Facing the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States

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Overview

Facing the Unexpected presents the wealth of information derived from disasters around the world over the past 25 years. The authors explore how these findings can improve disaster programs, identify remaining research needs, and discuss disaster within the broader context of sustainable development.

How do different people think about disaster? Are we more likely to panic or to respond with altruism? Why are 110 people killed in a Valujet crash considered disaster victims while the 50,000 killed annually in traffic accidents in the U.S. are not? At the crossroads of social, cultural, and economic factors, this book examines these and other compelling questions.

The authors review the influences that shape the U.S. governmental system for disaster planning and response, the effectiveness of local emergency agencies, and the level of professionalism in the field. They also compare technological versus natural disaster and examine the impact of technology on disaster programs.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1 Conceptualizing Disasters and Their Impacts 1
The Hazard Cycle and Disasters 4
Classic Approaches to Defining and Studying Disasters 8
The Natural Hazards Perspective 11
Conceptual Debates in the Study of Disasters 12
Emerging Theoretical Perspectives 16
Linking Hazards and Disaster Research 22
Organization of This Book 24
2 Getting Ready: Research on Disaster Preparedness 27
Household Preparedness 29
Organizational Preparedness 46
Interorganizational and Community Disaster Preparedness 58
Preparedness at the State and National Levels 63
Research Issues and Unanswered Questions 69
3 Moving Into Action: Individual and Group Behavior in Disasters 81
Household Emergency Response 83
Emergency Shelter and Housing 100
Other Individual and Group Behavior During and Immediately Following Disaster Impact 106
Issues for Future Research 118
4 Meeting the Challenge: Organizational and Governmental Response in Disasters 121
Response Activities of Emergency Management and Other Crisis-Relevant Organizations 123
Private-Sector Organizations in Disasters 131
Interorganizational and Community Response 143
Supra-Local and National Response 153
Issues for Future Research 155
5 Factors Influencing Disaster Preparedness and Response 157
Factors Associated with the Extent and Quality of Preparedness and Response Activities 157
Sociocultural and Sociodemographic Factors 167
Disaster Agent Characteristics 188
Concluding Observations 197
6 The Wider Context: Societal Factors Influencing Emergency Management Policy and Practice 199
The Intergovernmental and Policy Context 200
Cultural Influences on Hazard- and Disaster-Related Behavior 212
Economic Factors 220
Technological Change 224
Professionalization and Knowledge Transfer 233
Concluding Observations 240
7 Where Do We Go From Here? Improving What We Know About Disasters While Coping with Them More Effectively 243
Disaster Research and Social Theory 247
Preparedness and Response in Context: Seeing the Larger Picture 250
Preparedness, Response, and Sustainability 254
References 261
Index 291
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