SDMI unveils Industry Emergency Management Orientation

Welcome, today is Saturday, August 30,2014.

News & Highlights

On the Nine Year Anniversary of Katrina, SDMI Announces a Year Long Series looking back at the State of Disaster Management and how it has Changed Since Katrina

August 29, 2014

Hurricane Katrina, Thinking Back and Looking Ahead

August 29, 2014 marks the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall.  This seminal event was actually a series of events that lasted weeks; cascades of consequences that wreaked havoc against best efforts and laid bare lapses in planning and preparedness.  Katrina devastated 90,000 square miles, local economies, and countless lives, killing some 1,836 souls.

Born as a result of Hurricane Katrina, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute begins a yearlong look at lessons learned, or not, since Hurricane Katrina as we start the countdown to the ten year anniversary.  We will host a variety of publications by leading subject matter experts over the next year looking back on the costly experiences of Hurricane Katrina and looking forward to what we can expect with the expected trends in climate change, coastal and urban population migration, aging infrastructure and other factors which influence disaster resiliency.

Although Hurricane Katrina will be a central point for examination, our focus will not be on Louisiana only.  Instead, we will examine how far we have come as a nation in dealing with the subject of disaster in terms of resiliency and surviving what is often a known and foreseeable risk.  We will culminate our yearlong look with a set of findings and recommendations.  It is our hope that what we will share over the next year will add to the ability of government, business, and private citizens to be better prepared to face the next Katrina like event.

We asked Bill Read, former Director of the National Hurricane Center and SDMI Senior Fellow, to give us his insights and observations, beginning with a look at critical infrastructure resilience on the gulf coast.

Tropical meteorologists’ ability to provide forecasts and warnings in advance of land falling tropical cyclones has increased significantly since 1990. 

Read the rest

Nine Years Since Katrina. SDMI & Senior Fellow, Bill Read, Discuss Hurricane Resiliency

August 29, 2014


Challenges in Achieving Hurricane Resiliency for Critical Infrastructure

Bill Read

Former Director, National Hurricane Center

Senior Fellow, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute



The word “resilience’ has gotten a lot of usage of late, particularly when in reference to recovery from disaster.  Resiliency means different things to different people.  The Oxford Dictionary defines resiliency as:

1.The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity:
‘nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience’

2. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness:
‘the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions’


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is similar:
1. ‘the ability of a body to regain its original size and shape after being compressed, bent, or stretched: ELASTICITY’
2. ‘the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change’

The National Academy of Science (NAS) defines resilience as:

“One way to reduce the impacts of disasters on the nation and its communities is to invest in enhancing resilience–the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events.” Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, National Academies of Science, 2012

For the purposes of this paper, I will use the NAS definition.

Tropical meteorologists’ ability to provide forecasts and warnings in advance of land falling tropical cyclones has increased significantly since 1990.  As the graph (Fig 1) shows, we currently provide a track forecast that is more accurate at 72 hours than it was at 24 hours in 1990.  While forecasting the strength of hurricanes has not enjoyed the same level of success, focused research is showing much promise for the coming decade.  The impacts from tropical cyclones; storm surge, destructive winds, and flooding rains, are forecast with more accuracy now due to advances in computing technology and better observing platforms such as satellites and Doppler radar. … Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes The DRC Group as a Corporate Member

August 21, 2014


SDMI is delighted to announce The DRC Group as SDMI’s newest Corporate Member. Corporate members of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute’s Center for Business Preparedness consist of corporations, foundations, and individuals whose passions are aligned with our pursuit of the improvement of emergency management, business continuity, and community resiliency. These organizations and individuals provide the private support needed to sustain these programs and continue to assist our communities in being better prepared and more resilient when disaster strikes.

The DRC Group is among the leading disaster management groups in the United States providing emergency preparation, response, and recovery from major catastrophes. The primary mission of DRC is professional, honest, and immediate response to natural and man-made disasters throughout the world.

DRC has developed extensive experience and capabilities in emergency response and recovery over the last twelve years including, but not limited to: Disaster Management and Relief Services, Debris Management, Demolition, Marine Debris/Salvage/Recovery, Vehicle and Vessel Removal, Technical Assistance and Project Management, Temporary Housing, Workforce Housing and Life Support, Construction and Construction Management, Landfill Management, Civil, Heavy and Vertical Construction, and Oil Spill Response and Recovery.

Kristy Fuentes, Director of Sales and Marketing for The DRC Group, says her company is delighted to team up with SDMI. “The DRC Group is very excited to become a Corporate Member of the Stephenson Disaster Management Instiutte,” says Fuentes. ” SDMI has already helped us with a major project involving debris planning for one of our large contracts and they were instrumental in introducing us to a key subcontractor. We believe their experience, knowledge, capabilities and network ability will be valuable to us. We look forward to expanding our relationship with SDMI and building a strong, long-term partnership.”

Corporate Memberships make it possible for SDMI to research and develop current and relevant disaster knowledge, and to provide executive-level leadership education to the next generation of disaster managers, as well as business, volunteer, and government leaders.… Read the rest

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