Emergency Preparedness And Response
Kathleen J. Tierney
One of the most costly and damaging disasters in U.S. history, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was the largest earthquake to strike California since 1952 and the most devastating to hit the San Francisco Bay area since 1906. From the earliest hours following impact, as initial reconnaissance efforts got under way, it was evident that the Loma Prieta earthquake would become an important case study for the various disciplines concerned with earthquake hazard reduction. Because the earthquake presented such an obvious opportunity to learn more about the earthquake hazard, an unprecedented number of studies were undertaken in the earth sciences, engineering, and the social sciences. By 1993, more than three years after the event, an enormous amount of data have been collected and much has been learned on a wide range of topics. This paper focuses on the lessons for emergency preparedness and response that have resulted from that research. After presenting a brief overview of research on the Loma Prieta earthquake, the paper considers research findings and practical implications related to the actions of individuals, households, and the public at large; groups and organizations; and government agencies and the intergovernmental system.
OVERVIEW OF PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE STUDIES
The Loma Prieta earthquake was the most damaging earthquake to strike a major metropolitan area in the United States since the passage of the National
Earthquake Hazard Reduction Act in 1977. One of the original objectives of this act was to foster needed research on earthquakes, and since the program was established the size of the research community in the earthquake field had grown considerably. Thus, when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck, a large number of investigators were able to go into the field almost immediately to begin collecting data, and ultimately dozens of studies were undertaken on a wide range of topics.
The Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado, which provides "quick response" grants mainly to social science investigators, was an important source of funding for initial reconnaissance studies on emergency preparedness and response following the earthquake. The center's monograph, The Loma Prieta Earthquake: Studies of Short-Term Impacts (Bolin, 1990), is a compilation of reports from nineteen investigators who conducted studies on the emergency response and initial impacts of the earthquake.
As it does for all significant earthquakes (but this time on a very large scale), the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) undertook a major reconnaissance effort following the Loma Prieta earthquake, which was coordinated in the social sciences and emergency-response areas by Robert Olson and Charles Scawthorn. Reports of the various EERI reconnaissance teams are summarized in a special issue of Earthquake Spectra (EERI, 1990).
Following the earthquake, both the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey augmented their existing grant programs to sponsor additional studies, some of which focused on emergency preparedness and response. Findings from much of that research are still in the process of being released as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper Series. One collection of social scientific reports in this series, edited by Patricia Bolton, was recently published (Bolton, 1993). The National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research also provided support for reconnaissance studies, longer-term research, and other activities, including partial funding for a conference on post-earthquake housing issues that focused on the Loma Prieta earthquake as well as other recent U.S. earthquakes (National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, 1992).
Because of the large number of researchers involved, the comparatively large amount of funding that was provided, and the size and sophistication of many of the studies that were undertaken, there are probably more data available on the Loma Prieta earthquake than on any other disaster. Efforts such as the National Clearinghouse for Loma Prieta Earthquake Information, organized by the National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering, help ensure that these data are preserved and used.
It would not be possible for this paper or any other short paper to discuss in detail all the reports on emergency preparedness and response that resulted from the Loma Prieta earthquake. Rather, the paper will highlight some of the more
important findings and lessons learned, referring readers who desire more detail to the longer reports.
HOW THE PUBLIC RESPONDED IN LOMA PRIETA: INDIVIDUAL AND HOUSEHOLD RESPONSES
Several studies on the Loma Prieta earthquake provide useful data on how the public responded when the earthquake struck and during the post-impact emergency period. Among the most important of these are studies on the initial post-impact actions of community residents, earthquake-related injuries, emergency sheltering behavior, and the public response to aftershock warnings.
Actions During The Shaking Period
Using a survey approach like the one they employed after the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, Linda Bourque, James Goltz, and their associates conducted a telephone survey with a random sample of 656 respondents in the five counties most seriously affected by the Loma Prieta earthquake. The survey focused on a number of topics, including what people did during and immediately after earthquake impact, property damage and injuries, decision making with respect to evacuation, psychological distress at the time of the interview, earthquake preparedness actions taken before and after the earthquake, reliance on the mass media after impact, exposure to aftershock warnings, and contacts with public agencies following the earthquake (Bourque et al., 1993a, b).
With respect to immediate actions upon impact, the survey found that the most common responses during the shaking, carried out by nearly three-fourths of respondents, were to freeze in place, to seek protection, or to freeze and then seek protection. The researchers observed that workplace disaster-preparedness programs must be having an effect because a significant proportion of those who were at work or in schools at the time of the earthquake reported taking self-protective actions during the shaking.
Research conducted by Rahimi and Azevedo (1993) of a sample of disabled persons following the earthquake suggests that, like the individuals in the Bourque/Goltz sample, people with disabilities were able to initiate appropriate actions to protect themselves during earthquake shaking. They may, however, be less able than the non-disabled to gain access to personal items and emergency supplies after earthquake impact.
Running during earthquake shaking is not considered appropriate, because it may result in injury. A small number of respondents in the Bourque/Goltz survey indicated they ran at the time of impact; running was more likely to be reported nearer the earthquake epicenter and more likely to be reported by young males, indicating that this group may be less aware that such behavior is dangerous. About 40 percent of the people who were at home when the earthquake
struck reported going to help a child during the shaking period—an action that may have increased personal risk.
This study on individual post-impact responses revealed other interesting patterns. For example, persons who were not at home, work, or in some other familiar setting but who instead found themselves in public places when the earthquake struck seemed less able than other respondents to take decisive self-protective action. Because public places are less familiar than the home or workplace, people may be confused about what to do to protect themselves in those settings. On the basis of this finding, the researchers suggested that:
Procedures need to be developed that allow people to identify and act on "generic" information about locations which can then be generalized from one location to another. In particular, people need to know how to scan and quickly assess a location for safety, and how to behave in the presence of large numbers of other people so that they do not endanger themselves and others.
Bourque et al., 1993b
For more detailed discussions of these survey findings, see Bourque et al. (1991, 1993a, b).
John Archea (1990) interviewed 41 Santa Cruz residents who were in their homes at the time of the earthquake, obtaining detailed reconstructions of what people did during the shaking period. His preliminary data indicate that during the 10-to 12-second period of strong shaking, building occupants engaged in a variety of actions, including seeking refuge from moving and falling objects, simply staying as still as possible and "riding out" the shaking (likely equivalent to the "freezing in place" described in the Bourque/Goltz survey), attempting to protect property by bracing or propping it up, and trying to go outside. A few respondents were unable to initiate any action at all during the shaking. Archea observes that while the majority of those interviewed actively tried to protect themselves, "they also unwittingly took some risks to do so, and many were still at risk 10 or 12 seconds later when the shaking stopped."
Evidence from the Loma Prieta earthquake suggests that Bay Area residents were aware of what to do when an earthquake strikes and that even during the strong shaking period they were capable of making choices and taking actions to decrease their vulnerability. Public education programs are paying off. At the same time, the programs aren't reaching everyone who needs them, and some people continue to take unnecessary risks.
