3 reasons why the US is vulnerable to big disasters

During the 2017 disaster season, three severe hurricanes devastated large parts of the U.S.

The quick succession of major disasters made it obvious that such large-scale emergencies can be a strain, even in one of the world’s richest countries.

As a complex emergency researcher, I investigate why some countries can better withstand and respond to disasters. The factors are many and diverse, but three major ones stand out because they are within the grasp of the federal and local governments: where and how cities grow; how easily households can access critical services during disaster; and the reliability of the supply chains for critical goods.

For only the second time on record, no one killed by tornadoes in US in May or June

For the first time since 2005, and only the second time on record, no one was killed by tornadoes in the U.S. in either May or June.

Those are typically two of the USA’s deadliest months for tornadoes, along with March and April. Official U.S. tornado records go back to 1950.

Although we have a long way to go, the U.S. could see its least deadly year for tornadoes on record: So far in 2018, tornadoes have killed only three people. The most recent was on April 13 in Louisiana, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Opioid crisis sending thousands of children into foster care

The opioid epidemic ravaging states and cities across the country has sent a record number of children into foster and state care systems, taxing limited government resources and testing a system that is already at or near capacity.

An analysis of foster care systems around the country shows the number of children entering state or foster care rising sharply, especially in states hit hardest by opioid addiction. The children entering state care are younger, and they tend to stay in the system longer, than ever before.

Safety Agency to Watch Tesla Car Fire Exam Following California Incident

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a technical specialist to observe Tesla Inc.’s examination of a Model S that caught fire in California on Friday, the agency said in a statement.

The action is not a formal probe of how the lithium-ion battery pack caught fire without being involved a crash, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said. NTSB’s participation in Tesla’s review “will provide the agency with an opportunity to learn more about fires in all types of battery-powered vehicles,” he said.

Will Your Cell Service Work if a Hurricane Rolls Through the Coast, and Will It Be Enough?

(TNS) — In the 13 years since Hurricane Katrina hit South Mississippi, much has changed.

A quick drive down U.S. 90 is a constant reminder of the past — the things that are new and that have been rebuilt and the places that are memories of life before the storm.

One of the things that changed significantly besides the landscape is technology. Facebook was in its infancy in 2005, having been launched the year before the storm, and most social media users were using MySpace. It would also be another two years before Apple released the iPhone and helped to usher in the era of smartphones and tablets.

University Students Create Spatial Analysis Tools to Help Cities Do More with Data

In this installment of the Innovation of the Month series (see last month's story here), we explore the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Urban Spatial Analytics (MUSA) Practicum and how the graduate students in the program work with city officials to develop data science tools that their clients can use to determine how best to use their resources. The program is led by Professor Ken Steif along with Karl Dailey and Michael Fichman.

MetroLab’s Executive Director Ben Levine sat down with Professor Steif and some of the program’s graduate students to learn more.

2014 Napa Quake Could be Linked to Groundwater Changes, Study Shows

Research suggests the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked California wine country in 2014 may have been caused by an expansion of Earth’s crust because of seasonally receding groundwater under the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

The vineyard-filled valleys flank the West Napa Fault, which produced the quake that killed one person, injured several hundred and caused more than $500 million in losses.

Reader Q&A with Gary Sigrist: 5 Layers of School Safety

As campus security industry professionals have seen, particularly in the last few months, there isn’t just one thing schools can do to keep their students and faculty safe. School safety is a multi-layered approach that involves participation from all members of a school’s community.

Last month, Campus Safety hosted a webinar led by Gary Sigrist, a retired school district safety director and current CEO and president of Safeguard Risk Solutions, to discuss the different layers of security needed in schools to protect students and staff from violence.

Employers Waking Up to Costs of Employees Falling Asleep on the Job

An employer with 1,000 employees can expect to lose more than $1 million each year in missed workdays, lower productivity and increased healthcare due to employee fatigue, according to a new survey.

About one-third of all employers report employee injuries and near-misses due to worker fatigue, the National Safety Council survey also found. Half said they have had employees fall asleep on the job.

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