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.

  • People talk outside of Flora Gallery and Coffee Shop near a downed tree in the street after Hurricane Zeta swept through New Orleans, Louisiana, October 29, 2020, photo by Kathleen Flynn/Reuters

    Report

    When Hurricanes Happen During Pandemics

    Dec 9, 2020

    Hurricanes can change patterns of mobility and expand the spread of COVID-19, for example, to communal shelters. On the other hand, fear of the virus could cause people who might otherwise evacuate to shelter in place, resulting in more deaths from a hurricane. How can policymakers prepare for this threat?

  • 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

  • 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

    Journal Article

    Emergency Care: Then, Now, and Next

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

    Dec 1, 2013

  • Journal Article

    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

    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

    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

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Public Health Preparedness Research

    This commentary on the scope, content, translation, and policy utility of research is shaped by the authors' perspectives from federal, state, and local levels and national policy making.

    Sep 1, 2013

  • Journal Article

    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

    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