Reports on the distribution of various types of injuries differ somewhat due to differences in the data sources and classification systems used. Dr. Tierney (1991) reports that approximately 1,100 persons were seen in hospitals in the six-county area of impact for earthquake-related injuries and medical complaints
on the night of the earthquake; of this number, 73 percent were treated and released. Most of the injuries were not severe. Wounds, abrasions and contusions, fractures, and sprains and strains were the most commonly treated injuries, accounting for more than half of the total. Durkin et al. (1991), using data from the California Department of Industrial Relations and the Office of Emergency Services, found a similar pattern: strains, sprains, and contusions constituted 60 percent of the shaking-related injuries and 70 percent of the post-shaking injuries.
The survey conducted by Bourque, Goltz, and their colleagues after the earthquake sought data on the entire population in the affected area, rather than only persons who visited hospital emergency departments or made injury claims. In that study, a very small number of people in the randomly selected sample— 7 out of the 656 persons surveyed—reported having been injured in the earthquake. The likelihood of being injured was highest for residents of the hardest-hit areas of Santa Cruz County; about 3.3 percent of those surveyed in those areas reported having been injured (Bourque et al., 1993b). These rates of reported injury differ from those found by some investigators, as is discussed in more detail below. However, they are consistent with injury rates these same investigators found following the Whittier Narrows earthquake. 1 In the Whittier Narrows event, the injury rate was 26 per 1,000 residents in the area of severest earthquake shaking; in the Loma Prieta earthquake, the rate was 32.8 per 1,000 in the hardest-hit area of Santa Cruz County (Bourque et al., 1993b).
After the earthquake, a multidisciplinary team of researchers began collecting data on Santa Cruz County residents who died and who were treated at hospitals for earthquake-related injuries, as well as on a randomly selected control group matched by area of residence. The objective of the study was to identify risk factors for death and injury, as well as for injury severity. Based on earlier studies, the researchers hypothesized that such risk factors would include various attributes of the physical environment in which the individual was located at the time of the earthquake, such as building type; the behaviors undertaken by the individual, such as self-protective actions; whether the individual was able to move at the time of impact; sociodemographic characteristics of the individual, such as age; aspects of the setting at the time of impact, such as whether the individual was alone or with others; and other risk factors, such as whether the individual had pre-existing medical problems or disabilities. Data collection on this study is complete; data were obtained on 483 persons in the injured/killed sample and 701 persons in the control group. (For detailed discussions of analyses that have been conducted to date, see Jones et al., 1992, 1993 and Wagner et al., 1993).
Detailed findings are not yet available on specific risk factors, but this study has already provided some very useful information. For example, the data on when deaths and injuries occurred indicate that while the majority happened at the time of earthquake shaking, a rather high proportion—about 40 percent— occurred within the 72-hour time period after the earthquake, suggesting it may have been possible to prevent some of these later injuries, for example by issuing advisory warnings to the public. In conducting the population survey to obtain the "non-injured" control group, the investigators also found that 15 percent of those contacted reported actually having been injured in the earthquake, even though they did not seek hospital treatment for their injuries. A similar pattern is discussed in reports by Durkin et al. (1991) and Thiel et al. (1992), which indicate that as many as 60 percent of those with earthquake-related injuries either treated themselves or received treatment in non-hospital settings. These findings suggest that a substantial number of earthquake-related complaints were dealt with outside the formal health care system. They also raise the question why some injured persons elected to seek hospital treatment while others did not.
However, as noted earlier, the findings from studies on overall numbers and rates of injuries resulting from the Loma Prieta earthquake are not consistent. It is unclear why one survey (Bourque et al., 1993b) found that roughly 3 percent of respondents in the most severely affected communities in Santa Cruz County were injured, while another (Jones et al., 1992) suggested that the county-wide percentage may have exceeded 15 percent. Such discrepancies could be due to a number of factors: the wording of questions about injuries, how soon after the earthquake the surveys were conducted, the time period covered by the questions (e.g., during and immediately after the earthquake or after a longer period of time), the context within which the survey questions were asked, or the approaches used in establishing sampling frames and selecting samples.
With respect to the risk factors examined to date, data from the Santa Cruz injury study conducted by Jones and his collaborators indicate that being inside a building rather than outside when earthquake shaking began meant that a person had a 3.3 times greater risk of being injured. Studies using other data sets also reveal some intriguing patterns related to injury risk. Durkin et al. (1991) and Durkin and Thiel (1992), focusing on 18 earthquake fatalities and 325 injuries defined as "work-related," found that all but one of the fatalities were due to some form of structural failure.2 Of the injuries occurring during earthquake shaking that were not related to structural collapse, 26 percent were attributable to falls (particularly stairway falls), and 21 percent occurred when people were thrown against objects. Falling and overturning objects accounted for another 28 percent of the injuries. These researchers also found that taking protective
action (getting under a desk, standing in a doorway) was sometimes associated with injury, but those injuries tended to be minor. They suggest that while the recommended self-protective actions may enhance life safety in collapse-hazard situations, people who rush to protect themselves in other less hazardous settings may be increasing their risk of minor injury.3
Evacuation And Use Of Emergency Shelter
The earthquake caused many residents of the Bay Area to vacate their homes, either temporarily or permanently, and to seek various forms of emergency shelter. Bourque et al. (1993a, b) found that overall 22 percent of the respondents in their survey reported having evacuated for at least some period of time. Propensity to evacuate varied according to the severity of earthquake effects, with the highest proportion of residents (about 43 percent) evacuating in the heavily damaged areas of Santa Cruz County. Most of the respondents in this sample returned to their homes within 24 hours.
The study found that the tendency to evacuate was higher nearer the earthquake's epicenter and higher for respondents whose homes suffered damage. However, an important lesson this earthquake brought out is that physical earthquake effects such as damage and loss of utilities were by no means the sole factor explaining evacuation. Many people with such damage did not evacuate. A substantial proportion of those that did evacuate (up to half of the respondents in the five-county survey) reported doing so for reasons that were unrelated to physical damage levels, such as emotional upset, fear of aftershocks and further damage, and concern about the safety of their children.
As is the case in most disasters, the majority of evacuees made their own sheltering arrangements after the earthquake, mainly staying with friends and relatives or camping outside near their homes. Regarding "official" shelter use, Bolin and Stanford (1990) report that at the peak period 2,500 displaced persons were being provided with shelter nightly, about 20 percent of the estimated 12,000 to 13,000 left homeless. By the end of the third week after the earthquake, all but about 500 of those displaced were either relocated into temporary housing or were back in their homes.
Studies of the provision of temporary shelter after the Loma Prieta earthquake have revealed some interesting patterns with important policy implications. First, the research clearly shows that post-earthquake temporary shelter needs are closely related to a community's pre-earthquake housing problems.
For example, in the Loma Prieta earthquake, those most likely to be displaced were low-income persons, usually tenants, who had inhabited older, low-rent properties before the earthquake—properties that were already in poor condition and very short supply. Those people also needed to remain in shelters longer than is usually the case in U.S. disasters, because with so many units destroyed and uninhabitable, it was even more difficult after the earthquake for them to find suitable housing.4 Homelessness was already a problem in the Bay Area before the earthquake. The Loma Prieta earthquake damaged homeless shelters and a number of the single-room-occupancy hotels that are an important source of housing for the very poor, and as a result homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless were even worse off after the earthquake than before.
