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

    Blog

    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

    Content

    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

  • Russian Cossacks stand guard near the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi

    Commentary

    The Terrorist Threat to the Sochi Olympics

    From the Black September attacks on Israeli athletes in 1972, to the post 9/11 games in Salt Lake City, to the 2012 games in London, security has been a concern at all modern Olympics. Recent terrorist attacks in Russia, though, present particular concern as the world's athletes descend on Sochi.

    Jan 31, 2014

  • Report

    Small Ideas for Saving Big Health Care Dollars

    A series of proposals that would substitute lower-cost treatments for higher cost interventions and that promote greater patient safety could save the U.S. health care system $13 to $22 billion per year.

    Jan 30, 2014

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Community Resilience

    In this podcast, Anita Chandra describes simple steps that communities and organizations can take to help strengthen themselves against all kinds of disasters.

    Jan 23, 2014

  • Small ideas lead to big health savings: Ideas 4-7

    Blog

    Small Ideas for Saving Big Health Care Dollars (No. 4-7)

    Focusing on smaller, more focused approaches can identify less controversial opportunities for modest health care savings.

    Jan 15, 2014

  • Small ideas lead to big health savings: Ideas 1-3

    Blog

    Small Ideas for Saving Big Health Care Dollars (No. 1-3)

    Focusing on smaller, more focused approaches can identify less controversial opportunities for modest health care savings.

    Jan 8, 2014

  • Journal Article

    The State of Innovative Emergency Medical Service Programs in the United States

    The primary objective of this study was to determine how EMS organizations that are piloting patient-centered treatment and transport protocols are approaching the challenges of implementation, reimbursement, and quality assurance.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Predicting Support for Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions During Infectious Outbreaks: A Four Region Analysis

    Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are an important public health tool for responding to infectious disease outbreaks, including pandemics.

    Jan 1, 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

  • Journal Article

    Emergency Care: Then, Now, and Next

    Emergency care must become more integrated, regionalized, prevention oriented, and innovative.

    Dec 1, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Giving EMS Flexibility in Transporting Low-Acuity Patients Could Generate Substantial Medicare Savings

    If Medicare had the flexibility to reimburse EMS for managing selected 911 calls in ways other than transport to an ED, we estimate that the federal government could save $283–$560 million or more per year, while improving the continuity of patient care.

    Dec 1, 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

  • Delayed passengers stand behind a police cordon after a shooting incident at Los Angeles airport (LAX)

    Commentary

    Airport Violence—Not a New Phenomenon

    Shootings at airports are nothing new, writes Brian Michael Jenkins. In fact, they have regularly occurred worldwide in recent years. The motives have included terrorism, crime, and mental illness.

    Nov 2, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Primary Care Technicians: A Solution to the Primary Care Workforce Gap

    Efforts to close the primary care workforce gap typically employ one of three basic strategies: train more primary care physicians; boost the supply of nurse practitioners or physician assistants, or both; or use community health workers to extend the reach of primary care physicians.

    Nov 1, 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

  • 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

  • physicians with critical care patient

    Commentary

    What to Do About 'Futile' Critical Care

    There are times when no amount of care, however cutting-edge it is, will save a patient. In these instances, further critical care is said to be “futile.” This type of treatment is not uncommon in intensive care units, and that raises some uncomfortable questions.

    Sep 13, 2013

  • Journal Article

    The Impact of a Large-Scale Power Outage on Hemodialysis Center Operations

    Comprehensive emergency planning for dialysis centers should include provisions for having backup generators on site, having plans in place for the timely delivery of a generator during a power outage, or having predesignated backup dialysis centers for patients to receive dialysis during emergencies.

    Sep 13, 2013

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

    Commentary

    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

  • Oklahoma tornado cleanup

    Commentary

    Translating Policy Into Action to Build Community Resilience

    The philosophy and motivation surrounding community resilience has strongly resonated with community leaders but there remains a divide between how experts articulate resilience policy and how that policy translates to on-the-ground implementation. Building Community Resilience: An Online Training addresses that tension.

    Sep 4, 2013