• AI Bots Are Helping 911 Dispatchers with Their Workload

    In the middle of a storm, 911 call centers often find themselves inundated with reports of fallen trees, flooded roads and panicked residents. Every call matters, but with multiple reports of the same incident pouring in, the pressure on emergency services can become overwhelming. Amid the chaos, a technological ally has emerged: artificial intelligence. AI is quietly revolutionizing non-emergency calls in 911 dispatch centers.

  • Little Improvement in Mandated Disaster plans, Despite Required Updates

    Hurricanes, floods, heat waves and other disasters are striking the United States with increased severity and frequency, and since 2000 the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act has required states and local jurisdictions to have plans in place to reduce damages from such events. There has been only little improvement over time to these plans, in spite of regularly required updates.

  • Improving Strategy for Social Media Communications During Wildfires

    In the last 20 years, disasters have claimed more than a million lives and caused nearly $3 trillion in economic losses worldwide. Specifically examining wildfires, researchers contradict existing crisis communication theory that recommends Disaster relief organizations (DROs) speak with one voice during the entirety of wildfire response operations.

  • Mobile Positioning-Based Population Statistics Make Crisis Management More Effective

    Human and economic losses inflicted by disasters are still growing in the world in spite of technological advances. A recent case study from Estonia shows that mobile positioning data can play a key role in improving the availability of emergency assistance, reducing the risk to human life and health in crisis situations.

  • Simultaneous large wildfires will increase in Western U.S.

    Simultaneous outbreaks of large wildfires will become more frequent in the Western United States this century as the climate warms, putting major strains on efforts to fight fires. This trend threatens to stretch firefighting resources.

  • Largest 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.

  • New 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.

  • Coordinating Australia’s Response to Natural Disasters and National Crises

    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.

  • 100th Anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake: Is Japan Ready for the Next Big One?

    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.

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

    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.

  • Climate-Fueled Wildfires Lead to Rethink on Fire Tactics

    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.

  • Using 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.

  • How 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?

  • Develop 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.

  • Better 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.