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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.
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    Meeting Communities Where Communities Meet: Borgharen and Itteren, Maastricht, The Netherlands
    (Disaster Research Center, 2011) Velotti, Lucia; Engel, Karen; Warner, Jeroen; Weijs, Bart
    This report focuses on the field trip carried out on May 23rd, 2011 to the parish (village) councils of Borgharen and Itteren in the Netherlands.
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    Catastrophe Characteristics and Their Impact on Critical Supply Chains: Problematizing Material Convergence and Management Following Hurricane Katrina
    (Disaster Research Center, 2010) Wachtendorf, Tricia; Brown, Bethany; Holguin-Veras, Jose; Ukkusuri, Satish
    The influx of supplies after disaster events helps to meet emergent needs of the impacted area and fill gaps in logistical plans. This same materiel convergence, however, can pose a challenging social problem as organizations must contend with difficulties in supply acquisition, reception, transport, storage, and distribution. In this paper, we use Hurricane Katrina, which impacted the Gulf Coast of the United States in 2005, as a case study to examine the ways in which catastrophic events generate unique conditions that impact how materiel convergence presents itself and must be managed. To examine this social problem, we use E.L. Quarantelli’s (2006) six characteristics of catastrophe to explain how the magnitude and scope of the event generated social conditions that had bearing on the movement of critical supplies to, from and within the impacted zone. Data analysis of the materiel convergence and management problem revealed a seventh catastrophe characteristic not previously identified in the literature: mass and extended out-migration of people. Findings are based on qualitative interviews with key organizational actors involved in response efforts.
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    Objects of Value: Addressing Emergency and Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery Issues in Collections
    (Disaster Research Center, 2009) Young, Pat
    This paper explores the social value in addressing emergency and disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery as they relate to collections. The concept of cultural heritage collections is explored in this context along with informational and resource collections typically found in library settings. A discussion of the past and present climate of attention to emergency and disaster related issues in collections is presented along with two case studies of organizations within Delaware that endeavor to address these issues.
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    Solidarity Trumps Catastrophe? An Empirical and Analytical Analysis of Post-Tsunami Media in Two Western Nations
    (Disaster Research Center, 2009) Letukas, Lynn; Olofsson, Anna; Barnshaw, John
    This paper explores how newspaper accounts in Sweden and the United States, two geographically non-impacted nations, frame the short term response and recovery phase of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Utilizing 594 newspaper articles from four of the largest print media sources in Sweden (n= 370) and the United States (n= 224) we code for social solidarity, donor relief, geographic location as well as emergent themes salient in explaining how social solidarity is fostered and maintained. We find that social solidarity in geographically non-impacted nations was fostered through an intensively narrow and nativist focus and maintained through a collective response of assistance. Findings support Durkheim’s ([1893] 1997) theory of social solidarity but go beyond prior descriptive theoretical accounts by offering a predictive theory of social solidarity.
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    Past, Present and Future: Building an Interdisciplinary Disaster Research Center on a Half-Century of Social Science Disaster Research
    (Disaster Research Center, 2008) McNeil, Sue; Quarantelli, E. L.
    Systematic social science disaster research began in the 1950s. The Disaster Research Center (DRC), the first social science research center in the world devoted to the study of disasters, was established at Ohio State University in 1963 and moved to the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware in 1985. DRC has played an important role over the last 50 years having conducted over 660 field studies. With this firm foundation in the social sciences, DRC is now evolving into an interdisciplinary research center. This paper reviews some of the field and survey research conducted by DRC on group, organizational and community preparation for, response to, and recovery from natural and technological disasters and other community wide crises, and then explores how this fits with DRC's evolving role in interdisciplinary research and education.
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    The Symbolic Uses of Disaster and the Lessons of Disaster for Individual and Social Potential
    (Disaster Research Center, 1989) Dynes, Russell R.
    Paper prepared for presentation at a University lecture, Shippensburg University, October 26, 1989.
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    Thorns of Seismic Safety: Risk Mitigation Policy
    (Disaster Research Center, 2008) Aguirre, Benigno E.; Sousa e Silva, Delta
    This paper's aim is to identify and discuss some societal problems that emerge in risk mitigation policy processes associated with earthquake, using the experience of California with SB 1953, the state building code. The intent is to bring attention to the embeddedness of mitigation efforts in social processes and the often unexpected and unintended effects of such efforts. The California experience with SB1953 is an excellent example of how no mitigation action is possible without formal efforts at "changing the rules" by willing policy leaders and legislators who may not be able to estimate the unwelcome impact of their well intended actions, in this case the mandated retrofitting of hospital buildings. Earthquake mitigation policies imply the involvement of diverse stakeholders, such as owners and tenants, seismic experts, government officials and planners, land speculators and developers. Each of these categories of people has specific interests. Even when they share the values of "life safety" they may react differently to the social and economic rehabilitation costs. To understand these differences in perception of various categories of people involved in mitigation, in this paper we explore the logic of building retrofitting from the perspective of hospital administrators, to show that it is an important albeit only partial determinant of the ability of hospitals to perform their services. There is considerable uncertainty as to what is the most efficacious way for hospitals to invest money to protect against earthquakes, and doubt that structural retrofitting solutions are cost effective. There is also consensus among hospital administrators and managers that the vulnerability of their hospitals is not solely a matter of seismically unsound buildings but also results in part from the specific characteristics of the hazard and their linkages to the social organizations of communities. Hospitals in the sample did non-structural seismic retrofitting of their physical plant to improve the earthquake-related safety of buildings, and complied with seismic code requirements for all new buildings, but for lack of financial resources largely ignored seismic structural retrofitting of existing buildings. Hospitals incorporate seismic retrofitting as part of their programs, but they optimize rather than maximize, doing what they can with the resources they have available. All mandated disaster mitigation efforts should involve a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the multiple effects such laws could produce, with emphasis on the institutions that would be more directly impacted by the laws and regulations, as well as remedies to the collateral damage the mitigation could create.
