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.

  • Commentary

    Healthy Nation, Safe Nation: Build Health Security into National Security

    The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a need for a more-robust health security paradigm within the broader national security context. But addressing preparedness and response shortfalls for national-level challenges might not be fully possible without first addressing the glaring seams and gaps between the various stakeholder communities.

    Mar 17, 2023

  • Essay

    An Early Warning System for Landslides Protects Sitka, Alaska

    A 2015 landslide that killed three people in Sitka, Alaska, changed how residents looked at the steep hills all around them. The community worked with researchers to develop a warning system to prevent such tragedies in the future.

    Mar 14, 2023

Explore Emergency Preparedness

  • Report

    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

  • Officer Eric Darnsteadt from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service inspects shipping containers arriving at Port Newark with a truck-mounted X-ray machine

    Commentary

    Securing America's Ports by Better Measuring Capabilities

    Funding for improving U.S. port security has declined from $389 million in 2008 to $100 million in 2014. This makes it more important than ever to ensure the highest possible return on investment from grant funding.

    Jun 13, 2014

  • road and horizon

    Infographic

    Road to Resilience: Building Stronger, More Sustainable Communities

    This infographic illustrates how communities can become more resilient as they plan ahead for potential disasters.

    May 23, 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

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

    Commentary

    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

    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

  • Passengers line up in LaGuardia Airport as it was reopened after being evacuated due to a suspicious package being found by a baggage handler, February 4, 2014

    Commentary

    Experts Are Working to Develop Evidence-Based Ways to Measure Anti-Terrorism Efforts

    The effects of security measures ought not to be measured solely in terms of prevention. Different types of countermeasures produce different effects, such as deterrence, making it easier for security to intervene during an attempted attack, and providing visible security that reassures the public.

    Feb 7, 2014

  • Security personnel patrol the Olympic Park at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games

    Commentary

    The Secretive Battle for Sochi

    Russia seems to be taking prudent steps to make the games the safe and secure display of athleticism and international good fellowship they once were. The outcome hinges on a pair of unknowns: the secret counterterrorism strategies Russian authorities have undertaken and the terrorists' capacity for creativity and surprise.

    Feb 5, 2014

  • 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

    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

    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

    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