Emergency Preparedness

Featured

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.

  • A suicide prevention sign on the fence on the walkway of the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey, January 12, 2022, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will the New 988 Hotline Be a Game Changer for Mental Health or a Missed Opportunity?

    Someone dies from suicide in the United States every 11 minutes, a rate that has increased almost 30 percent since 2000. The 988 mental health hotline will launch on July 16, but states need to clear significant hurdles: funding the expanded crisis response system and making sure people know it's available.

    Jun 20, 2022

  • A memorial site outside Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, after a 15-year-old allegedly killed four classmates and injured seven others on November 30, 2021, photo by Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP

    Essay

    How to Prevent, Prepare for, and Respond to Mass Attacks

    A new step-by-step guide can help communities prevent shootings and other mass attacks before they happen, and save lives when they do. It's written for a variety of public- and private-sector audiences—everyone from emergency responders and school officials to security personnel and community leaders.

    Aug 30, 2022

Explore Emergency Preparedness

  • Soldiers at Suwon Air Base, South Korea, finish a comprehensive air defense artillery field training exercise

    Commentary

    To Know the Future of Biological Weapons, Look to the Past

    A panel chaired by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Gov. Tom Ridge will review U.S. policy on biodefense. Looking back to the end of the U.S. offensive biological warfare program would provide valuable lessons.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Wearing Many Hats: Lessons About Emergency Preparedness and Routine Public Health from the H1N1 Response

    Describes some of the challenges the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) faced during the pH1N1 response associated with simultaneous operation of emergency and routine operations.

    Apr 7, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    New Tool Can Help Identify Nations That May Be Vulnerable to Ebola or Other Public Health Emergencies

    Public health experts can identify nations that are vulnerable to the occurrence and impact of future outbreaks of Ebola or other emergencies by using a screening tool that evaluates a nation's strengths across a wide range of measures such as political strength and health care capabilities.

    Mar 3, 2015

  • Flood waters from Hurricane Isaac partially submerge homes in Lafitte, Louisiana neighborhoods in August 2012

    Commentary

    Future of Coastal Flooding

    President Obama's executive order that directs federal agencies to plan and build for higher flood levels as they construct new projects in flood-prone regions will affect hundreds of billions of dollars of future public works projects. In an ideal world, planners would estimate the benefits and costs for each project, taking into account everything from the details of the local landscape to the potential for adaptive responses over time.

    Feb 25, 2015

  • U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaks at Los Angeles International Airport in California, February 20, 2014

    Commentary

    Go Back to Basics to Reform Homeland Security

    The Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986 made the broadest and most sweeping changes to the Pentagon since its establishment in 1947. With the Department of Homeland Security in a similar state just over a decade after its hurried creation, it's time for DHS to have a Goldwater-Nichols of its own.

    Jan 28, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Changes Recommended to City of Los Angeles' Firefighter Recruiting and Selection Process

    The city of Los Angeles should revise its hiring process for firefighters in ways that increase diversity among highly-competitive applicants, minimize processing demands on the city, and create greater transparency for applicants in minimum qualifications and selection criteria.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • Judith Rodin at RAND's Politics Aside 2014

    Blog

    Investing in Resilient Cities

    It's time to change the paradigm from disaster response and recovery to building resilient communities, said Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, at RAND's Politics Aside event. To build resiliency, officials need to take an integrated approach to planning.

    Nov 15, 2014

  • Participants practice a medical procedure on a dummy arm during training for the Ebola response team at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, October 24, 2014

    Commentary

    Ebola Shows America Needs Better Disaster Preparedness

    Crafting an effective, whole-community strategy to respond to Ebola could stop the spread of the disease now and lay groundwork for responses to future outbreaks and other emergencies. In the long run, this could make public preparedness and resilience valuable assets for the U.S.

    Nov 7, 2014

  • A protestor demonstrates in favor of a travel ban to stop the spread of Ebola, in front of the White House, October 16, 2014

    Q&A

    Your Questions on Ebola, Answered

    Melinda Moore, a RAND public health physician and senior researcher, hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit to answer questions about Ebola, including whether a U.S. travel ban would help prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

    Oct 21, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Making It More Difficult to Sue Physicians for Malpractice May Not Reduce 'Defensive Medicine'

    Malpractice reform has been advocated by many experts as a key to reining in health care costs. Three states raised the standard for malpractice in the emergency room to gross negligence, but that did not translate into less-expensive care.

    Oct 15, 2014

  • U.S. Army soldiers, earmarked for the fight against Ebola, put on protective suits during training before their deployment to West Africa, October 9, 2014

    Commentary

    Declaring War on Ebola

    Operation United Assistance, which includes the deployment of 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to respond to the Ebola crisis, is a welcome recognition of the range of missions the military is increasingly able to tackle, particularly in disaster-management assistance.

    Oct 10, 2014

  • A burial team wearing protective clothing prepares to enter the home a person suspected of having died from Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, September 28, 2014

    Commentary

    Ebola Outbreak: Putting the Public Back in Public Health

    Medical and public health systems are crucial to controlling the transmission of Ebola and treating patients. But the public's role in becoming aware and engaged, both in West Africa and the United States, cannot be overstated.

    Oct 9, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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