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    Organizational Innovations in Crisis-Relevant Groups
    (Disaster Research Center, 1971) Kreps, Gary A.
    The following reports from the first of a two-phase study of change in crisis-relevant organizations brought about by the possibility or occurrence of civil disorder. Based upon some preliminary observations of selected urban police and fire departments, this first phase summarizes a middle range theoretical model developed in an effort to capture the process of change when charter is threatened in an indeterminant environment. The second phase (presently ongoing) empirically examines and refines the model. As stated, the model is based on studies of change in crisis-relevant organizations as adaptations to the problems posed by the possibility of civil unrest. Organizationally, we suggest that change can be conceptualized as an intelligence processing activity, i.e., bringing technical and political information to bear upon the definition and elaboration of problems and the execution of solutions to meet these problems. The concepts, assumptions, and basic and derived propositions are presented in sequential fashion. This will be followed by some brief discussion of the conceptual logic of the model.
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    Emergency Planning for Nuclear Plants
    (Disaster Research Center, 1993) Dynes, Russell R.
    Planning for emergencies is not new. One could argue that Noah was one of the first emergency planners since he gave considerable attention to what might be needed in an emergency. He was able to act, on the basis of that planning, quite effectively. One would have to admit that he had a rather unique warning system but it was effective. Noahs in modern society have to give greater attention not just to floods but to a wider range of threats and emergencies. Emergencies, simply stated, are those events which cannot be dealt with by ordinary measures and routines. And the notion of planning for “natural” emergencies has more recently been extended to a variety of technological risks which are present in modern society. A good case can be made that disaster events derived from technological risks will become the “natural” disasters of the future, TMI, Bhopal, Sevesto, and Love Canal have become names which are recognized around the world while the effects of Hurricane “What’s His or Her Name” are often quickly forgotten. This paper addresses various issues pertaining to emergency planning in the context of nuclear plants.
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    Comments on the Integration of Civil Defense into Local Government
    (Disaster Research Center, 1967) Quarantelli, E. L.
    Statement prepared on March 21, 1967 as member of the National Academy of Sciences Advisory Committee on Civil Defense.
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    The Waterborne Evacuation of Lower Manhattan on September 11: A Case of Distributed Sensemaking
    (Disaster Research Center, 2006) Kendra, James; Wachtendorf, Tricia
    Sensemaking is the study of how individuals and organizations understand what is happening around them. The sensemaking paradigm provides a frame for understanding the gathering and comprehension of information throughout an organization and the capacities for action that are coupled, cause and effect, to that comprehension. Typically, researchers look at sensemaking in a single organization. Recently, interest has developed in distributed sensemaking, with multiple participants discovering meaning and capacities for action in their environment and in their emerging relationships. This paper examines a case of distributed sensemaking, the waterborne evacuation of Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 in which several hundred thousand commuters left the island in an improvised fleet of assorted harbor craft. Virtually no prior planning existed for this event; hence, the participants collectively derived norms and meaning from their circumstances. The paper relates accepted features of sensemaking to this event, showing how these features varied from their usually-understood forms in order to yield sensemaking that was distributed across geographic and organizational space.
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    Societal Factors Involved on Risk Mitigation Policy: Challenges to Seismic Retrofitting of Hospital Buildings
    (Disaster Research Center, 2008) Sousa e Silva, Delta; Aguirre, Benigno E.
    This paper discusses the recurrent problems that emerge in the seismic risk mitigation policy process. It offers a definition of risk mitigation, and examines its application to earthquake threat, particularly the challenges to mitigation adoption and implementation processes. California experience with the application of legislation (SB1953) mandating seismic structural and non-structural retrofitting of hospital facilities illustrates these problems and also shows how stakeholders, who are supposed to act in accordance with the law, have adjusted to the new regulatory environment. This case is illustrative of how well-intended rules may fail in their applicability because of a failure in anticipating undesirable and unintended outcomes. It brings attention to the embeddedness of mitigation efforts on institutional processes, and the importance of taking into account the specificities of target-areas and organizations when investing on seismic safety rehabilitation and retrofitting.
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    A Brief Note on Disaster Restoration, Reconstruction and Recovery: A Comparative Note Using Post Earthquake Observations
    (Disaster Research Center, 2008) Dynes, Russell R.; Quarantelli, E. L.
    Twenty general observations about disaster restoration, reconstruction and recovery are presented with attention primarily on what happens after earthquakes. Generalizations were derived from the empirical literature on post impact periods of disasters. The overall conclusion is that disaster reconstruction is part of the more general process of recovery, which in turn is rooted in the social structure of the impacted society.
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    Problematical Aspects of the Computer Based Information/Communication Revolution with Respect to Disaster Planning and Crisis Managing
    (Disaster Research Center, 2007) Quarantelli, E. L.
    This paper focuses on a number of major problematical or negative aspects of the computer based information/communication revolution of the last two decades or so. While much of what we write is equally applicable to many other areas of life where computers are central elements, we confine ourselves to the implications for disaster planning and crisis managing.