Second, although disaster assistance agencies may intend shelters to be used by disaster victims only, definitions of who constitutes a "victim" may differ. For example, in some communities affected by the earthquake, because there was already a significant homeless population and a shortage of housing, "pre-disaster homeless" persons attempted to utilize shelter facilities and other services. Some of these individuals did not meet the official eligibility requirements for disaster assistance. Although it was the position of the agencies that disaster aid was not meant to address what they considered pre-existing community problems, community groups argued that programs should try to meet the needs of everyone affected by a disaster, rather than defining eligibility in strict bureaucratic terms.5
Third, the Loma Prieta earthquake showed clearly that as the major metropolitan areas of the United States become increasingly ethnically and racially diverse as a consequence of immigration and other population trends, the population requiring post-disaster sheltering and other services will reflect that diversity. It will be necessary to tailor assistance programs to the needs of program users rather than delivering "generic" services in a standardized manner. (For more detailed discussions of housing issues, see Bolin and Stanford, 1990; Phillips, 1991; Phillips and Hutchins, 1991; and Bolin, 1993.)
Response To Aftershock Warnings
Following the M7.1 mainshock, numerous aftershocks occurred, and aftershock warnings continued to be issued to the public over a two-month period.
Dennis Mileti and Paul O'Brien studied how residents of San Francisco and Santa Cruz counties responded to these aftershock warnings. They found that most people were aware of the aftershock warnings, particularly in Santa Cruz County, and many respondents (66 percent in San Francisco County and 75 percent in Santa Cruz County) believed damaging aftershocks would occur. By two months after the earthquake, substantial numbers of people had taken one or more additional preparedness measures, such as protecting household items from damage, and again this tendency was more pronounced in Santa Cruz County. However, the people most likely to pay attention to and act on aftershock warnings were those who had experienced damage in the mainshock and who subsequently got involved in the community emergency response. People who weren't affected by the mainshock tended to do less in response to aftershock warnings, leading the researchers to conclude that:
Those who experience little or no loss in the impact of a disaster may be prone to a ''normalization bias'' when interpreting post-impact warnings for subsequent risk: "the first impact did not effect me negatively, therefore, subsequent impacts will also avoid me."
Mileti and O'Brien, 1992
Such a conclusion would, of course, be unwarranted, and future aftershock warning efforts should emphasize that point. (For further discussions, see O'Brien and Mileti, 1992; Mileti and O'Brien, 1992, 1993.)
RESPONSE OF GROUPS, OF ORGANIZATIONS, AND INTERORGANIZATIONAL NETWORKS
A disaster of the magnitude of the Loma Prieta earthquake causes the mobilization of a vast range of organizational and community resources; it is probably fair to say that at the peak of the emergency thousands of different organizations and tens of thousands of people were involved in the response. Obviously, it was not possible for researchers to collect data systematically on all the individuals and organizations that performed disaster-related tasks. However, certain aspects of the response were well-studied, and a considerable amount was learned about how some types of organizations handled disaster-generated demands and coordinated their activities. This section focuses on some of the more important groups, organizations, and networks that were involved in the emergency response, including emergent groups and volunteers, local first-response agencies, hospitals and emergency health-care providers, transportation networks, utility lifeline organizations, and governmental emergency-response agencies.
Emergent Groups And Volunteers
Researchers have long been aware that disasters are invariably accompanied by an increase in altruistic or pro-social behavior on the part of the public (Bar-
ton, 1970; Dynes, 1970; Drabek, 1986). The Loma Prieta earthquake was certainly no exception to this pattern. A survey conducted by O'Brien and Mileti (1993) with a representative sample of residents in Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties found that a large majority of residents in both counties—70 percent in Santa Cruz and 60 percent in San Francisco County—participated in some type of emergency response activity following the earthquake. Among the most widely reported activities were providing food and water for others (35 percent in Santa Cruz, 14 percent in San Francisco), helping with cleanup and debris removal (44 percent in Santa Cruz, 11 percent in San Francisco), providing shelter to others (18 percent in Santa Cruz, 12 percent in San Francisco); and providing counseling to victims (17 percent in Santa Cruz, 8 percent in San Francisco). Three percent of San Francisco respondents and about 5 percent of Santa Cruz respondents reported engaging in emergency search-and-rescue activities. Although these percentages seem small, when extrapolated to the entire population of those counties, they add up to more than 31,000 search and rescue volunteers. Clearly, the response by the public was massive following the Loma Prieta earthquake, and a large share of the assistance that was provided to victims was given through informal channels.
Groups composed wholly or partly of volunteers were a critical element in the emergency-response effort. Such groups ranged from organizations with formal, long-standing disaster responsibilities like the Red Cross to newly formed building-damage inspection crews and emergent search-and-rescue groups. Focusing specifically on the initial response to the Cypress structure collapse, Garcia et al. (1993) note that community residents were massively involved from the earliest moments after impact, rescuing trapped motorists, helping victims to safety, and giving first aid. These volunteers provided assistance that was desperately needed, often putting themselves at risk to do so. However, because the volunteer response was so large, coordination of volunteers became a major challenge.
No comprehensive research has been conducted on the formation, activities, and effectiveness of volunteer groups in the emergency-response period. However, Neal (1990a, b) was able to examine the activities of nine volunteer organizations in one community following the Loma Prieta earthquake. These organizations included the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, an amateur radio group, and a local volunteer coordinating council. Among Neal's conclusions were that volunteer organizations were relatively effective even though their activities were often not well-coordinated with those of local government. Effective task performance for this group of volunteer organizations was related to (1) the degree of prior disaster planning, (2) the degree of prior disaster experience, and (3) the degree to which the organization had established ties with other important community organizations before the earthquake.
Local Emergency-Response Activities
The mobilization of emergency resources following the Loma Prieta earthquake was massive, and, in most cases, the resources available far exceeded the actual demand. As the discussions below will indicate in more detail, except in those communities near the epicenter, such as Santa Cruz and Watsonville, the emergency-response system was not strained during the event, even during the period of peak demand on the night of the earthquake. However, the disruption and demands produced by the earthquake were sufficient to suggest where problems might develop in future earthquakes. Key emergency-response tasks are discussed briefly below.
Search And Rescue
No major analytic reports on search-and-rescue activities following the Loma Prieta earthquake have been released; the accounts published to date are mainly descriptive. However, based on existing reports, it appears that except for the large-scale organized effort that developed at the Cypress structure and smaller formal rescue actions undertaken in the Marina District in San Francisco and the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz, the majority of the search-and-rescue that took place following the earthquake was conducted informally by community residents. And even in the more formally organized efforts, residents of the damaged areas and other volunteers played a major role.
Descriptions of the extensive search-and-rescue operation that was undertaken at the Cypress structure can be found in the city of Oakland's Loma Prieta Earthquake After Action Report (1990), EERI's Reconnaissance Report (1990), and a report on the activities of the Oakland Fire Department by Garcia et al. (1993). Those documents make the following observations about that search-and-rescue effort:
There were major difficulties with interorganizational communication, because so many different responding agencies with different radio frequencies were involved.
Convergence of personnel, vehicles, and equipment made management and coordination of search-and-rescue difficult at times.
Convergence by the mass media also created problems.
An overall Incident Command System was difficult to institute, because so many different agencies responded, and many responders were either unfamiliar with the system or used different versions.
Rescue operations were hindered initially because of the lack of heavy rescue equipment and portable lighting.
Community residents, ranging from persons living in the immediate vicinity to contractors and other individuals with specialized equipment, volun-
teered in the search-and-rescue effort in large numbers. Their contributions were extremely valuable, but because of the sheer number of people wanting to provide assistance, coordination problems did occur.
Emergency Medical Services (Ems)
Hospitals, ambulance companies, EMS agencies, and other emergency medical care providers were the subject of considerable study following the Loma Prieta earthquake. Despite the fact that several components of the EMS system were damaged and disrupted by the earthquake, overall response capacity was not compromised. Major damage was confined to a small number of hospital facilities near the epicenter; Watsonville Community Hospital was particularly hard hit but remained functional (for detailed information on damage, see EERI, 1990). Nonstructural damage to hospitals was widespread in the area of impact, but the damage by and large was not severe enough to interfere with patient care. Of the various components of the emergency medical care system, communications facilities such as the "911" dispatching centers were perhaps the most seriously affected by the earthquake. Difficulties with EMS communications and dispatching stemmed from a variety of sources: earthquake-induced power failures; damage to the buildings in which the facilities were housed; damage to critical equipment, such as computers; loss of computer-aided dispatching capability; disruptions in communications (particularly phone communications) between the centers and the outside community; damage to message-transmission facilities; and excess radio traffic (EERI, 1990; Tierney, 1991).
In their study on the operations of the "911" communications center in Santa Cruz County, Durkin et al. (1991) found that while the volume of calls was much higher than normal on the night of the earthquake and record-keeping suffered as a result, EMS personnel were able to respond to all requests for assistance. When dispatched into the field that night, emergency workers adjusted to the increased demand in several ways:
several patients were treated and released by the EMS crews;
multiple individuals were transported in one run to a hospital;
patients were directed to other means 'of transport if available; and
no action was taken when the crew determined that their services were not critical.
There was an unusually high number of cases where the ambulance arrived and found that other medical resources were already on the scene (Durkin et al., 1991).
The victims transported by EMS personnel during the emergency period were less seriously injured than those normally seen, requests for emergency assistance were extremely high only on the night of the earthquake, and the demand for EMS services dropped back to normal levels within about three days.
Ambulance personnel were available in very large numbers throughout the Bay Area on the night of the earthquake; in fact, there was an oversupply of emergency vehicles, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians in most of the damaged areas. Off-duty staff reported to area hospitals immediately following impact, and hospital personnel who were surveyed after the earthquake indicated that personnel and resources were more than adequate to deal with the medical problems that were seen (Tierney, 1991; Pointer et al., 1992).
The emergency medical care system functioned well in the earthquake, largely because (1) system capability was quite high in the area affected by the earthquake, as indicated by the quantity and quality of EMS resources; (2) essential health care resources survived the earthquake well, while flexible and redundant system components compensated for damaged and disrupted elements; and (3) the earthquake produced a comparatively small number of casualties relative to system capability, and most of the medical complaints that resulted were not severe (Tierney, 1991). However, the earthquake also showed there is a need to improve the ability of EMS systems to handle greatly increased numbers of calls, to determine rapidly which of those callers have the greatest need for specialized emergency services, and to allocate resources to the areas of greatest need (Thiel et al., 1992). Many of those who went to hospitals and requested emergency assistance from other EMS providers did not have injuries and medical problems severe enough to require those specialized resources. More attention needs to be paid to how large numbers of minor injuries will be handled in future earthquake events, particularly catastrophic earthquakes. Such efforts will obviously have to involve educating the public not to use emergency resources for non-emergencies.
Early Identification of Problem Areas. Early efforts to identify the areas that had been hardest hit in the Loma Prieta earthquake were complicated by the fact that communications were sporadic and the information available to response agencies was incomplete. Initial media reports greatly overestimated the number killed and injured, and by focusing on dramatic instances of damage the media (particularly television) gave the impression that the earthquake produced widespread destruction. The reports highlighted the damage in media-accessible areas such as the Marina District; underrepresented the losses in smaller, more remote areas such as Santa Cruz and Watsonville; and failed to put the amount of damage that had been done into perspective (Rogers et al., 1990).
Since media reporting is known to be selective, it is not advisable to rely on mass media reports of disaster impacts. However, in the absence of solid data, the initial impressions that were formed about the extent and location of the damage following the Loma Prieta earthquake—both by the general public and by emergency responders—were heavily influenced by media accounts. For
example, local officials in Santa Cruz County, seeing the Marina District fires and the Bay Bridge damage on television, assumed the devastation was so widespread it was pointless to ask for resources from other counties (City of Watsonville, 1990).
Evaluation of Damaged Buildings. Systematic damage assessment to identify potentially unsafe structures began very soon after impact. Loma Prieta was the first earthquake in which the Applied Technology Council's Procedure for Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings (ATC-20) was used on a broad scale for this purpose.6 Oaks (1990), focusing on how the evaluation process worked in San Francisco following the earthquake, makes several observations. First, aftershocks complicated the damage-assessment process, often making multiple inspections necessary; most red- and yellow-tagged buildings were reinspected an average of four times during the first week. Second, the damage caused by the earthquake also exposed asbestos in many of the buildings, which engendered controversy. Third, because the cost of evaluations must be borne by the property owner and decisions about what to do with buildings take time to make, the evaluation process for some damaged structures tended to get drawn out over time. Fourth, the damage-assessment process sparked landlord-tenant disputes, for example, when tenants were unwilling or unable to reoccupy buildings or when landlords used the earthquake as an occasion to evict tenants. Fifth, ATC-20 focuses on evaluating buildings but contains no directives for organizing and managing that evaluation effort—a monumental undertaking in a major earthquake.7
The damage assessment process and uncertainty about the safety of structures contributed to the ongoing need for shelter:
Because of the ever-changing conditions, great resources were required in terms of time and personnel to carry out the reinspections and reassessments. The changing conditions also contributed to many social, economic, and legal problems that occurred as people were unable to continue to live in their homes or pursue their means of livelihood. For example, until buildings were inspected and considered safe for occupancy, it was uncertain if people could reinhabit certain structures. As a result, neighborhood and city resources faced demands for emergency sheltering.
Oaks (1990) notes that despite these difficulties damage assessment activities in San Francisco went quite smoothly. This was due in large measure to the fact that there were so many trained, qualified persons ready to work as inspec
tors and because of the involvement of organizations like the Office of Emergency Services Volunteer Engineer Program and the California Association of Building Officials. Other evaluations of the ATC-20 process (e.g., California SSC, 1991) were also positive. The Loma Prieta earthquake clearly showed that the management of damage-assessment activities is a critical task in the emergency-response period. However, it also raises the question of whether other communities would be able to handle the task as well as those in the Bay Area.
Response Of Public Transportation Networks
The collapse of the Cypress structure and the closing of the Bay Bridge and two other major San Francisco highways due to earthquake damage seriously disrupted transportation patterns in the Bay Area. San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Area in general faced the possibility of spiraling economic losses unless alternative modes of transportation could be developed to compensate for the loss of these key routes. Bay Area transportation agencies had not been involved in earthquake-preparedness planning to any great degree prior to the Loma Prieta earthquake. After the earthquake, these agencies became involved in intensive efforts to devise new transportation modes and routes that would bypass damaged connections in the system. Several hundred individuals and more than a dozen transportation agencies (including Bay Area Rapid Transit, Alameda/Contra Costa Transit, San Mateo County Transit, San Francisco Municipal Bus, the Golden Gate Bridge and Transit Services, and private ferry companies) participated in this effort. The system of transportation that was developed following the earthquake was especially critical during the first month after the earthquake, when the Bay Bridge remained closed. The existence of coordinating agencies like the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Transit Operators Coordinating Council, and the Regional Transit Association, as well as the fact that the various transportation agencies had a history of working together before the earthquake, helped the improvised system to get organized rapidly.
The Loma Prieta earthquake was in many respects a "lifeline disaster." Among the most dramatic examples of lifeline impacts were the collapse of the Cypress structure; the closures of the Bay Bridge, major highways in San Francisco, and Highway 17 due to damage; the loss of water for firefighting in the Marina District; and the damage to the Moss Landing electric-power substation. The major lifeline organizations in the Bay Area are highly prepared for disasters, particularly earthquakes. Many lifeline organizations had also been engaged in earthquake-hazard-mitigation activities prior to the earthquake that reduced damage and disruption. The high level of emergency preparedness was the principle reason why it was possible to restore lifeline services so rapidly after the earthquake. Large lifeline service providers like Pacific Gas and Elec-
tric documented their emergency-response activities extensively and produced after-action reports discussing lessons learned in the earthquake (see, for example, Phillips and Virostek, 1990). These reports are an important resource for both utilities and local governments seeking to improve their response capability.
Chapter 5 focuses on lifelines in depth, so-they will not be discussed in detail here. One lesson that does warrant emphasis, however, is that many emergency-response activities depend upon lifeline systems in order to be effective, and lifeline damage can thus seriously impact community response capability. Isenberg (1992), for example, has documented the ways damage to lifelines affected emergency-response capacity in Watsonville after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Because of the loss of electrical power, for example, the city's emergency communications center could not function; it was difficult to pump gasoline from underground tanks; in order to get power, extensive use had to be made of emergency generators, which created additional problems; and hospital operations were adversely affected.
A related lesson from the Loma Prieta earthquake involves the extent to which the various lifeline services are interdependent. Electrical power is perhaps the most crucial service, because so many other lifelines need power in order to operate. Because lifeline services are so important to the overall community response, it is critical that linkages be maintained between lifeline organizations and local community officials for both pre-disaster preparedness and post-disaster response. Similarly, lifeline interdependence requires that the organizations providing different lifeline services engage in joint preparedness planning and coordinate their emergency activities.8
Local And State Emergency-Response Agencies
The earthquake did damage over an 8,000-square-kilometer area with a population of about 4 million people; six counties and dozens of local jurisdictions were affected. Except for large-scale multijurisdictional efforts like the Cypress structure search and the activation of some mutual aid agreements, jurisdictions generally handled their own emergency-response problems without much outside assistance. No systematic research was conducted on the effectiveness of local emergency-management systems following the Loma Prieta earthquake. However, many jurisdictions and organizations developed their own assessments of how well emergency tasks were performed and outlined the lessons they had learned (County of Santa Cruz, 1990; City of Watsonville, 1990; City of Oak
land, 1990). Hearings conducted by the California Seismic Safety Commission in affected jurisdictions also focused on emergency-response issues and problems (see California SSC, 1991).
The report of the State/Federal Hazard Mitigation Survey Team (1990) identified the following response-related needs that were highlighted by the Loma Prieta earthquake:
formal procedures for the federal response to a major but not catastrophic earthquake;
more-specific planning to assign responsibility for all Emergency Support Functions in the Federal Response Plan;
policies and criteria to enable federal and state agencies to provide automatic assistance to local jurisdictions for time-critical response elements;
a model emergency-management structure and procedures, common to local, state, and federal response agencies;
enhanced communications systems at the federal, state, and local levels;
a systematic approach to collecting data on damage;
a model resource-tracking system for state and local jurisdictions;
the identification of staging areas for various resources;
the establishment of regional planning groups (e.g., in the Bay Area) to address response-related issues of regional concern;
emergency medical service mutual aid agreements for the Office of Emergency Services regions, and a mutual aid plan for the provision of emergency fuel;
efforts to address regional emergency transportation planning;
increases in a broad range of emergency resources: generators, fuel supplies, search-and-rescue equipment, medical supplies;
lists of federal, state, and local personnel who are capable of performing post-earthquake building inspections;
increased capacity to provide short-term shelter to earthquake victims; and
increased capacity to provide timely public information in earthquake situations.
The Seismic Safety Commission's report Loma Prieta's Call to Action (California SSC, 1991), which was developed with input from officials in several hard-hit communities, makes a number of observations and recommendations in the area of emergency response that warrant mention here:
Local capabilities were sufficient to meet emergency-response needs, but this does not mean the Bay Area is ready for a larger earthquake.
Earthquake-preparedness planning, disaster drills, and related activities helped local jurisdictions respond more effectively.
The lack of accurate information about which areas were most severely
affected hampered the emergency response in the early hours and made some jurisdictions hesitant to request outside resources.
A significant number of law enforcement, medical, and fire resources were provided through mutual aid agreements, and these arrangements generally worked well.
The State Office of Emergency Services should be authorized to send resources to areas impacted by an earthquake automatically, regardless of whether local jurisdictions make specific requests.
Guidance is needed on how to manage post-earthquake damage-assessment activities.
California's emergency management system should be expanded and improved, and "a standardized Emergency Management System" should be developed for all governmental emergency organizations.
Training of emergency managers and responders needs greater emphasis.
Although areas needing improvement are noted, the tone of the report is positive. It emphasizes the continuing need to overcome well-known barriers to better emergency management: budget shortages, the uneven quality of local emergency-management resources (e.g., emergency operations centers, communications equipment) and personnel, the use of inconsistent planning frameworks across local jurisdictions, limited state authority to mandate preparedness activities, and cumbersome rules about requesting and providing resources in disasters.
In light of what occurred in Florida following Hurricane Andrew, it is interesting to note that both the Seismic Safety Commission report and the Hazard Mitigation Team report stress the need for mechanisms to ensure the automatic provision of aid, bypassing the requirement that local jurisdictions (or states) must formally request resources from higher governmental levels in emergency situations.
In July of 1991, the Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project convened a symposium to bring together officials from the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles to discuss lessons the Bay Area cities learned from the Loma Prieta earthquake and to determine whether Los Angeles's planning assumptions needed to be modified on the basis of the Loma Prieta experience. The conference focused on five main areas of concern: managing the disaster response, issues related to public works, emergency shelter and housing, financial issues, and community and business preparedness. The report on the joint symposium (Governor's Office of Emergency Services, 1992) contains dozens of findings and specific recommendations on such topics as the management of human resources in the disaster-response period, coordination with the mass media, damage assessment and control of access to damaged sites, interagency coordination, debris removal, demolition, code changes, emergency shelter and housing recovery policy, and financing mitigation and preparedness. Clearly,
these three cities learned many lessons from the Loma Prieta experience and are currently using that experience to enhance emergency management policy and planning.
Preparations for a major earthquake had been extensive throughout California for many years, but the event itself did contain a number of unexpected elements. The federal government, already overextended as a consequence of Hurricane Hugo only three weeks before, understandably had some difficulty organizing another major assistance effort in California. State and local governments faced a very challenging situation: a major earthquake affecting a large, densely populated, multijurisdictional region. Obviously, the event required considerable intergovernmental coordination. Like local emergency-response activities generally, intergovernmental coordination was not the subject of intensive study following the earthquake, but it was addressed in some reports. In one study that focused on the emergency response to both Hurricane Hugo and the Loma Prieta earthquake, Schneider characterizes intergovernmental coordination in the earthquake as reasonably effective but somewhat disorganized:
Despite greater general preparedness, some officials still had difficulty coping with the disaster... local officials often were not familiar with their responsibilities or with the role of other government agencies. Some expected the federal government to do everything. More commonly, local officials tried to do things that FEMA (or some other federal agency) was supposed to do. Their actions seemed appropriate and necessary at the time, but they disrupted the functioning of the intergovernmental system.
