Preliminary Papers

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    Contemporary Uses of Sociological Research: Sociology of Disaster
    (Disaster Research Center, 1992) Dynes, Russell R.; Drabek, Thomas
    The value of sociological research is dependent on the cultural conceptualization of an issue and its public policy implications. For most of human history, disasters have been considered collective misfortunes but not objects of study, or even issues of public policy. However, much of recorded history is structured around disaster and, in literature, disaster has been used as a metaphor to explain universal human actions. Usually, disasters have been considered “acts of God”, conveniently outside social systems, although certain consequences of disaster had important social implications. Those in power often perceived disasters as weakening social systems which made rulers vulnerable to conquest from outsiders. Disaster, then, had implications for maintaining social order. There was also concern for disaster “victims”. Even if God were responsible, his randomness did not necessarily coincide with worldly notions of justice. Thus unjustly affected were deserving of compassion. Even in the colonial period, disaster victims deserved relief. This paper explores these and other related themes and concepts.
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    Patterns of Looting and Property Norms: Conflict and Consensus in Community Emergencies
    (Disaster Research Center, 1968) Dynes, Russell R.; Quarantelli, E. L.
    In this paper we shall attempt to do three things: (1) to contrast two rather different perspectives on massive looting behavior in community emergencies; (2) to note differences in patterns of looting in conflict and in consensus situations (i.e., between civil disturbances and natural disasters); and (3) to advance an explanation of looting in terms of changes in certain crucial group norms, particularly those pertaining to property, at times of major crises. We shall depict some of the more easily observable characteristics of looting behavior in the last several years. and try to suggest that they can not be too easily understood in terms of being primarily symptoms of more basic individual conditions or simply a failure of persons to incorporate or maintain surrounding societal values. What is involved, from our point of view, is normative group behavior which is far more instrumental than expressive in form. We shall attempt to document this not only by looking at civil disorders but also at the pattern that looting behavior assumes in another kind of major community emergency. i.e., natural disasters. The most parsimonious common explanation f or the looting behavior in the two situations is that the usual group norms which govern property in both instances change. Because one type of these community emergencies is a consensus and the other type is a conflict situation, the resulting pattern of looting behavior is different, but nevertheless the major explanatory factor is to be found in group not in individual characteristics.
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    Access and Functional Needs
    (FEMA Higher Education Project, 2014) Brittingham, Rochelle; Goepfert, Mary
    This chapter from the book, "Critical Issues in Disaster Science and Management: A Dialogue Between Researchers and Practitioners," edited by Joseph E. Trainor and Tony Subbio, discusses the unique needs of people with disabilities as they pertain to emergency management and disaster planning. It is a unique dialogue between an academic expert in the field and a practitioner expert and works to identify and overcome the differences in the two approaches to the subject.
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    The Challenges for Unconventional Response Agencies in Serving Haitian Earthquake Survivors: The Needs in ICS Training and Practices
    (Disaster Research Center, 2011) Kelly, Joshua; Arlikatti, Sudha; Kendra, James; Nigg, Joanne; Torres, Manuel
    The Haiti earthquake of January 12th, 2010 provided a unique opportunity to further our knowledge concerning “mass invacuation” planning processes. No systematic research assessment has been undertaken to look at how host communities manage the process of receiving evacuees, providing immediate mass care, and resettling displaced individuals. This research focuses on the initial phase of the evacuation/invacuation process of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, from the day after the earthquake (January 13, 2010) through April 2011. The data has been collected as part of an NSF-RAPID grant, a collaborative proposal between the University of Delaware and the University of North Texas, organizations are the units of analysis, and we have used qualitative interview techniques as our data collection method. Reviewing our data has highlighted the challenges faced by public sector emergency managers as they interacted with and attempted to integrate unconventional emergency response organizations into the Incident Command System. Lindell and Perry (2007) state that in order for planning and preparedness for emergencies to be effective, stakeholders at every level need to be included. Further findings may suggest how alternative emergency response organizations can plan and train for mass evacuation events or how conventional emergency responders can integrate them within the ICS modular structure. Thus, organizations that seldom play a role in disaster events may be better integrated into disaster response functions when necessary. Overall, disasters are likely to occur more often in the future, leading to more mass evacuations and increasingly complex responsibilities for organizations that, in the past, may not have played a role (Quarentelli 1990). In order to meet the needs of future invacuees/evacuees, public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders need to find new solutions towards collaboration and training while simultaneously meeting current NIMS and ICS requirements.
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    Explaining Support for Seismic Loss-reduction Measures: Data from a Household Survey in the East Bay Region of Northern California
    (Disaster Research Center, 2001) Tierney, Kathleen J.; Sheng, Xueweng
    A willingness-to-pay framework is used to assess public support for further enhancing the seismic resistance of elements in the built environment. Using data from a survey of 727 households in the Oakland/East Bay Region, a series of models are tested in order to identify factors associated with willingness to pay to further strengthen public safety buildings, utility lifelines, transportation lifelines, schools, and residential and commercial buildings. A substantial portion of the sample expressed a willingness to pay at least something to strengthen one or more of these structures and systems, with public safety buildings and utility systems receiving the highest priority. Although a variety of factors influenced willingness to invest in strengthening different types of structures and systems, some factors did show a consistent influence across models. Those factors include gender, education, trust in government (particularly the State of California), and having experienced property damage and other problems following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Findings provide insight into which elements in the built environment community residents value most and help identify pockets of support for stronger earthquake safety measures in a seismically-vulnerable region.