Emergency Services and Response

First responders—including police, paramedics, firefighters, and public health agencies—must react to all manner of emergencies, from terrorism to natural disasters. RAND research supports private-sector and government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels that are charged with responding to, mitigating the effects of, and recovering from natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other emergencies.

  • Sailors and members of the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station clear ice from the hatch of the Seawolf-class submarine USS Connecticut in the Arctic Ocean, March 19, 2011


    How to Be Safer in the Arctic

    The Arctic is more accessible than it once was, but it's still a formidable place to travel. An emergency involving a cruise ship or a downed plane could stress the search-and-rescue system. But modest investments and planning measures can make a big difference.

    Oct 3, 2016

  • Ebola virus


    Which Countries Could Become Disease Hot Spots?

    Identifying and focusing on vulnerable countries that could become hot spots for infectious disease could help in the fight against future outbreaks.

    Sep 12, 2016

  • Journal Article

    The Promise of Direct-To-Consumer Telehealth for Disaster Response and Recovery

    This paper discusses several potential uses of direct-to-consumer telehealth during disaster response and recovery while noting the logistical, legal, and policy challenges that must be addressed to allow for expanded use.

    Sep 12, 2016

  • Report

    Collaborative Disaster Preparedness: Vietnam, the United States, and Regional Experiences (Proceedings from Da Nang, Vietnam, August 18–20, 2015)

    This report summarizes the workshop on Collaborative Disaster Preparedness that was conducted in August 2015 in Da Nang, Vietnam, and hosted by the Collaborative & Adaptive Security Initiative.

    May 19, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Wireless Emergency Alerts: Mobile Penetration Strategy

    The objective of this analysis was to independently assess the coverage and penetration of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system.

    Jan 5, 2016

  • Addenbrooke's Hospital Accident & Emergency department entrance


    Using Emergency Department Data for Crime Prevention

    Data sharing among emergency departments and law enforcement is known to reduce crime. RAND Europe researchers are developing guidance for police practitioners in England and Wales on available hospital data and its potential uses, as well as on how to establish and maintain data-sharing partnerships with NHS partners.

    Dec 19, 2014

  • Participants practice a medical procedure on a dummy arm during training for the Ebola response team at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, October 24, 2014


    Ebola Shows America Needs Better Disaster Preparedness

    Crafting an effective, whole-community strategy to respond to Ebola could stop the spread of the disease now and lay groundwork for responses to future outbreaks and other emergencies. In the long run, this could make public preparedness and resilience valuable assets for the U.S.

    Nov 7, 2014

  • A protestor demonstrates in favor of a travel ban to stop the spread of Ebola, in front of the White House, October 16, 2014


    Your Questions on Ebola, Answered

    Melinda Moore, a RAND public health physician and senior researcher, hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit to answer questions about Ebola, including whether a U.S. travel ban would help prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

    Oct 21, 2014

  • U.S. Army soldiers, earmarked for the fight against Ebola, put on protective suits during training before their deployment to West Africa, October 9, 2014


    Declaring War on Ebola

    Operation United Assistance, which includes the deployment of 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to respond to the Ebola crisis, is a welcome recognition of the range of missions the military is increasingly able to tackle, particularly in disaster-management assistance.

    Oct 10, 2014

  • A burial team wearing protective clothing prepares to enter the home a person suspected of having died from Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, September 28, 2014


    Ebola Outbreak: Putting the Public Back in Public Health

    Medical and public health systems are crucial to controlling the transmission of Ebola and treating patients. But the public's role in becoming aware and engaged, both in West Africa and the United States, cannot be overstated.

    Oct 9, 2014

  • Testimony

    Applying Lessons Learned from Past Response Operations to Strengthening National Preparedness: Addendum

    Document submitted on July 11, 2014 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee on June 18, 2014.

    Jul 11, 2014

  • two firemen responding to an emergency


    An Enduring Need for Better Measures of Emergency Preparedness

    In an era of fiscal austerity, the need for measurement and assessment becomes manifold. Tied to good government goals and responsible stewardship of public funds, measurements are also necessary to educate the public about what it should—and should not—reasonably expect when disaster strikes.

    Jun 25, 2014

  • Emergency services personnel inspect the site where part of a five-story building collapsed after a reported explosion in New York


    Lessons from Past Response Operations Can Help Strengthen National Preparedness

    For the nation to be prepared for large-scale events, the national preparedness system needs to effectively support the initially local responders who will always be the first on the scene.

    Jun 18, 2014

  • Report

    How Do We Know What Information Sharing Is Really Worth? Exploring Methodologies to Measure the Value of Information Sharing and Fusion Efforts

    This report discusses the challenges of evaluating information-sharing efforts that seek to achieve multiple goals simultaneously; reviews past evaluations of information-sharing programs; and lays out a path to improving the evaluation of such efforts.

    Jun 18, 2014

  • 415 Superscooper aircraft


    Fighting Fires From Above

    A newly deployed airborne firefighting resource is helping the United States Forest Service (USFS) battle wildfires, while at the same time providing valuable lessons on the utility and cost effectiveness of water-dropping scooper aircraft.

    May 15, 2014

  • South Korean divers operate at the site where the capsized passenger ship Sewol sank in the sea off Jindo April 20, 2014


    Death Is Never Far When You Are at Sea

    The U.S. marine safety record is impressive, arguably the best in the world. Yet, as the heartbreaking example of the Sewol demonstrates, the United States must never become complacent.

    May 12, 2014

  • Report

    Wireless Emergency Alerts: Mobile Penetration Strategy

    This report characterizes the factors that affect wireless emergency alert (WEA) coverage, identifies barriers to public access to WEA alerts, and suggests options for increasing mobile penetration (adoption) of WEA nationwide.

    Feb 12, 2014

  • A Hellenic Air Force Canadair CL-415 drops water over a forest fire northeast of Athens in August 2009


    Investing in Firefighting

    While the U.S. Forest Service has not completely agreed with RAND's proposal to transition to a fleet dominated by water-dropping scooper aircraft for fighting fires, they have leased one CL-415 scooper aircraft. It might be more cost-effective for the USFS to simply purchase it outright.

    Dec 30, 2013

  • California Air National guardsmen perform precision water bucket drops near Yosemite


    The Desirability of 'Free' C-27s for the U.S. Forest Service

    Although we believe that a scooper-centric firefighting aircraft portfolio for initial attack would still be preferred, Air Force-provided 1,850-gallon C-27Js could be a cost-effective component of the retardant-bearing portion of the Forest Service's airborne firefighting arsenal, write Edward G. Keating and Daniel M. Norton.

    Sep 6, 2013

  • Boston Marathon bombing


    What Should We Learn from Boston?

    We cannot assume, based on Boston's response to the marathon bombings, that other U.S. cities are as prepared. Emergency managers and public safety agencies remain focused on disaster preparedness, but some hospitals have lapsed into thinking that it is a costly distraction from daily business.

    Jul 10, 2013