Following Hurricane Hugo and the Loma Prieta earthquake, the U.S. General Accounting Office undertook a study of the performance of federal government agencies in disaster response and relief activities. Much of the report focuses on federal activities and responsibilities related to recovery, but emergency-response issues are also touched upon. The report assesses the response favorably, noting that ''California's level of preparedness contributed to its ability to respond to the earthquake with relatively few problems'' and that "A FEMA exercise that tested the catastrophic earthquake plan—two months before the earthquake—contributed greatly to a well-coordinated response" (GAO, 1991). But the report goes on to identify ways in which the response effort might have been improved, pointing out that standard operating procedures for state emergency-operations centers were inadequate or lacking; that many federal agencies did not have sufficient staff available to perform critical functions adequately; that FEMA's emphasis on war preparedness left many staff ill-prepared to provide services in disasters; and that in providing emergency assistance, the Red
Cross by its own admission was "culturally insensitive to victims, and did not have appropriate bilingual skills to serve some communities." The report argues that deficiencies in the emergency response may be due to the fact that there is no government agency (at the federal or any other level) that can monitor preparedness activities and require local jurisdictions to perform their response-related roles effectively.
Research on the public and organizational response to the Loma Prieta earthquake reemphasized many old lessons. Among these lessons are that disasters create an outpouring of altruism, but this massive response can in itself create coordination problems; that people behave adaptively in disaster situations, and public education can improve their chances of remaining safe; that when organizations show a real commitment to disaster preparedness, those preparedness efforts increase organizational effectiveness when disaster strikes; and that disasters invariably produce unexpected challenges for responders, calling for flexibility and the willingness to develop innovative solutions.
At the same time, the Loma Prieta earthquake also pointed to emerging problems and needs in the emergency-response area. It pointed out, for example, that as communities in the United States change and become more culturally diverse, organized efforts to provide assistance to disaster victims must also change to accommodate that diversity. It showed that when disasters exacerbate pre-existing community problems, such as housing shortages and homelessness, agencies need to have policies in place to address those problems and to be willing to innovate. The earthquake also revealed the need for better coordination among the various levels of government, particularly mechanisms to enable agencies to dispense with red tape and facilitate the deployment of resources to areas where they can do the most good. Additionally, it highlighted the fact that while some communities and states are extremely well prepared to respond in major emergencies, many others are not. With so many lives and so much property at risk, it is imperative to further explore policy mechanisms that would maintain the capacity of those states and localities May (1991) terms the "leaders" in hazard reduction, while enhancing the capacity of the "laggers."
Finally, perhaps the most important lesson of the Loma Prieta earthquake is that the investment made in mitigation and preparedness pays off. The earthquake showed that the Bay Area has made impressive progress in improving its ability to reduce damage and to cope with the problems created by earthquakes. But it would be a mistake to extrapolate from the Loma Prieta experience to larger events that the Bay Area's faults could produce. Rather than creating complacency, the earthquake should serve as a warning for what the Bay Area, other parts of California, and other earthquake-prone areas of the country can expect in future events. It should also serve as a sobering reminder to communi-
ties in California and around the country that still have not made a commitment to reducing earthquake hazards. They can expect many more severe problems in earthquakes comparable to Loma Prieta, and they may be truly devastated by larger ones.
I wish to thank Linda B. Bourque for her comments on an earlier draft of this report and the staff at the National Clearinghouse for Loma Prieta Earthquake Information at the Earthquake Engineering Research Center for making their reference files available. Ron Eguchi, Tom Tobin, and Shirley Mattingly provided important documents and other information that helped me in compiling this review.
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Barton, A.H. 1970. Communities in Disaster: A Sociological Analysis of Collective Stress Situations. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company.
Bolin, R. (Ed). 1990. The Loma Prieta Earthquake: Studies of Short-Term Impacts. Boulder. CO: Program on Environment and Behavior, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Monograph #50.
Bolin, R. 1993. Post-Earthquake Shelter and Housing: Research Findings and Policy Implications. Pp. 107-131 in Monograph 5: Socioeconomic Impacts, K.J. Tierney and J.M. Nigg, eds. Monograph prepared for the 1993 National Earthquake Conference. Memphis, TN: Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium.
Bolin, R., and L. Stanford. 1990. Shelter and Housing Issues in Santa Cruz County. Pp. 99-108 in The Loma Prieta Earthquake: Studies of Short-Term Impacts, R. Bolin, ed. Boulder, CO: Program on Environment and Behavior, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Monograph #50.
Bolton, P.A. (Ed). 1993. The Loma Prieta, California Earthquake of October 17, 1989—Public Response. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1553-B. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. For sale by Book and Open-File Report Sales, USGS, Denver, CO.
Bourque, L.B., C.S. Aneshensel, and J.D. Goltz. 1991. Injury and Psychological Distress Following the Whittier Narrows and Loma Prieta Earthquakes. Paper presented at the International Conference on the Impact of Natural Disasters, Los Angeles, CA, July.
Bourque, L.B., L.A. Russell, and J.D. Goltz. 1993a. Human Behavior During and Immediately After the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Pp. B3-B22 in The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989—Public Response, P. Bolton, ed. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1553-B. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. For sale by Book and Open-File Report Sales, USGS, Denver, CO.
Bourque, L.B., L.A. Russell, and J.D. Goltz. 1993b. (Forthcoming.) Experiences During and Response to the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Los Angeles, CA: School of Public Health. University of California, Los Angeles. Draft report to the Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project.
California SSC. 1990. Planning for the Next One: Transcripts of Hearings on the Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 17, 1989. Sacramento, CA: California Seismic Safety Commission.
California SSC. 1991. Loma Prieta's Call to Action. Sacramento, CA: California Seismic Safety Commission.
City of Oakland. 1990. Loma Prieta Earthquake After Action Report. Oakland, CA: Oakland Office of Emergency Services.
City of Watsonville. 1990. Local Hazard Mitigation Plan: October 17, 1989 Earthquake. Watsonville, CA: City of Watsonville.
County of Santa Cruz. 1990. Executive Summary: Self-Evaluation of the Emergency Response to the Earthquake of October 17. 1989. County of Santa Cruz: Office of Emergency Services.
Drabek, T.E. 1986. Human System Responses to Disaster: An Inventory of Sociological Findings. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Durkin, M.E, and C.C. Thiel. 1992. Improving Measures to Reduce Earthquake Casualties. Earthquake Spectra. 8:95-113.
Durkin, M.E, C.C. Thiel, J.E. Schneider, and T. DeVriend. 1991. Injuries and Emergency Medical Response in the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 81:2143-2166.
Dynes, R.R. 1970. Organized Behavior in Disaster. Lexington, MA: Heath Lexington Books.
EERI. 1990. Loma Prieta Earthquake Reconnaissance Report. Earthquake Spectra, Supplement to Volume 6. Oakland, CA: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.
