large-scale disasters. The NWRA saved 12 survivors during the first three hours of the Snohomish County mudslide on March 22, 2014.

  • Project Safe Haven: Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Systems on Washington State’s Pacific Coast: Washington State’s Pacific coast faces the threat of large-scale earthquakes and tsunamis. The project provides residents and visitors in coastal population centers a means of seeking safety without having to travel considerable distance to natural high ground.

  • Regional Collaboration: Interoperable Communications in Eastern Washington: Since 2004, Washington State Homeland Security Region 9 has prioritized investments in interoperable radio communications for all first responders, regardless of discipline. Regional partners collaborated to establish an interoperable communications system with increased coverage that has improved incident response across all levels of government for the region.

Colorado has invested over $180 million in Federal homeland security grants since 2006. Colorado’s emergency 

preparedness initiatives target terrorism prevention and all-hazards disaster response:

Features

  • The only emergency management casebook on the market, written for both practitioners and for use on emergency management courses
  • Arranged chronologically, the reader is encouraged to evaluate from every angle more than 50 real-life global case studies, with topics including natural disasters, industrial accidents, epidemics, and terrorist attacks
  • A series of questions throughout each case study invites the reader to think critically about the problem at hand, to elect a best course of action, and to then see the results of the decisions that were made – applying learned theoretical emergency management techniques in a safe test environment
  • Can be used in group project settings, as individual homework assignments in training courses for first responders, law enforcement and government employees, or to complement existing emergency management textbooks in Public Administration, Public Management, and Public Affairs programs.

Summary

Designed to enable practitioners and students to evaluate a variety of real-life emergencies from every angle, this new edition of Case Studies in Disaster Response and Emergency Management provides clear, thorough, step-by-step descriptions of more than 50 major disasters or emergencies. Arranged chronologically, the case studies involve incidents from around the globe, with topics including natural disasters, industrial accidents, epidemics, and terrorist attacks. A series of questions throughout each case study encourages the reader to think critically about the problem at hand, to select a course of action, and to then see the results of the decisions that were made.  This hands-on approach invites practitioners and students to apply learned theoretical emergency management techniques in a safe test environment.

Case Studies in Disaster Response and Emergency Management, 2e

provides readers with the most modern and current case studies in disaster response and emergency management and can be used in group project settings, as individual homework assignments in training courses for first responders, law enforcement, and government employees, or to complement existing emergency management textbooks in Public Administration, Public Management, and Public Affairs programs. 

Table of Contents

Foreword by Allen Barnes

Foreword by Ted Benavides

Foreword by Mark Hall-Patton

Preface

Chapter One: Guidelines and General Information for Public Officials and Administrators

Section 1: Natural Disasters

Chapter Two: Case Studies: Disasters from Natural Forces – Fires

Chapter Three: Disasters from Natural Causes – Hurricanes

Chapter Four: Case Studies: Disasters from Natural Forces – Floods

Chapter Five: Case Studies: Disasters from Natural Forces – Tornadoes

Chapter Six: Disasters from Natural Forces – Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Chapter Seven: Disasters from Natural Sources – Other Weather, Animal, and Viral Phenomena

Section 2: Man-Made Disasters

Chapter Eight: Man-Made Disasters – Industrial Accidents

Chapter Nine: Case Studies: Man-Made Disasters – Transportation Accidents

Chapter Ten: Case Studies: Man-Made Disasters – Structural Failure

Section 3: Terrorism and Criminal Acts

Chapter Eleven: Disasters from Criminal or Terrorist Acts – Bombings and Explosives

Chapter Twelve: Case Studies: Disasters from Criminal or Terrorist Acts – Shootings and Riots

Chapter Thirteen: Disasters from Criminal or Terrorist Acts: Biological and Chemical Attacks

Section 4: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Disasters

Chapter Fourteen: Case Studies: Man-Made Disasters – Nuclear, Biotoxins, or Chemicals

Section 5: Disasters Occurring in Museums, Libraries and Archives

Chapter Fifteen: Case Studies: Disasters Occurring at Museums, Libraries and Archives

Section 6: Final Thoughts

Chapter Sixteen: Conclusion

Index

Author(s) Bio

Nicolas A. Valcik is Director of Institutional Research at West Virginia University, USA and is author of several books including Practical Human Resources for Public Managers (2011), Hazardous Materials Compliance for Public Research Organizations (2013), Non-Profit Organizations: Real Issues for Public Administrators (2015), and Strategic Planning and Decision-Making for Public and Non-Profit Organizations (2016).

Paul E. Tracy

is Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Criminology and Justice Studies program at University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA.