5
MITIGATION: COEXISTING WITH MOUNT RAINIER

About 3.5 million people live and work in proximity to Mount Rainier. Many residents of this region may be unaware of the hazards posed by the volcano. Wholesale, permanent evacuation of the region around the volcano (large parts of Pierce, King, Lewis, and Cowlitz counties; see Figure 2.1) would be necessary to completely eliminate risk to life and property from the volcano. Obviously such an approach is unrealistic and unworkable. The communities in the region must seek ways to reduce risk to life and property from volcanic hazards while maintaining the strong economic base that derives in part from the desire of people to live, work, and play around the volcano. This chapter addresses important mitigation measures that can be taken to reduce the risk from the volcanic hazards described in previous chapters of this report.

An effective risk-mitigation strategy can be undertaken only as part of a comprehensive strategy to understand the volcano. Effective risk mitigation requires that (1) hazards are well understood; (2) they can be recognized before they reach a critical level; (3) warning of their occurrence can be communicated quickly, clearly, and accurately to public officials; and (4) public officials will understand the significance of such warnings and will initiate appropriate mitigative measures. The present chapter addresses the communication of information and warnings on hazards to responsible authorities and the general public in order to mitigate risk through planning and implementation of risk-reducing measures.



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5 MITIGATION: COEXISTING WITH MOUNT RAINIER About 3.5 million people live and work in proximity to Mount Rainier. Many residents of this region may be unaware of the hazards posed by the volcano. Wholesale, permanent evacuation of the region around the volcano (large parts of Pierce, King, Lewis, and Cowlitz counties; see Figure 2.1) would be necessary to completely eliminate risk to life and property from the volcano. Obviously such an approach is unrealistic and unworkable. The communities in the region must seek ways to reduce risk to life and property from volcanic hazards while maintaining the strong economic base that derives in part from the desire of people to live, work, and play around the volcano. This chapter addresses important mitigation measures that can be taken to reduce the risk from the volcanic hazards described in previous chapters of this report. An effective risk-mitigation strategy can be undertaken only as part of a comprehensive strategy to understand the volcano. Effective risk mitigation requires that (1) hazards are well understood; (2) they can be recognized before they reach a critical level; (3) warning of their occurrence can be communicated quickly, clearly, and accurately to public officials; and (4) public officials will understand the significance of such warnings and will initiate appropriate mitigative measures. The present chapter addresses the communication of information and warnings on hazards to responsible authorities and the general public in order to mitigate risk through planning and implementation of risk-reducing measures.

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Communication Effective mitigation requires communication at several different levels among the many groups who live and work near the volcano: within the scientific community; between scientists and responsible authorities; between scientists and the general public; and between responsible authorities and the public. Broadly speaking, this communication can be divided into two categories: communication during times of volcanic quiescence and communication when signs of unrest have been detected or when an actual eruption or related event has begun. During volcanic quiescence, such as exists at the present time, scientists working on Mount Rainier, as well as those contemplating such work, generally communicate with each other through publication in scientific journals and presentations at scientific meetings. There is a need to make this literature available in one place to working scientists and nonspecialists in a more timely fashion. There is also a need to provide information about current and planned projects, which is normally not communicated effectively through the scientific literature. Scientists and nonscientists alike would benefit from the establishment of a Mount Rainier Hazards Information Network accessible through the Internet. Such a network would be useful for sharing information about current and planned research, published reports on the volcano, hazards identification, and risk-mitigation projects. To be most useful, information and data could be made available in both text and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) formats. The same network could be linked with county planners and emergency-service planners to promote the application of research findings. The results of much of the research are likely to be communicated in unpublished (and unrefereed) reports; consequently, the legal and ethical implications of this network for local decision making must be considered.

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The present quiescence also provides an opportunity to educate responsible authorities and the general public about the nature of expected hazards at Mount Rainier and how their effects might be mitigated. Such communication could take place in a number of ways. For example, scientists could work with educators to prepare high-impact educational materials about volcanic hazards and risk-mitigation options. These materials could include videotape productions and short, well-illustrated pamphlets or brochures. The videotapes could be aired on local television; the printed materials could be designed as an insert in local newspapers and for general distribution when precursory activity is detected. These materials could also be distributed during presentations by scientists at schools and public meetings. Because many Park Service employees have developed skills for communication with the public and are in regular contact with many thousands of park visitors, they can play an important role in the design, preparation, and distribution of much of this material. Scientists and Park Service staff could also work together to develop educational displays on volcanic hazards and emergency response for visitors to Mount Rainier National Park. The effectiveness of these educational materials needs to be evaluated periodically in order to maximize their usefulness. Communication becomes even more important when precursory activity is detected or during an actual event such as an eruption. The Mount Rainier Hazards Information Network discussed above could serve as a real-time clearinghouse for information, helping to lessen the redundancy that can occur when large numbers of scientists converge on an active volcano. The same network could be used to increase communication between scientists and responsible authorities who provide hazard warnings to the public. In this context, responsible authorities include the National Park Service; local and state governments; and local, state, and federal emergency management agencies. This communication needs to be part of a comprehensive emergency response plan for scientists involved in volcano monitoring to communicate with responsible authorities when conditions warrant, such as when precursory activity is detected or during actual events. To be effective, this emergency response plan must be integrated into on-going emergency

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planning by state and local authorities and must contain the following elements: well-defined classifications of possible precursory behavior (for example, elevated levels of earthquake activity or edifice creep) detected by monitoring networks cross-referenced to possible hazards, as well as a procedure for regularly updating and communicating this list to emergency-management personnel; a shorthand code for easily communicating the level of concern implied by the precursory behavior, such as the color-coded warning levels currently used at the Alaska Volcano Observatory; and contact lists of emergency-management personnel and scientists involved in monitoring, as well as procedures for keeping these lists up to date. For example, Norris (1991) provides a summary of monitoring information, involved scientists, and pertinent contacts in the National Parks, National Forests, and other land holdings in the Cascades; the Cascades Volcano Observatory and the University of Washington maintain lists of contacts for responding to events at Mount St. Helens. Communication between responsible authorities and the public during a crisis is essential to provide timely and accurate warnings and information about volcanic hazards. This communication needs to be planned in advance of an actual emergency, and its effectiveness needs to be periodically tested and evaluated through table-top exercises and simulations. Such exercises need to involve the news media; local and state governments and emergency-management agencies and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service; Washington Department of Natural Resources; and scientists involved with volcano monitoring. The effectiveness of communication between scientists and the general public could be increased through the use of "scientist-spokespersons" who have had training or experience or both working with the news media. This is an important communication link, because timely and accurate information is essential for public understanding and cooperation

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during a hazardous event. Fiske (1984, p. 176) suggests that the role of such ''information officers" is to: work closely with the chief scientist to ensure that a single and complete stream of information is made available. This person should not suppress scientific disagreements that might exist between working scientists but should express them freely in terms of overall scientific understanding. It is common for scientists to disagree, and such disagreements should be reported publicly in a balanced and nonpersonalized way. An information scientist at the Cascades Volcano Observatory has provided information to the media for activity at Mount St. Helens since 1980. Inevitably, however, individual scientists, many of whom have had little experience communicating with the media, will be contacted about an exclusive story or "angle." These scientists need to cooperate with the media as much as possible while avoiding the temptation to speculate on the outcome of events that cannot be accurately predicted. The effectiveness of media communications with the public will be greatly increased if the public's understanding of volcano hazards has been already improved by the various pre-eruption educational activities mentioned above. Planning and Implementation The reduction of risk from volcanic hazards requires planning and implementation of effective risk-reducing measures. To be successful, scientists, government, business, and other citizens need to be involved in planning, implementing, and periodically evaluating and adjusting specific measures as needed. Several measures, if implemented, would significantly reduce risk from volcanic hazards to people and property in the region: Risk analyses, to assess risks to populations and businesses from specific volcanic hazards such as tephra and debris flows.

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Land use planning and regulation, to encourage, and where appropriate require, uses and construction practices that are appropriate to the degree of risk in areas potentially affected by eruptions or lahars. For example, open-space uses could be mandated for areas with extremely high hazards. Emergency planning, to deal with specific volcanic hazards, including planning for evacuations and temporary housing before and during eruptions or lahars. Engineering solutions for specific hazards; for example, the construction of sediment traps or diversion structures to protect populated areas from lahars. Economic incentives for business and citizens to reduce their risk from specific hazards; for example, reducing risks from debris flows by offering lower casualty insurance rates for structures built on high ground. An important contribution of geoscientists in these efforts is the identification of areas at risk through the development of hazard maps (for example, Crandell, 1973; Scott and others, 1992; see Figure 5.1). Hazard maps are spatial representations of areas at risk from lava flows, debris flows, tephra falls, pyroclastic flows, lateral blasts, glacier outburst floods, massive slope failure, and similar events. Data for these maps are obtained from predictive studies or from past behavior of the volcano as determined from field studies, such as those discussed in Chapter 3 of this report. The maps can be drawn for events of any magnitude and can be presented in a probabalistic context. Hazard maps produced in GIS format using Digital Terrain Model (DTM) frameworks are particularly useful, because they lend themselves to the production of sketches, cross-sections, and sequential diagrams illustrating the development and consequences of hazards. Hazard maps, in turn, can be used to prepare risk maps or vulnerability indices. Such maps and indices are developed by combining hazard maps with demographic and geographic data, for example: population density; the locations of critical facilities (e.g., hospitals); transportation routes; and residential, industrial, agricultural infrastructure. This superposition would show where populations, businesses, and critical facilities are

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FIGURE 5.1 Hazard map showing estimated risk (low, medium, high) from tephra eruptions and debris flows at Mount Rainier (modified from Crandell, 1973). The risk estimates shown on this map are based on work prior to 1973 do not reflect data collected during the past two decades (e.g., Scott and others, 1992). The map is used here for illustration purposes only.

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especially vulnerable to hazards. Such maps could be used to guide the relocation or "hardening" of critical facilities, such as hospitals, utilities, and pipelines. They would also serve as a zoning tool to guide future development and could be used by the insurance industry to establish casualty-protection rates. Geoscientists can play a significant role in the development of risk maps and vulnerability indices by working cooperatively with planners, engineers, social scientists, and legal professionals to ensure that hazard maps contain appropriate data presented in formats understandable for hazard-mitigation efforts. For example, the preparation of hazard maps using basemaps and GIS formats currently employed by state, county, and city planning agencies would increase their usefulness for land use planning and regulation and vulnerability analyses. Volcano scientists need to work closely with city planning agencies, engineering/public works departments, transportation agencies, and emergency-management coordinators to anticipate the consequences of volcanic hazard assessments for people, real estate, utilities, communications, and transportation activities. Once basic information about hazards, risks, and actual or potential risk-mitigating measures is in the hands of the public and responsible authorities, debate can begin about which specific measures to adopt. Analyses of potential risk-mitigation measures need to address both economic costs and benefits as well as the possible costs of inaction. These analyses must be put forward for public debate, and measures, once adopted and implemented, need to be periodically tested and fine-tuned. As part of this process, it is important to document how information about Mount Rainier hazards is presently incorporated, and is planned to be incorporated, into the State of Washington's Growth Management Act of 1990 (Appendix A), emergency plans, and engineering plans. For example, volcanic hazards information is presently being considered in Pierce County because of requirements of the Growth Management Act. Careful tracking of how that information is (or is not) translated into actual mitigative measures is needed to transfer successful ideas to other jurisdictions, or to spot jurisdictions for which more information, more aggressive application, or alternative measures are needed.

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Natural scientists traditionally participate in this process up to the point of public debate, providing information about hazards and, occasionally, about their effects on people. Social scientists, on the other hand, rarely become involved in hazard studies. The U.S. Geodynamics Committee believes that more effective risk-mitigation measures can be designed and implemented if natural and social scientists work together through the entire process. Similarly, social scientists, geoscientists, planners, engineers, decision makers, and the general public must work together, from hazard assessment through implementation of risk-mitigation measures, if the populations around Mount Rainier are to coexist in reasonable safety with the volcano. Social Aspects of Mitigation In general, there are reasonably good land use, building, and development practices for reducing risks from natural hazards. Less well understood is how to motivate the implementation of these measures. A major gap exists between theory and practice with respect to risk reduction and mitigation for natural hazards. Societal impacts of a major eruption or debris flow are potentially enormous in the aggregate but are likely to be quite varied (Cullen, 1978; Cullen Tanaka, 1983). Some geographic areas, sectors of the economy, and population groups would be affected more than others. Planners and scientists tend to think about aggregate impacts of hazards, whereas the effects of impacts tend to vary across populations. This distinction has important implications for risk assessments, which need to focus on vulnerabilities of different populations, geographic areas, and sectors of the economy. Mitigation efforts also have potentially significant social impacts. For example, the implementation of development restrictions in areas judged to be of high risk could lower land values and cause economic hardships for landowners. These potential impacts need to be understood to develop socially and politically acceptable mitigation strategies.

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The impact of a given event is determined by the physical properties of the hazard, the "social fabric" of the region, and the resiliency of its population. Some sectors of the population, such as elderly and lowincome groups, are less resilient in responding to and recovering from disasters. Similarly, some communities are better able to recover from disasters. Because of differences in local economies and political jurisdictions, there is considerable variation in the application of land use and development measures to reduce potential volcanic hazards. Risk assessments need to consider these factors in targeting efforts to reduce losses. For example, mountain-dependent communities, including those that act as "gateways" to the National Park, would likely suffer great loss of property and life in the event of a major eruption or debris flow. Further, these communities could have a more difficult time recovering from such events because their economies are dependent on tourism, which, in the short term, would probably decline following a major event. (Later, tourism would probably increase, as it has at Mount St. Helens.) Social response to a given hazardous event is influenced by several factors. These include the nature of the event (e.g., eruption versus debris flow), timing (e.g., summer versus winter, day versus night), and emergency preparedness. Another important factor for Mount Rainier is the potential for multiple hazards from a single event, for example, a large earthquake that collapses the edifice to produce an eruption and debris flow. Such multiple hazards greatly complicate efforts to predict social responses. Nevertheless, such hazards are a real possibility and therefore need to be considered explicitly in planning. Natural hazards are issues that normally show up on government agendas only after they occur. The challenge is to put mitigation measures into effect in the face of official indifference or inaction. A particularly effective approach is to include risk-mitigation plans in related pieces of legislation. A pertinent example of such legislation is the Growth Management Act (Appendix A), which requires state and local government agencies to include consideration of natural hazards in planning future development. The issues of risk perception, hazard mitigation, and policy design as they relate to Mount Rainier are appropriate topics for social science

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investigation. Relevant policy questions concern vulnerability, liability, and cost in addressing potential hazards. There is a limited amount of social science research concerning volcanic eruptions in the United States, principally Mount St. Helens (Sheets and Grayson, 1979; Johnson and Jarvis, 1980; Sorensen, 1981; Warrick and others, 1981; Dillman and others, 1982; Kartez, 1982; Leik and others, 1982; Perry and Greene, 1983; Saarinen and Sell, 1985; Buist and Bernstein, 1986; Perry and Lindell, 1986), but there is a strong foundation of relevant research (Lachman and Bonk, 1960; Marts, 1978; Blong, 1984; May, 1985; Mader and Blair, 1987; Perkins and May, 1987) concerning other volcanoes and natural hazards that serves as a basis for framing this discussion. Clearly, additional applied research is needed in this area. Recommendations Mitigation of risk is an important component of the Mount Rainier Decade Volcano Demonstration Project and can be successfully executed only within the context of a comprehensive strategy to understand the volcano and its various hazards. The success of mitigation efforts requires that the hazards themselves are well understood; that they can be recognized before they reach a critical level; that warning of their occurrence can be communicated clearly, accurately, and quickly to public officials; and that public officials will act to put the appropriate risk-mitigating measures into operation. The important elements of an effective mitigation program are these: Communication is essential among the many groups that live and work around the volcano, including: Within the scientific community. Communication within the scientific community is necessary to coordinate and disseminate research on the volcano. To this end, the U.S. Geodynamics Committee recommends the establishment of a Mount Rainier Hazards

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Information Network on the Internet to disseminate past, current, and planned research and information on mitigation measures. This network should be accessible to researchers, National Park staff, county planners, and emergency-services planners. Between scientists and responsible authorities. An emergency-response plan should be developed so that scientists involved in monitoring can provide responsible authorities with accurate and timely warnings of impending hazards and can keep officials informed during such events. This plan should be integrated into ongoing emergency planning by state and local authorities. Between scientists and the public. Scientists should work with educators and National Park Service staff in times of quiescence to inform the general public about the nature of volcanic hazards, people and property at risk, and options for risk reduction through presentations at schools and public meetings, by the preparation and distribution of high-impact educational materials, and by the development of displays on volcanic hazards and emergency response for visitors to Mount Rainier National Park. Between responsible authorities and the public. Responsible authorities should develop plans for communicating timely and accurate information and warnings about volcanic hazards to the public. The effectiveness of such plans should be periodically tested and evaluated through table-top exercises and simulations; this testing should involve the news media, local and state governments, emergency-management agencies, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and scientists involved with volcano monitoring. Planning and implementation of risk mitigation measures should involve scientists, government, business, and citizens and should be coordinated and, where appropriate, integrated with other planning activities in the region. Several measures, including the following, should be considered for implementation in order to significantly reduce risk from volcanic hazards to people and property:

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analyses to identify regions and populations at risk; land use planning to encourage appropriate use of high-risk areas; engineering solutions to mitigate risks, where possible, from specific volcanic hazards; and economic incentives to encourage business and citizens to reduce risk from specific hazards. Costs and benefits of specific mitigation measures should be put forward for public debate and, once implemented, these measures should be periodically tested and adjusted as necessary. Societal impacts of a major eruption or debris flow would likely be enormous in aggregate, but these effects would probably be spread unevenly across different communities and population groups. In planning and implementing specific mitigation measures, planners should focus on the vulnerabilities of different sectors of the population, region, and economy. There should be a critical evaluation of the existing social science literature as to its specific relevance to Mount Rainier. Future research on the social consequences of a Mount Rainier eruption should include development of a generic response model that could serve as a "check list" for understanding hazard response and mitigation. There should be efforts to develop a more refined response model for Mount Rainier with gaps in knowledge identified as a research agenda.