• MANAGED RETREATProactively Planning for Community Relocation Before and After Climate Disasters

    Between 1980 and mid-2023, 232 billion-dollar disasters occurred in the U.S. Gulf Coast region, with the number of disasters doubling annually since 2018. As the frequency, intensity, and destructiveness of climate change-driven disasters increase, accompanied by an increase in recovery costs, more experts are calling for a managed retreat of entire communities from disaster-prone areas to safer ground.

  • RESILIENCEUK Urged to Get Ready for Disaster with New National Crises Plan – but Our Research Reveals the Dark Side of Prepping

    By Ben Kerrane, David Rowe, Katy Kerrane, and Shona Bettany

    Preppers – those who store food, water and supplies to survive impending disaster – have a bit of an image problem. Ridiculed for their delusional end-of-the world outlook, they are caricatured as “tin foil hat-wearing loons”. But is their approach to self-sufficiency so extreme? In the context of  looming (and actual) threats from climate disruption, extreme weather, global pandemics, cyberattacks, and AI have led the UK government to launch its ambitious resilience framework.

  • FLOODSNew Model Adds Human Reactions to Flood Risk Assessment

    Researchers have created a land change model that simulates interactions between urban growth, increased flooding and how humans adapt in response. The new model could offer a more realistic assessment of risk for urban planners, natural resource managers and other local government stakeholders.

  • DISASTER RESPONSEHow Big Institutions Stymie Disaster Response, and What to Do About It

    By Christopher D. Shea

    Large institutions like government, the private sector, non-profits, and academia, are unprepared for disasters—both natural and human-created—because their incentives are not well-aligned.

  • DISASTER PLANSLittle 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.

  • DISASTERSNew Tool Helps Communities Plan for and Mitigate Disasters

    When hurricanes make landfall, coastal communities are especially vulnerable to storm surges, high winds, and freshwater flooding. Residents can be left without clean water, food, shelter, electricity, and access to medical care for days.  Communities need proper tools to adequately prepare for these storms, especially as climate change worsens the impact of these extreme weather events. The Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard (PIRS), recently launched by S&T’s Coastal Resilience Center, helps local governments plan for hurricane season—and beyond.

  • 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.

  • DISATER PREPAREDNESSDeadly Lessons from Fukushima Changed Japan and the World

    By Caitlin McDermott-Murphy

    The strongest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history triggered a massive tsunami in 2011. Together, the two natural disasters claimed close to 20,000 lives, making the event one of the deadliest in Japan’s history. But the crisis didn’t end there.

  • U.S. RAILThe True Dangers of Long Trains

    By Dan Schwartz and Topher Sanders, with additional reporting by Gabriel Sandoval and Danelle Morton

    Trains are getting longer. Railroads are getting richer. But these “monster trains” are jumping off of tracks across America and regulators are doing little to curb the risk.Some trains stretch for 2 or even 3 miles, sometimes without regard for the delicate physics of keeping heavy, often combustible tanker cars from jumping off the tracks.

  • RAIL SAFETYOhio Chemical Spill Draws Focus on Railroad Dangers

    By Alistair Walsh

    The U.S. has one of the most extensive rail networks in the world, but diminishing safety standards puts people and the environment at risk. The latest accident has drawn sharp focus onto the safety standards of the highly profitable freight rail industry and its prolific lobbying against regulation.

  • RAIL SAFETYThe Train Derailment in Ohio Was a Disaster Waiting to Happen

    By John McCracken

    The derailment of a freight train filled with volatile chemicals in rural Ohio earlier this month captured the headlines, but researchers and chemical spill experts say it’s a situation that plays out far too often across the country. Trains carry hazardous chemicals everyday. They’re also dangerously unregulated.

  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALTrain Derailments Get More Headlines, but Truck Crashes Involving Hazardous Chemicals Are More Frequent and Deadly in U.S.

    By Michael F. Gorman

    Highway crash of hazmat-carrying trucks do not draw national attention the way train derailments do, or trigger a flood of calls for more trucking regulation like the U.S. is seeing for train regulation. Truck crashes tend to be local and less dramatic than a pile of derailed train cars on fire, even if they’re deadlier. Federal data shows that rail has had far fewer incidents, deaths and damage when moving hazardous materials in the U.S. than trucks.

  • DISATER PREPARATIONPreparing to Be Prepared

    By Peter Dizikes

    Even in a country like Japan, with advanced engineering, and policies in place to update safety codes, natural forces can overwhelm the built environment. Miho Mazereeuw, an architect of built and natural environments, looks for new ways to get people ready for natural disasters.

  • PLANETARY SECURITYCan We Really Deflect an Asteroid by Crashing into It? Nobody Knows, but We Are Excited to Try

    By Stefania Soldini

    Nasa’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (Dart) spacecraft is designed to be a one hit wonder. It will end its days by crashing into an asteroid at 24,000 kilometers per hour on 26 September. Launched from Earth in November 2021, Dart is about the size of a bus and was created to test and prove our ability to defend the Earth from a dangerous asteroid.

  • EMERGENCY RESPONSEThe Evolution of U.S. Emergency Risk Assessment and Response

    The U.S. emergency management system evolved from responses to many past situations, including the Great Depression and the Cold War. The current system formed as a seeming patchwork of federal, local, nonprofit and other agencies. While the current system has advantages and weaknesses, understanding its makeup can help us address current crises, including pandemics and climate change.