Article Index

The Potential for Right to Know Legislation in Canada

Authors
John Collins
Issue
August 1992
Description
Increasing public concern about environmental pollution has led to the implementation of a series of laws and public information systems about toxic hazards, know as the Right to Know, in the both United States and the European Community. The theoretical underpinnings of the Right to Know movement are examined, along with the implementation processes undertaken in the USA and Europe. The American model, in particular, is linked to the emergence of environmental public action groups and a corresponding decrease in government regulation. This system is criticized as being overly dependent on litigation as a punitive measure against corporate polluters. On the other hand, the European model fails to directly empower community\\'s with specific information and is weak on implementation strategies. Many of the characteristics which brought about the American Right to Know legislation are apparent in Canada. However, differences in the manner in which Canadian and American public and private sectors are organized are outlined, indicating why the American style legislation would be inappropriate in Canada. Nevertheless, a Canadian Right to Know system is required, although it is suggested that it be based upon the expert driven risk assessment and public information dissemination program, that characterizes on the European Community approach.

The Preparedness of Local Authorities for Crisis Communication with People who have Foreign Backgrounds – The Case of Sweden

Authors
Anna Olofsson
Issue
August 2007
Description
One of the most important aspects of crisis communication is that of reaching the target population in a severe and often chaotic situation. Therefore, crisis communication has to be customized not only to the situation but also to the population. The aim of this study is hence to investigate the preparedness of Swedish municipalities to communicate with people who have foreign backgrounds at times of crisis. A sample of 55% (n=160) of all Swedish municipalities were questioned regarding whether their crisis communication plans are adapted to this population segment and whether any preparedness measures have been taken. The results show that Swedish municipalities do not consider people with foreign backgrounds in their crisis communication to any great extent. However, the studied municipalities can be categorized as Active, Intermediary or Passive, and one important difference between the three groups is whether they have previous experience of crises where people with foreign backgrounds have been involved.

The Private and Social Benefits of Preparing For Natural Disasters

Authors
Robert Stein, Birnur Buzcu-Guven, Leonardo Duenas-Osorio and Devika Subramanian
Issue
November 2014
Description
In this paper we inquire about the consequences of preparing for hurricanes for individuals and the larger community. Are there collective action benefits from individual-level preparation activities; do the actions individuals take to prepare themselves for a pending hurricane have social benefits for the entire community? We identify shadow evacuations – persons evacuating from areas not designated for evacuation--as a significant social cost that might be mitigated by individual preparation for severe weather. We test our hypotheses with data from a survey conducted with residents of Harris County, Texas, after Hurricane Ike in 2008. We find that preparation has a negative effect on personal injury and property damage and that preparation has a significant and negative effect on the likelihood individuals evacuate, especially residents of non-evacuation areas (low risk areas). Our findings have strong implications on how emergency planners and local officials should prepare for and communicate with the public before severe weather episodes.

The Protective Action Decision Model Applied to Evacuation During the Three Mile Island Crisis

Authors
Michael K. Lindell, Teh Wei Hu, Paul D. Cleary, George Tokuhata, Cynthia B. Flynn, Peter S. Houts
Issue
March 1984
Description
Interviews with 1505 persons living within 55 miles of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant three months after the crisis were analyzed to test whether the protective action decision model could predict evacuation behavior during the crisis period. Results indicate that severity, susceptibility, barrier and cost variables were, as suggested by the model, related to evacuation behavior. In addition, several modifications to the model were suggested by the findings including a need to account for why conflicting information may increase evacuation in nuclear disasters while decreasing evacuation in nonnuclear disasters.

The Relationship between Physical Health Problems and Couple Violence and Conflict in Survivors of the 2004 Tsunami: Mediation by Marital Satisfaction

Authors
Alyssa Banford, Thulitha Wickrama, Matt Brown, and Scott Ketring
Issue
August 2011
Description
The impact of the 2004 East Asian Tsunami on Buddhist, Sri Lankan mothers’ relationships was investigated in this study. More specifically, the relationship between increased violence and conflict post-Tsunami and the daily intrusiveness of Tsunami-related persisting physical health problems was examined in a sample of 170 women, nearly four years after the disaster. Mediation by marital satisfaction, on the relationship between these variables, after controlling for mental health status was also tested. Increased couple violence or conflict post-Tsunami was significantly and positively related to the daily effect of persistent physical health problems resulting from the Tsunami. Full mediation was revealed through a pronounced path model negatively linking increased couple violence and conflict with marital satisfaction, and negatively linking marital satisfaction to the influence of physical health challenges.

