Natural Hazards

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Losses resulting from natural hazards—including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and wildfires—cost billions of dollars each year. RAND research has shown how long-term loss-reduction strategies and disaster preparedness could improve the resilience of communities and infrastructure in the face of natural disasters, resulting in less property damage and reduced rebuilding costs.

  • holding hands in a circle

    Multimedia

    Building Resilient Communities: An Online Training

    Aug 13, 2013

    This easy-to-use, self-guided online training shows organizations and communities how to strengthen their resilience, helping them recover and learn from disaster—both natural and man-made.

Explore Natural Hazards

  • A bulldozer is parked in the Queens borough of New York where a concrete foundation is all that remains of a house that burned to the ground during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012

    Report

    Lessons Learned from Implementing Infrastructure Resilience Guidelines

    The Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force developed guidelines to ensure that federal agencies incorporate key principles of resilience into their formulation, evaluation, and prioritization of infrastructure investments related to Sandy rebuilding. An initial assessment of the implementation of the guidelines identifies opportunities and challenges.

    Dec 9, 2014

  • Seismograph instrument measuring ground movement during earthquake

    Testimony

    Catastrophic Risk in California: Are Homeowners and Communities Prepared?

    Predictions about the inevitability of a major earthquake in California is generating concern about how to pay for rebuilding after a catastrophic event. Insurance alone isn’t the answer, but exploring ways for insurance premiums to better reflect loss could help homeowners prepare for "the big one.”

    Aug 6, 2014

  • Testimony

    Building on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review to Improve the Effectiveness and Efficiency of the Department of Homeland Security: Addendum

    Document submitted on July 18, 2014 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency on June 20, 2014.

    Jul 18, 2014

  • two firemen responding to an emergency

    Commentary

    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

  • U.S. Representative John Carter (R-TX) and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Capitol Hill

    Testimony

    Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of the DHS

    If the Department of Homeland Security is to overcome the challenges of uncertain threats and budget constraints, it will need strategic focus to direct resources where they are most needed, strong oversight to assure that resources are used effectively, and cooperation across government to improve efficiency.

    Jun 20, 2014

  • young people holding hands in a circle with the sun setting

    Multimedia

    Building Resilient Communities: Spanish Translation

    Emergency preparedness can get you through the first few days following a disaster. But how can your community bounce back over the long term? With disasters becoming more common and costly, and with some areas enduring multiple disasters, the importance of building community resilience has never been greater.

    May 20, 2014

  • 415 Superscooper aircraft

    Commentary

    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

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    Research Brief

    How RAND Supported the Development of Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan

    To plan the rebuilding of the Louisiana coastline, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority used a new analytic approach, developed in part by RAND, that incorporates results from state-of-the-art predictive models within a decision tool to formulate and compare alternatives and visualize outcomes and trade-offs for policymakers and stakeholders.

    Mar 18, 2014

  • News Release

    Tools Can Help Policymakers Increase Coastal Resilience to Rising Seas and Storm Surge

    Two key analytic tools can be used to evaluate how coastal protection and restoration decisions made now will play out over time, even given an uncertain future.

    Feb 21, 2014

  • Louisiana coast and levy

    Report

    Tools Can Help Policymakers Increase Coastal Resilience to Rising Seas and Storm Surge

    Two key analytic tools can be used to evaluate how coastal protection and restoration decisions made now will play out over time, even given an uncertain future. For example, a community weighing whether to implement a marsh-building project can see how the project fares against different rates of rising sea levels over time.

    Feb 19, 2014

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

    Commentary

    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

  • Volunteers from the North Carolina Southern Baptists help clean out some apartments that were flooded during Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    One Year Later: Hurricane Sandy's Lessons in Resilience and Recovery

    The recovery from Sandy shows once again that how well communities bounce back from disasters depends not just on how they react after a crisis, but on how resilient they have made themselves beforehand. Building community resilience should be part and parcel of disaster preparedness.

    Nov 15, 2013

  • A U.S. Marine and a Philippine airman assist an injured Filipino woman off a KC-130J Super Hercules at Vilamore Air Base, Manila, Republic of the Philippines

    Commentary

    Responding in Typhoon Haiyan's Wake

    Prior responses to other recent disasters offer important lessons. Improved preparedness and efficient coordination mechanisms can help ensure that, when time is of the essence, the United States provides the most effective response.

    Nov 12, 2013

  • men walk through flooding left by the storm surge of Superstorm Sandy in the New Dorp Beach neighborhood of Staten Island

    Commentary

    A Year After Sandy, a New Threat to New York City

    As residents continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy, they are about to confront dramatic changes in the flood insurance landscape. Changes to federal floodplain maps will mean thousands of New Yorkers will suddenly be living in areas designated as high-risk flood, which will send their insurance rates soaring.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • commander of JTF-Haiti asks a few Haitians about the living conditions at the internally displaced persons camp

    Report

    The U.S. Military Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake

    Luck, serendipity, and longtime relationships fostered success in Haiti relief efforts, though actual performance is impossible to measure because metrics and plans were not in place before the earthquake hit. U.S. Department of Defense policy on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief needs to be updated.

    Oct 29, 2013

  • A Staten Island, N.Y. house destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

    Report

    Rising Cost of Flood Insurance Will Create Serious Challenges for New York City

    Some New York City residents may soon face sharp increases in their flood insurance premiums as a result of major changes occurring in the National Flood Insurance Program and the redrawing of flood maps that expand the areas at risk. Property owners in areas now deemed at highest risk may face increases of $5,000 to $10,000 annually.

    Oct 25, 2013

  • Pedestrians walk past a submerged taxi in Brooklyn, New York, during Hurricane Sandy last year.

    Research Brief

    The Rising Cost of Flood Insurance in New York City

    Even as many in New York City struggle to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, changes in the flood insurance market are increasing premiums for those living near the coast.

    Oct 25, 2013

  • News Release

    Rising Cost of Flood Insurance Will Create Serious Challenges for New York City

    Some New York City residents may soon face sharp increases in their flood insurance premiums as a result of major changes occurring in the National Flood Insurance Program and the redrawing of flood maps that expand the areas at risk. Property owners in areas now deemed at highest risk may face increases of $5,000 to $10,000 annually.

    Oct 25, 2013

  • woman carrying umbrella looking up at sky

    Commentary

    Weather Forecasts, and Our Trust in Them, Need to Improve

    When scientists predict extreme weather that never materializes, lay people tend to wonder what went wrong. This is a natural tendency that is not tied to a failure of the science, but rather to differences in the way scientists and lay people view predictions about extreme events.

    Oct 8, 2013

  • A mother on Staten Island straps a protective mask onto her baby after Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    Removing Road Blocks to Climate Change Adaptation Planning

    Despite increasing interest and investments in climate adaptation science, the implementation of adaptation plans through institutional policies or other actions designed to reduce health vulnerabilities has been slow. Institutionalized assumptions are an important roadblock.

    Oct 3, 2013