• DISASTERSLargest Fire Death Toll Belongs to Aftermath of 1923 Japan Earthquake

    Fires that raged in the days following the 1 September 1923 magnitude 7.9 Kantō earthquake killed roughly 90% of the 105,000 people who perished in and around Tokyo, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in history—comparable to the number of people killed in the World War II atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

  • FLOODSNew Flood Prediction Model Has Potentially Life-Saving Benefits

    A new simulation model that can predict flooding during an ongoing disaster more quickly and accurately than currently possible. The new model has major potential benefits for emergency responses, reducing flood forecasting time from hours and days to just seconds, and enabling flood behavior to be accurately predicted quickly as an emergency unfolds.

  • DISASTER RESPONSECoordinating Australia’s Response to Natural Disasters and National Crises

    By Joe Buffone and Rob Cameron

    Australia’s comprehensive national crisis coordination process — the National Coordination Mechanism, or NCM — works well, and its continued use—and evolution—points the way to even more comprehensively coordinated resilience building, crisis planning, response and recovery. Extrapolation of the NCM will prove critical if national mobilization is required to deal with crises other than natural disasters and pandemics.

  • EARTHQUAKES100th Anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake: Is Japan Ready for the Next Big One?

    By Julian Ryall

    Japan is marking 100 years since a devastating earthquake triggered a widespread inferno in Kanto, a region that includes the capital, Tokyo. Most of the tens of thousands of victims perished in the fire. seismologists put the likelihood of another major quake beneath the Kanto region of Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures at 70% in the next 30 years.

  • DISASTER REPONSEThe Vital Role of the Civilian Community in Responding to Natural Disasters

    By Guy Boekenstein

    Disaster preparedness is not about prediction. Leaders shouldn’t get caught up in trying to define what precisely we need to prepare for and when. Instead, they need to be ready for compounding national disruptions of any kind, at any time. Given the interconnectedness of our modern world, integrating broad economic, social and environmental preparedness will be better for resilience than mapping out overly detailed contingencies.

  • WILDFIRESClimate-Fueled Wildfires Lead to Rethink on Fire Tactics

    By Alistair Walsh

    Climate change is making wildfires more frequent and more destructive, and long-time firefighting strategies are no longer working. Scientists are calling for a radical rethink of how we fight wildfires.

  • DISASTER RELIEFUsing Hydrogen to Power Disaster Relief

    A new vehicle will not only get emergency responders safely to the site of an emergency, but also directly provide power at the scene for up to 72 hours as they assess next steps. And it does all this running on hydrogen—a much more sustainable solution for our environment.

  • RECONNAISSANCEHow Reliable and Robust Is Human Ability to Recognize Suspicious Activity?

    Security procedures at large public venues and transportation hubs rely upon vigilant and engaged security officers who are tasked, in part, with timely and appropriate responses to suspicious behavior of potential hostile actors. But how capable are individuals at detecting suspicious behavior?

  • SEARCH & RESCUEDevelop 3D Printable Robots for Search-and-Rescue Operations

    Researchers are developing a small and flexible 3D-printed robots with integrated fluidic circuits that can be rapidly fabricated for specific disasters. These robots can aid rescue efforts by exploring areas that pose potential hazards to humans or are otherwise inaccessible, including earthquake debris, flooded regions, and even nuclear accident sites.

  • EXPLOSIVES THREATBetter Resources to Mitigate Explosive Threats

    Every second counts when responders encounter an explosive device, and critical decisions must be made quickly in order to neutralize the threat while also ensuring the security of civilians, property, and the responders themselves.

  • GEO-SECURITYGeoscientists Aim to Improve Human Security Through Planet-Scale POI Modeling

    Geoinformatics engineering researchers developed MapSpace, a publicly available, scalable land-use modeling framework. By providing data characteristics broader and deeper than satellite imagery alone, MapSpace can generate population analytics invaluable for urban planning and disaster response.

  • EMERGENCY MANAGEMENTResearching the Future of Emergency Management

    The research will consider emerging innovations in areas such as artificial intelligence, geospatial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and decision aids, to equip and support emergency managers for the future.

  • FIREFIGHTINGFireDrone Supports the Firefighters

    Researchers are developing a heat-resistant drone that can analyze the source of danger at close range in the event of a building or forest fire. This allows firefighters to optimize the strategy of a high-risk operation before entering the danger zone.

  • NUCLEAR INCIDENTSTraining for Nuclear Incidents and Preparing WMD Responses

    By Justin S. Griffin

    “Radiological material can end up in almost any location or any place and take on almost any shape and form,” an expert told participants a few weeks ago at the first Sandia Lab’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Counterterrorism and Incident Response Showcase. Preparing for nuclear incidents is not dealing with hypotheticals. “It is not practice. It is not an exercise. It is real life stuff,” he said.

  • WILDFIRESA Lawsuit to Protect Streams Could Take Away an Important Firefighting Tool

    By Max Graham

    The U.S. Forest Service uses millions of gallons of fire retardant to fight wildfires. There have long been concerns about what happens when that mix of ammonium phosphate, emulsifiers, and colorants finds its way into water.