Emergency Preparedness

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Because natural and manmade disasters can occur at any time, individuals, communities, and governments must be prepared. RAND has developed guidelines for individual preparedness in response to terrorist attacks; evaluated, modeled, and enhanced preparedness policy options for government officials at all levels; and recommended actions that communities should take to prepare for bioterrorist attacks, pandemic flu outbreaks, and other large-scale emergencies.

  • Aerial photograph of the devastation caused in the greater New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina, August 30, 2005, photo by Vincent Laforet/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Planning for a COVID-19 Hurricane

    May 4, 2020

    What if Hurricane Katrina had hit during a pandemic? Emergency planners can prepare for this scenario by evaluating current response system capacity, evacuation and sheltering procedures, food and supply issues, and more.

  • Ambulances line up outside a New York City hospital emergency room waiting for the next spike in calls, May 4, 2020, photo by Bob London/Alamy

    Essay

    COVID Could Surge Anywhere. This Tool Helps Hospitals Prepare

    Jul 1, 2020

    The number of new coronavirus cases is growing in most states. As the pandemic continues to strain U.S. health care systems, a tool developed by RAND researchers can help hospitals prepare for the worst.

Explore Emergency Preparedness

  • Journal Article

    Qualitative Factors in Patients Who Die Shortly After Emergency Department Discharge

    Early death after emergency department (ED) discharge may signal opportunities to improve care.

    Aug 1, 2013

  • Boston Marathon bombing

    Testimony

    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

  • News Release

    Growth of Cardiac Services Tied to Competition, Not Improving Patient Care

    New interventional cardiac catheterization services offered by U.S. hospitals generally duplicate existing programs and do not help patients gain access to timely emergency cardiac care. Instead, the focus has been on competing with other hospitals.

    Jul 9, 2013

  • climate change visualization

    Journal Article

    Managing Risk with Climate Vulnerability Science

    Climate information alone cannot be sufficient for anticipating and reducing climate impacts.

    Jul 1, 2013

  • nurse with patient

    Brochure

    Assessing Patients' Experiences with Care

    Understanding how patients experience care can encourage delivery of high-quality services. It also helps payers, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ensure that they pay for effective and efficient care.

    Jun 26, 2013

  • A destroyed home in Moore, OK, where an F5 tornado struck on May 20, 2013

    News Release

    RAND Launches Center to Study Ways to Manage Catastrophic Risk and Compensate Victims

    The RAND Corporation has created a new research center that will analyze different approaches to compensating individuals, businesses, and others following catastrophes ranging from natural disasters to terrorist attacks.

    Jun 24, 2013

  • A woman is wheeled through an emergency department on a gurney.

    Blog

    Covering Emergency Care for Young Adults: Is the ACA Doing Its Job?

    The dependent coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act is working as intended, say Andrew Mulcahy and Katherine Harris. In 2011, it spared individuals and hospitals from $147 million in emergency room costs.

    Jun 5, 2013

  • News Release

    Health Reform Shields Young Adults from Emergency Medical Costs

    A new federal law allowing young adults to remain on their parents' medical insurance through age 25 has shielded them, their families, and hospitals from the full financial consequences of serious medical emergencies.

    May 29, 2013

  • Moore,Oklahoma,Oklahoma tornado,U.S. Air Force,assistance

    Commentary

    From Boston to Oklahoma—Lessons for the Regional Trauma Response System

    Three mass-casualty events occurring in three very different settings show that disaster preparedness should not be limited to large cities or “target” areas in the United States. One trait that is common to all such events is the need for coordinated, responsive trauma care for victims.

    May 23, 2013

  • emergency sign

    Commentary

    Applying What Works to Reduce Non-Urgent Emergency Department Use

    It is likely that communities with low rates of non-urgent ED use not only have better access to primary care, but patients who are educated about appropriate care seeking and convenient alternatives for acute care, writes Lori Uscher-Pines.

    May 22, 2013

  • News Release

    Hospital Emergency Department Use, Importance Rises in U.S. Health Care System

    Hospital emergency departments play a growing role in the U.S. health care system, accounting for a rising proportion of hospital admissions and serving increasingly as an advanced diagnostic center for primary care physicians.

    May 20, 2013

  • Wildfire air tanker

    Commentary

    Firefighting Aircraft: Is Bigger Better?

    An aircraft's capacity and speed largely determine the rate at which water or retardant can be applied to a fire. Very large air tankers (VLATs) certainly have the capacity to apply large amounts of fluids to a fire, but because of the distances travelled they may not be able to get a second load very quickly.

    May 20, 2013

  • patients in a waiting room

    Report

    Hospital Emergency Departments Play a Growing Role in the U.S. Health Care System

    Emergency departments account for a rising proportion of hospital admissions and serve increasingly as an advanced diagnostic center for primary care physicians. While often targeted as the most expensive place to get medical care, emergency rooms remain an important safety net for Americans who cannot get care elsewhere.

    May 20, 2013

  • Research Brief

    The Evolving Roles of Emergency Departments

    This brief summarizes a RAND analysis of the role of that hospital emergency departments may come to play in either contributing to or reducing the rising costs of health care.

    May 20, 2013

  • Blog

    At 65, RAND Continues to Make a Difference

    To celebrate our first 60 years, we created 60 Ways RAND Has Made a Difference, an online book to illustrate our most notable contributions. On our 65th birthday, we provide five of the most recent ways in which we at RAND are proud to have made a difference.

    May 14, 2013

  • Governor Patrick visits the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after the Boston Marathon bombings

    Commentary

    Lessons from Boston

    Boston's health care providers reacted the way they did because they knew what they were supposed to do. Those who did not were smart enough to follow the lead of those who did. That's how a “ritualized” disaster plan works.

    Apr 25, 2013

  • Massachusetts National Guardsmen in Boston

    Commentary

    Reacting to Boston

    Basing public safety decisions on risk analysis allows authorities to devote public resources to those counterterrorism measures that have the potential to do the most good, writes Henry Willis.

    Apr 22, 2013

  • houses destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    Planning for Superstorms, Wildfires, and Deep Uncertainty

    The path to climate change preparedness should start at the intersection of resilience and robustness — that is, building resilient communities with the individuals and organizations within those communities making robust decisions, ones designed to work well over a wide range of ever-changing conditions.

    Apr 18, 2013

  • A cloud of smoke envelopes the street after a bomb explodes at the Boston Marathon

    Commentary

    Boston Marathon Bombings Highlight Need to Measure Investment in Homeland Security

    In recent years, especially following the economic downturn, states, counties, and cities have looked for ways to reduce costs and maintain basic policing services, leading many to question what the investment in counterterrorism and homeland security has achieved for their jurisdiction.

    Apr 18, 2013

  • Boston Marathon bombing - first responders

    Commentary

    Why U.S. Was Surprised, but Prepared for Boston Attack

    Although official after-action reports are still being compiled, it looks like Boston's first responders and hospitals delivered under difficult circumstances, writes Arthur Kellermann.

    Apr 18, 2013