GAO. 1991. Disaster Assistance: Federal, State, and Local Responses to Natural Disasters Need Improvement. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office. Report No. GAO/RCED-91-43.
Garcia. R., N. Honeycutt, and C. Van Anne. 1993. (Forthcoming.) The First Day's Response by the Oakland Fire Department to the Loma Prieta Earthquake: The Cypress Freeway Collapse. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper Series.
Governor's Office of Emergency Services. 1992. Proceedings: Joint Symposium on Earthquake Hazard Management in Urban Areas. Oakland: Office of Emergency Services, Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project.
Isenberg, J. 1992. Performance of Lifelines and Emergency Response in Watsonville, CA to the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Pp. 381-390 in Proceedings of the 4th U. S.-Japan Workshop on Earthquake Disaster Prevention for Lifeline Systems, Los Angeles, Aug. 19-21, 1991. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. U.S. Department of Commerce. National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 840.
Jones, N.P., R. Wagner, G.S. Smith, and F. Krimgold. 1992. A Case-Control Study of the Casualties Associated with the Loma Prieta Earthquake: County of Santa Cruz. Pp. 6253-6258 in Proceedings of the Tenth World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Madrid, Spain, July 19-24.
Jones, N.P., E.K. Noji, G.S. Smith, and R.M. Wagner. 1993. Casualty in Earthquakes . Pp. 19-68 in Monograph 5: Socioeconomic Impacts, K.J. Tierney and J.M. Nigg, eds. Monograph prepared for the 1993 National Earthquake Conference. Memphis, TN: Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium.
May, P.J. 1991. Addressing Public Risks: Federal Earthquake Policy Design. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 10:263-285.
Mileti. D.S., and P.W. O'Brien. 1992. Warnings During Disaster: Normalizing Communicated Risk. Social Problems 39:40-57.
Mileti, D.S., and P.W. O'Brien. 1993. Public Response to Aftershock Warnings. Pp. B31-B41 in The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989—Public Response, P. Bolton, ed. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1553-B. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. For sale by Book and Open-File Report Sales, USGS, Denver, CO.
National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. 1992. Findings and Recommendations: Symposium on Policy Issues in the Provision of Post-Earthquake Shelter and Housing. Proceedings of conference held in Santa Cruz, CA, Jan. 26-28, 1992.
Neal, D.M. 1990a. Volunteer Organizations in Disaster: Response and Effectiveness Following the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Final Report for the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado. Denton, TX: Department of Sociology, University of North Texas.
Neal, D.M. 1990b. Volunteer Organization Responses to the Earthquake. Pp. 91-98 in The Loma Prieta Earthquake: Studies of Short-Term Impacts, R. Bolin, ed. Boulder, CO: Program on Environment and Behavior, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Monograph #50.
Oaks, S.D. 1990. The Damage Assessment Process: The Application of ATC 20. Pp. 6-15 in The Loma Prieta Earthquake: Studies of Short-Term Impacts, R. Bolin, Ed. Boulder, CO: Program on Environment and Behavior, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Monograph #50.
O'Brien, P.W., and D.S. Mileti. 1992. Public Response to Warnings of Loma Prieta Aftershocks. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. San Francisco, CA, February.
O'Brien, P.W., and D.S. Mileti. 1993. Citizen Participation in Emergency Response. Pp. B23-B30 in The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989—Public Response, P. Bolton, ed. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1553-B. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. For sale by Book and Open-File Report Sales, USGS, Denver, CO.
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DISCUSSANTS' COMMENTS: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE
Henry Renteria, City Of Oakland
Kathleen Tierney says that the most important lesson learned from this earthquake was the importance of the investment in mitigation and preparedness—I totally agree with that. I will try to give you a view from the local government perspective.
For a manager, the biggest problems in a disaster always come from the unknown, yet the unknown is usually staring you in the face. After the Loma Prieta earthquake, local governments' biggest problem was shelter—how to deal with the pre-existing homeless problem in Oakland. In the Oakland Hills' fire-storm, it was the unmanaged vegetation in the hills, the drought, and the weather conditions—pre-existing conditions that happened on a regular basis. It is necessary to look into communities, see what problems exist now, and ask how they will be exacerbated during the earthquake.
The Citizens of Oakland Respond to Emergencies program was put into place after the earthquake and was in place for the firestorm. It is patterned after the Los Angeles Fire Department program that Dr. Tierney referred to. The program goes into neighborhoods to train people to do preparedness and response activities. These trained groups (there are 5,000 people who have completed two of the three training modules and 400 who have completed all) are now a support service to police and fire. This trained group is a step above the "emergent" volunteer that needs to be managed. There will still be emergent volunteers, and so there must be a program that will manage those people—like a volunteer reception center.
To plan for emergency shelter, it is important to know the population—know what groups exist in the jurisdiction and their needs—dietary requirements, social issues, and the counseling and support needed in a major event. Include people and community-based organizations (nonprofit social service agencies and church congregation groups) into the planning process. If possible, identify an umbrella organization that these agencies work with. Prior to the earthquake, these groups were not involved, which hurt the Bay Area communities in the long-run. They must be part of the emergency planning and emergency-management organization.
The role of the media in a disaster is very important. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Have a media policy that spells out how the media will be dealt with before, during, and after a major event.
In the Bay Area, the emergency medical system is yet to be tested. The disasters that have occurred have not been major medical response events, but multi-casualty events. They were able to be handled well. The hospitals that could have been lost if the earthquake had lasted another 15 or 20 seconds or had
been one magnitude higher survived. In Oakland, in particular, all of the hospitals are centered around one area and we anticipate a major loss of medical support in a major event. So the local government is working very closely with the county personnel responsible for emergency medical issues to establish casualty collection points and staging areas where medical and first-aid services can be offered.
I know Richard Ross is probably going to mention SP18-41 and the ability to use a standardized system of emergency management, but it is important that we all respond using the same language, terminology, and the same management techniques. Local preparedness also needs to include response and recovery.
This disaster woke up the population. Last June a special bond measure passed by 70 percent of the voting public to raise $50 million for emergency preparedness. This critical money will be used to retrofit essential facilities and to purchase search-and-rescue equipment, above-ground fire-fighting portable-hydrant systems, and other emergency-response equipment. The measure will also fund part of the Citizens of Oakland Respond to Emergencies program, which will continue to train a reserve force for the police and fire first-responders in Oakland.
Finally, the bigger the disaster, the greater the need for regional planning and preparedness. Involve organizations within a jurisdiction—local districts, businesses, churches, community-based organizations—as well as neighboring cities, counties, and states.
Richard D. Ross, Missouri Emergency Management Agency
It is very nice to be here with so many researchers and engineers—especially for those of us who are social scientists. In the Midwest and the mid-South, we social scientists have 150 years of research, without one result ever being leaked. We finally got around to the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium a few years ago, and have had some real successes in the last decade—many of them plagiarized from our good friends in California. We are grateful for your support and assistance to our work.
In the mid-United States, the gross issues are being dealt with—rather than the very real, and oft times, discrete building, coordination, training, and response and recovery issues so well done in California. The inconsistencies of dealing with seven states and their ever-changing leadership, goals, and cooperation regarding earthquake issues are also difficult. The continuity of effort really rests with the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, the states, local governments, and a very responsible private sector.
