Emergency Services and Response

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First responders—including police, paramedics, firefighters, and public health agencies—must react to all manner of emergencies, from terrorism to natural disasters. RAND research supports private-sector and government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels that are charged with responding to, mitigating the effects of, and recovering from natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other emergencies.

  • Paramedics treat a man at the gym, photo by sturti/Getty Images

    Report

    Strategies for Improving Prehospital Outcomes for Cardiac Arrest

    Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a common, life-threatening event that is a leading cause of death in the United States. RAND researchers identified 49 strategies to improve OHCA survival and the delivery of care.

    Jul 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 Services and Response

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Forest Service Should Consider a Different Mix of Aircraft to Fight Wildfires

    The U.S. Forest Service should upgrade its large airborne firefighting fleet to include more amphibious scooper aircraft, with air tankers and helicopters in a supporting role during the initial attack of fires before they become large.

    Jul 29, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Analysis of the Cities Readiness Initiative

    Examines (1) the status of communities' capability to deliver medical countermeasures within 48 hours of a federal decision to deploy assets and (2) whether the Cities Readiness Initiative has improved communities' capability to meet that goal.

    Mar 27, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Medical Relief After Earthquakes: It's Time for a New Paradigm

    This editorial examines the performance of urban search and rescue teams that responded to major earthquake disasters in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan over the last decade.

    Mar 1, 2012

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Managing the Unexpected

    Admiral Thad Allen, then a senior fellow at RAND, presented “Managing the Unexpected” on April 19, 2011, as part of RAND's Issues in Focus public outreach series. Retired Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Incident Commander for the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Allen discussed his experiences leading the nation's high-profile response to two national emergencies—the oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.

    Apr 19, 2011

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Are We Prepared? Using Reliability Analysis to Evaluate Emergency Response Systems

    The capabilities and capacities for response are the product of a system of plans, authorities, policies,procedures, personnel, training, materials, equipment and facilities to address post-incident needs.

    Jan 1, 2011

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Text Analysis of After Action Reports to Support Improved Emergency Response Planning

    This study combines a text analysis of 70 after action reports (AARs) with a failure mode effects and consequences analysis (FMECA). This approach provides a mechanism to connect the AAR process with efforts to improve emergency response planning.

    Jan 1, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Evaluating the Reliability of Emergency Response Systems for Large-Scale Incident Operations

    This report describes a method for modeling an emergency response system; identifying how individual parts of the system might fail; and assessing the likelihood of each failure and the severity of its effects on the overall response effort.

    Jun 22, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Bridging the Gap: Developing a Tool to Support Local Civilian and Military Disaster Preparedness

    This report describes the current policy context for domestic all-hazards risk-informed capabilities-based planning by local military and civilian authorities and provides a framework for a local planning support tool for their use.

    Apr 12, 2010

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Risk Communication in the Early Stages of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) Alert: How Effective Were State and Local Public Health Departments?

    Presents an assessment of how effectively state and local health departments communicated information regarding the April 2009 H1N1 virus (swine flu) outbreak via the Web to their constituents.

    Aug 11, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    A National Agenda for Public Health Systems Research on Emergency Preparedness

    Improving public health emergency preparedness tops the national agenda but has been hindered by the lack of real-world situations to learn from. The Federal Government, therefore, asked RAND to facilitate the development of a research agenda that would expand the evidence base upon which preparedness policies are based.

    Aug 11, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Public Health Preparedness and Response to Chemical and Radiological Incidents

    One under-examined area of public health emergency preparedness concerns incidents involving the release of chemical or radiological substances, which can have serious public health consequences. This report focuses on the roles of the public health service in emergency preparedness and its response to such incidents.

    Jul 27, 2009

  • News Release

    News Release

    Health Departments Get Mixed Marks for Using Web to Communicate About Flu Crisis

    State and local health departments get mixed marks for efforts to convey information about the H1N1 virus to the public using their Web sites immediately after U.S. officials declared a public health emergency in April.

    Jul 7, 2009

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Health Departments Get Mixed Marks for Using Web to Communicate About Flu Crisis

    State and local health departments get mixed marks for efforts to convey information about the H1N1 virus to the public using their Web sites immediately after U.S. officials declared a public health emergency in April.

    Jul 7, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Mumbai Terrorist Attacks Show Rise of Strategic Terrorist Culture

    The Mumbai terrorist attacks in India suggest the possibility of an escalating terrorist campaign in South Asia and the rise of a strategic terrorist culture. This report identifies the operational and tactical features of the attack, evaluates the response of Indian security forces, and analyzes the implications for the region and the U.S.

    Jan 15, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Obama, Congress Can Improve FEMA, Homeland Security

    In his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama pledged to rebuild the Gulf Coast — one of the country's most wounded, yet economically strategic, regions. To keep this laudable promise, he will need to make a sustained commitment not only to a national disaster recovery plan, but also a comprehensive economic development strategy for the Gulf Coast, writes Melissa Flournoy.

    Dec 21, 2008

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    Report

    PREPARE for Pandemic Influenza: A Toolkit to Improve Public Health Preparedness

    Mounting an effective emergency response to a public health threat, such as a pandemic influenza, is a common challenge of state and local public health agencies across the country. The PREPARE toolkit provides a brief tutorial on using quality improvement methods to build agency capabilities and public health emergency preparedness.

    Dec 9, 2008

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    A New Approach for Assessing Emergency Preparedness

    Framing of a broad set of questions about how national preparedness can be meaningfully evaluated, this policy brief introduces an alternative way of thinking about measuring emergency preparedness.

    Dec 7, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    The Problem of Measuring Emergency Preparedness: How Reliable Should Our Response Systems Be?

    Decisionmakers today largely assess emergency preparedness and homeland security "in the rear view mirror," looking at performance in actual events and responding to perceived failures. While real-world experience is important, better ways to assess preparedness prospectively will lead to better choices as to how and where to strengthen it.

    Nov 14, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Recommended Infrastructure Standards for Mass Antibiotic Dispensing

    In order to ensure that the U.S. government is able to dispense antibiotics and other life-saving medical countermeasures to large populations under short timelines in the case of a large-scale public health emergency, this report recommends standards for points of dispensing that are designed to apply to widely divergent jurisdictions.

    Sep 29, 2008

  • Multimedia

    Lynn E. Davis Discusses "Individual Preparedness"

    Individual preparedness is an important element of our nation's strategy for homeland security. Lynn E. Davis examines a scenario-driven approach that provides a rigorous way to identify actions-linked specifically to terrorist attacks-individuals can take to protect their health and safety.

    Sep 19, 2008