The Response of Local Residents to a Chemical Hazard Warning: Prediction of Behavioral Intentions in Greece, France, and the Netherlands

Authors
Egli Komilis, Bernard Cadet, Henk Boer, Jan M. Gutteling, Oene Wiegman
Issue
November 1992
Description
In this study Greek, French, and Dutch residents of a hazardous chemical complex were confronted with a simulated warning scenario for an industrial accident and intended functional and dysfunctional behaviors were measured. Intended functional behaviors were poorly predicted by our model, while dysfunctional behavioral intentions could be predicted rather well. Consequences for hazard communication in the European Community are discussed.

The Role of EOCs in Emergency Management: A Comparison of American and Canadian Experience

Authors
Joseph Scanlon
Issue
March 1994
Description
The literature on emergency management is full of praise for Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) yet it contains little of actual description of EOCs in operation. When Henry Quarantelli (1978) examined actual EOCs, he, too, found them valuable. But he also identified problems: the EOC is in the impact area forcing it to relocate when disaster strikes; access to the EOC is so badly controlled it becomes cramped and crowded, which may lead to decisions being made by a small group separately; membership changes constantly making it difficult to establish continuity in decision making; it isn’t clear, at many incidents, who is managing the EOC itself. Finally, when an EOC is established, it does not necessarily work as a unit. Quarantelli was using American research. This article uses 19 Canadian incidents to see whether disaster experience in another country would support Quarantelli. The article reports precisely the same problems. It also reports – as did Quarantelli – that EOCs are effective. Finally, it says their use in Canada is growing.

The Role of the Built Environment in the Recovery of Cities and Communities from Extreme Events

Authors
Daniel J. Alesch and William Siembieda
Issue
August 2012
Description
This article contributes to the development of a theory of recovery of a city from a disaster generated by an extreme event. It focuses on the functions performed by the built environment in an urban system and the recovery of that system. The city is viewed as a complex, self-organizing system. A disaster results when the parts of the system are damaged to an extent that they are unable to perform their respective functions effectively and the relationships among those parts are disrupted. Recovery occurs as the parts of the system regain their functions and as critical relationships among the parts are restored based on the new conditions created by the extreme event. Rebuilding or restoring the built environment is necessary but only rarely sufficient for system recovery. Recovery processes are perhaps best depicted in terms of agent-based models.

The Role of the For-Profit Private Sector in Disaster Mitigation and Response

Authors
George Horwich
Issue
August 1993
Description
In an era in which free-market capitalism has been showered with more accolades than anyone ever expected it to receive, it seems especially timely to reassess economic sectors traditionally regarded as the preserve of nonprofit or governmental supply and off-limits to for-profit private activity. Of particular interest in this regard is the whole area of disaster mitigation and response, which, in the United States, at least, is experience an explosion of for-profit private-sector initiatives. I will survey and analyze some of these developments and offer some suggestions for policies to promote the role of private enterprise in both disaster anticipation and recovery.

The Role of the State in Building Local Capacity and Commitment for Hazard Mitigation Planning

Authors
Gavin Smith, Ward Lyles and Philip Berke
Issue
August 2013
Description
State governments play an important, but little understood, role in hazard mitigation through the use of a number of capacity building initiatives intended to assist communities develop hazard mitigation plans and policies. The passage of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 more than 10 years ago provides a baseline from which to assess the degree to which states have developed and applied the tools, funding mechanisms, programs, and policies to help communities achieve this important objective. In this article, several state-level measures are analyzed and discussed relative to the degree to which they facilitate an enhanced local capacity to engage in hazard mitigation activities, including planning. The measures include: state hazard mitigation staffing; state hazard mitigation funding, policies, and programs; state cost-sharing of hazard mitigation programs; and state delivery of hazard mitigation technical assistance. The findings suggest that states maintain a wide variation in state capacity and commitment to support local hazard mitigation activities, including that which is influenced by disaster-based funding. They also tend to emphasize building local governments’ capacities to gain access to project funding rather than focusing on helping them identify and establish a comprehensive, proactive, and sustained risk reduction strategy grounded in land use policy. In addition, state land use policies are not well integrated into state hazard mitigation plans and capacity building initiatives. Finally, state mitigation officials believe that most local governments do not possess the capacity or commitment necessary to develop sound hazard mitigation plans or administer hazard mitigation grants.