Dr. Tierney's analysis spoke to systems redundancy—the Bay Area's capability to quickly reorganize traffic patterns throughout the area to allow businesses to get back on line and to allow the citizenry to return to some normalcy. In
the middle states, this redundancy in roads, bridges, and public transportation systems is lacking.
Dr. Tierney's research may have more value for the middle states than for the earthquake sophisticates gathered here from California. I would expect to have this paper placed on the desks of state and local officials and to have that result in actions. Some of the issues not well addressed in the mid-United States, but critical in Dr. Tierney's paper, include: the evacuation issues; low-income and tenant issues; major social issues that the Stafford Act never envisioned (such as long-term shelter for those already homeless); the positive contributions of neighbors, friends, and family in response and clean-up; the need for better integration of local voluntary organizations into local plans and exercises: the challenges presented by the various esoteric telecommunications systems; the rationing of scarce resources; and issues of post-earthquake damage assessment of buildings and other structures.
Finally, emergency management, even in California, is local—communities succeed or fail based upon their capabilities. The state and the federal agencies frankly, fill gaps. Dr. Tierney mentioned the need to strengthen emergency-management programs throughout the country. There is, to this day, little funding for emergency management. Half of the in-state funding in the country for emergency management is found right here in California. And I'm sure that Dr. Richard Andrews would tell you that it does not meet the needs of the citizenry here.
We in the National Emergency Management Association are working on an initiative (in conjunction with the National Governors' Association) at this time for more meaningful mitigation programs. Most programs have been very modest and limited in geographic scope. There are few to no statewide or regional programs in mitigation. The concept of a multihazard mitigation and insurance program is to provide multihazard insurance on standard household policies, provide mitigation funds to all states and territories, and ensure that the insurance industry can continue to make insurance available regardless of the severity of disasters.
Richard Andrews, Governor's Office Of Emergency Services
It is a pleasure to be here. In particular, I would like to thank my colleagues from Tennessee and Missouri, because they represent the kind of national dialogue about emergency management that has emerged in the last decade. This kind of discussion did not exist ten years ago. I would also like to thank the organizers of this conference for placing emergency response and disaster preparedness into a plenary session.
Dr. Tierney has done a marvelous job of summarizing a great deal of research that is of importance to those of us in emergency management. The old stereotype of emergency management—that it is a discipline of ex-military peo-
ple who are only interested in doing the same thing over and over again—has long since passed from the scene. Here in California, for example, much of the research that Dr. Tierney cited was done in the Office of Emergency Services. Many emergency officials now come from the research community and pay attention to research.
Of all the research that was reported on today, the most promising and interesting are the studies of the epidemiology of injuries. It is very suggestive for the kinds of policies that need to be put in place—particularly the information about the large number of injuries that occurred in the 72-hour period after the earthquake. Emergency-management organizations need to factor this more into their planning.
The Loma Prieta earthquake showed that emergency shelter is really an emergency-response issue—it is not a recovery issue. It must be undertaken immediately and there must be a strategy. Emergency shelter and earthquake aftershocks are closely linked. In these large events, the aftershock problem can be more severe than the problem of the initial shock. It has a tremendous psychological impact upon those who have experienced the event—many of the mental health problems that have been seen (especially in children) are the consequence of the aftershocks.
The role of the media is more complicated than simply whether the media initially reports (accurately) on the disaster and whether those reports should be guides for emergency management. The presence of the media affects the nature of the disaster—and not always in the same way. In Hurricane Andrew, some of the problems that the state of Florida experienced were in part because the media underestimated the impact. In the case of the Los Angeles riots, the media in the first hours showed repeatedly that there was no police presence. This clearly exacerbated and contributed to the contagion of riot and civil disorder over the first night and into the second day. The Governor's Office of Emergency Services has done a good job working with the media on the office's preparedness efforts, but the media are not sensitive to the way they effect the nature of the disaster.
A "report card" on some of the issues that Dr. Tierney cited, and things that have been done since October 17, 1989, follows: FEMA has instituted a national Search And Rescue program, using a system that was developed here in California. There are now 25 interdisciplinary search-and-rescue teams more or less in place across the country—eight of them in California. They are trained and equipped and have responded (California units to Hurricane Iniki).
After the Whittier earthquake in 1987, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services contracted with the Applied Technology Council to develop the ATC-20 post-earthquake safety inspection guidelines. The office had completed training for engineers and others in the Bay Area about two weeks before the Loma Prieta earthquake. After the events, the office found that there was a tremendous management problem and has since hired a full-time engineer who works with
them to oversee the ATC-20 process. The Office of Emergency Services signed a formal memorandum of understanding with the California Building Officials organization to also participate in this—so there is more confidence that the system is even more effective than it was in 1989.
There is a communication problem and a lack of accurate initial damage assessments. Utilizing state funds ($9 million) allocated by the legislature after the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services is putting into place a satellite-based emergency communication system (OASIS, Operational Area Satellite Information System). This system links state emergency centers with each county in the state as well as the principal scientific institutions and the FEMA Region IX headquarters. As part of this effort, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services is also developing the procedures to be used by local jurisdictions to report damages from earthquakes and other events. Four counties have served as prototypes to develop the procedures. Through the OASIS project (both the communication and software sides), the office is working to more aggressively provide assistance from the state and other allied jurisdictions when major disasters occur.
In January 1993, California enacted a bill that establishes a mandatory statewide emergency-management system to be used by all agencies and jurisdictions in all multijurisdictional emergencies. The effort is to insure a standardized system with standard terminology, based on the Incident Command System and the Multi-Agency Coordination System (first developed by the fire services in California). The bill has teeth—if you experience a major emergency, and don't use the standardized system, you will not be eligible for public reimbursement from the state of California.
Recovery needs to be mentioned as an emergency-response issue. It is an area where a lot needs to be done. The relationship between the engineering and public policy communities must be strengthened for dealing with partially damaged buildings. It is inexcusable that there are major buildings not rebuilt, three years after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Much of this is directly related to the lack of engineering consensus about what should be done.
On the issue of earthquake insurance, the legislature passed a California Earthquake Insurance Program—which was just now repealed. There are lessons here that must be factored into a national-level program. While the idea of pre-funding disaster assistance is a very laudable goal and the idea of mitigation is one with which everyone agrees, the practicality of how to do that effectively still needs much work.
Lacy Suiter, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
I appreciate the opportunity to be here today. We in the central United States do appreciate all the lessons we have learned from California over the years. I would like to report what has happened in a small way. Memphis has
made a lot of progress in readiness to respond to the emergency itself. However, we have not done as much as we need to in retrofitting buildings, codes, and other activities.
On December 8, 1990, there was an exercise being conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. It was frightening to go through that event—which included the chief of staff to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and others—because we realized that no one knew what it would take to recover from a $50-$100 billion disaster. The Stafford Act will not work for recovery from a catastrophic disaster. We also saw the lack of emphasis in the area of hazard reduction.
James Lee Witt has been nominated to be the director of FEMA by President Clinton. Witt's instructions from the President are simple: take the existing system and create an emergency-management system that is based on hazard reduction and not chest-pounding—reinvest, reengineer, and reinvent emergency management in the United States, never forgetting that the victims are also clients. We are hoping a system will be developed in this administration that will be proactive in terms of hazard reduction and not just reactive to the political demands of a given moment and place. As Tom Tobin told us this morning, luck is running out and it is necessary to get on with putting in place an adequate system.