The science, skill – and luck – behind evacuation order calls

More than 1 million people in the Carolinas were ordered to evacuate days before Hurricane Florence hit landfall.

Government officials order coastal evacuation even when it’s sunny at the beach with not a cloud in the sky and no hint of the ominous threat thousands of miles away other than from satellite images. People who know I study hurricane evacuations have often asked me to explain this curious decision.

In the end, evacuation planning is part science, part skill based on experience, and part luck.

Will growing scenes of hurricanes, wildfires and volcanoes make us a go-bag people?

Will repeated exposure to vivid scenes of natural disaster – Western wildfires, a global heat wave, Hawaiian volcano eruptions, the 2017 hurricanes’ anniversary and a suddenly active 2018 season – finally turn America into a go-bag nation, prepared for calamity and ready to flee it?

Experience counsels skepticism. So does human nature.

Statewide Emergency Alerts Bill Passes California Legislature

(TNS) - A bill that would create statewide standards for warning the public about wildfires, floods, earthquakes and other emergencies awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature after both houses of the Legislature voted unanimously to approve it this week.

Senate Bill 833 was put forward by several North Coast lawmakers, including Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, after widespread public criticism about ineffective emergency notifications during last year’s firestorm. The legislation passed Monday in the state Assembly and Tuesday in the state Senate.

Dual Climate and Mitigation Plans Get Santa Cruz, Calif., into Action

Santa Cruz, Calif.’s Climate Adaptation Plan looks at storm surge long-term and offers estimates of what the coastline could look like in 2030, 2060 and again in 2100. But combined with the accompanying Hazard Mitigation Plan, it plants the seeds for preparing for the possibilities of a turbulent California.

The city updated its Climate Adaptation Plan from the original version developed in 2011 and this time included a sea-level rise vulnerability assessment that incorporated a social vulnerability aspect, looking at who was vulnerable at different time horizons, mapping those areas. It gives city officials a good idea of who will be vulnerable and when.

‘Patchwork’ System Leaves Some Californians Out of Emergency Alerts

(TNS) — Before the flames appeared, Sandie Freeman thought the sky above her Redding home looked especially beautiful.

The evening was golden hued and still; pretty enough that she took a picture. Minutes later, a light wind picked up and leaves from her oak tree began falling like rain, she said.

It was the only warning she received that something was amiss.

Will Your Kid's School be Safer This Fall? Here's What Educators Did After Mass Shootings

(TNS) - When Aledo and Joshua students head back to class, they’ll find police officers on their campus full time.

Weatherford students will know that some teachers and school employees likely are carrying concealed handguns.

And Fort Worth students will know police are monitoring school safety cameras in real time — and that school nurses are getting trained to treat victims of active shooters.

Amid Wildfires, Calif.’s Emergency Warning Systems Take Heat

Overnight, the Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California expanded far enough to oust the 2017 Thomas Fire as the largest wildfire in the state’s history. Comprising two joined fires, the Mendocino Complex Fire has burned through 443 square miles in the area north of San Francisco. As of Tuesday morning, the fires burned more than 140 structures, including at least 75 homes, and was 30% contained.

But California’s residents and businesses still should be on alert, as the incendiary activity doesn’t end there. An unprecedented 14,000 firefighters are combating between 12 and 16 wildfires in the state, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Particular emphasis is in Northern California, where the fires in Mariposa and Shasta counties continue to threaten residents, businesses, and emergency responders. For 26 days, the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County has burned nearly 90,000 acres and caused two fatalities. The fire is having a huge impact on areas near and around Yosemite National Park, which alerted the public that it had closed all but two entrances and roads.

Using Data Analytics as a Viable Way to Facilitate Resilience and Better Recovery

Recovery of a region after disaster is measured by the return to normalization, and that is reliant, in large part, on the business community re-establishing itself.

It’s not always easy after a disaster, and many small businesses never recover. Dun & Bradstreet is well-quipped to use data and analysis to help cities and states develop resilience as demonstrated with its recent economic analysis after Hurricane Matthew.

The firm was approached by Michael Sprayberry, North Carolina’s director of emergency management, to conduct an economic impact analysis after the hurricane hit the region in 2016.

Sausalito, Calif., Survey: Residents Want More Wildfire Safeguards

(TNS) - More can be done in Sausalito to protect residents against fire, according to a survey of residents.

The survey was taken in recent weeks with the start of fire season and in the wake of last year’s North Bay fires and more local conflagrations, including one that burned along Highway 101 on the Waldo Grade last October.

Much of Sausalito is on tree-lined hills, and fire danger is a worry.

“The survey was designed to assess the level of concern in our community,” Chris Tubbs, chief of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District, told the City Council last week as he presented the survey. “There is a high level concern about the threat among residents. They think we should be doing more.”

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.

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