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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Research after September 11 hazards center special publication #39
The terrorist attack on 11 September 2001, resulted in an American disaster that was unusual in a number of ways: the densely developed and populated disaster site, the type of buildings and infrastructure that were damaged, the cause of the disaster (an intentional act), and the sheer scope of the emergency response. As tragic as it was, the catastrophe provided an unprecedented opportunity for the natural hazards research community to help understand the short- and long-term impacts of response to, and recovery from this unique event. Programs such as the University of Colorado at Boulder's Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center's Quick Response research program and the National Science Foundation's small grants for exploratory research enabled scholars to travel to the disaster sites and collect perishable data in the days and weeks after 11th September.
Our newest special publication, beyond 11th September: An Account of Post-disaster Research (SP #39, 2003. p. 600), collects the findings, lessons, and recommendations of this post- 11th September disaster research. The book consists of 20 selections by researchers who investigated questions that arose in the wake of the disaster. Each piece takes a distinct view on topics ranging from engineering to behavioural science. Also included are a summary of what these studies tell us, a discussion of “quick response” as a research method, and a report of the preliminary observations made by researchers and first responders at a workshop held only a few months after the disaster.
Based on the findings from these studies, the book includes numerous conclusions and recommendations for the improvement of public policy and disaster response. Some of the recommendations on ways to better cope with terrorist attacks include the following.
Law enforcement and investigative personnel need to be integrated into disaster planning, training, and exercises because they will have a central role in terrorist disasters.
More media attention to the broader political, social, religious, and other aspects of 11th September and similar disasters could help Americans better understand the terrorism risk and the consequences of preventative actions the country might take.
Researchers and practitioners need to communicate information on the best protective actions that people can take in response to terrorism so that proper warnings and instructions can be formulated.
A consistent policy is needed that balances the public's and the research community's need to know versus the need to keep information and databases about critical infrastructure systems secure.
Beyond 11th September is a cooperative production of the Public Entity Risk Institute of Fairfax, Virginia; the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (a partnership of New York University, Cornell University, Polytechnic University, and the University of Southern California); and the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Special Publication #39 will be available in PDF format on the Hazards Center's Web site sometime next year: www.colorado.edu/hazards
Printed copies are available now for $25.00, plus shipping. To order a copy, contact the Publications Administrator, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, 482 UCB, Boulder, CO, 80309-0482. Tel: (303) 492-6819; E-mail: email@example.com