Session No by 1SbCc2u1


									                              Session No. 1

Course Title: Building Disaster Resilient Communities

Session Title: Introduction to the concept of disaster resilient communities and
              overview of course and exercises

Author: Raymond J. Burby, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

                                                         Time: 75 minutes


1.1      Identify serious threats to the well being of communities posed by natural and
         technological hazards.

1.2      Understand the concept of resilience to disasters and the variety of ways in which
         resilience can be enhanced.

1.3      Understand the objectives of this course and course content.

1.4      Understand course format and requirements, and student responsibilities as
         individuals and members of teams working on the required exercises.

1.5   Provide an overview of the class exercises that will run through the course.


During this session the professor introduces her/himself to the class and notes the
seriousness of natural and technological hazards as a societal problem in the United
States. The concept of resilience to disasters is introduced, and the instructor reviews
some of the ways in which emergency management and community planning builds
resilience. After this introduction, the objectives and organization of the course are
presented, along with course requirements and expectations regarding student
performance. At this session the instructor also introduces the exercises that parallel each
of the four parts of the course and explains the important role that the exercise plays in
helping students translate abstract concepts and theory into actual practice using a real
community as a laboratory. Exercise 1 may be assigned at this time, although instructors
also might want to wait until course enrollment stabilizes after the drop/add period before
introducing the exercise, since it involves the assignment of students to learning teams.
The remaining three exercise assignments are made at appropriate sessions later in the
course (sessions 10, 16, 25). The assigned student reading for this session reinforces the
points made in the lecture.



Instructor and Student Reading:

Course syllabus. A draft syllabus is provided as Attachment 1 at the end of this session

Burby, Raymond J. 1998. “Chapter One. Natural Hazards and Land Use: An
       Introduction,” In Raymond J. Burby, Ed. Cooperating with Nature: Confronting
       Natural Hazards with Land-Use Planning for Sustainable Communities.
       Washington, DC: Joseph Henry/National Academy Press, pp. 1-25.

Mileti, Dennis S. 1999. Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the
        United States. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, pp. 1-15, 22-35.

Additional Instructor Reading:

Chagnon, Stanley, et al. 2000. “Human Factors Explain the Increased Losses from
      Weather and Climate Extremes.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
      81, 3: 437-442.

Glantz, M.H. and D. Jamieson. 2000. “Societal Response to Hurricane Mitch and Intra-
       versus Intergenerational Equity Issues: Whose Norms Should Apply? Risk
       Analysis 20, 6: 869-882.

Schwab, Jim et al. 1998. Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction.
      Planning Advisory Service Report Number 483/484. Chicago: American Planning
      Association, pp. 1- 111.


1.     Syllabus: course on Building Disaster Resilient Communities


1.     Losses in Natural Disasters: 1984 – 1998.
2.     The Disaster Cycle.

General Requirements:

The professor’s course syllabus should be distributed to students at the start of the class
and will be referred to in completing objectives 1.3 and 1.4.

Objective 1.1 Identify serious threats to the well being of communities posed by
natural and technological hazards.


The content should be presented as lecture. The material here will be enhanced if the
instructor provides Power Point or overheads of locally relevant disaster events and, after
reviewing the national disaster loss figures noted below, asks students to think about how
these local events came about and could have been prevented.


I.     Losses in the United States from natural disasters are extraordinary.

       A.      Between 1975 and 1994, an estimated 24,000 people were killed and four
               times that number injured in the United States by natural hazards.

       B.      Dennis Mileti, in the assigned reading (pp. 4-5) notes that a conservative
               estimate of dollar losses from natural hazards during the past two decades
               is $500 billion, but losses may be much higher.

               1.     For example, if crops are included and losses are standardized to
                      1994 dollars, the figure jumps to $1 trillion (Mileti, pg. 66)

               2.     A conservative estimate of actual average annual losses is $26
                      billion, or about $0.5 billion per week.

               3.     Less than 20 percent of these losses were covered by insurance.

               4.     In addition, most of them occurred in events that were not covered
                      by Presidential disaster declarations and, as a result, were also not
                      covered by federal disaster relief.

       C.      As shown in overhead 1.1, however, Presidential disaster declarations
               affected most counties in the U.S. between 1964 and 1998.

               1.     More than 80 percent of these losses resulted from climatological
                      events, such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

               2.     Approximately 10 percent resulted from earthquakes and

              3.     Forest fires are another notable cause of Presidential disaster

              4.     Although every state experienced natural disasters, disasters tend
                     to occur most frequently in highly populated states, such as
                     California and Florida, and where climatological events are most
                     severe, such as the Gulf coast states, Mississippi Valley, and along
                     the Appalachian Mountains, where people are concentrated in
                     narrow flood-prone valleys.

II.    Losses from natural hazards are not only severe, but they also increased
       dramatically over the decade of the 1990s.

       A.     Between 1950 and 1988 total insured losses from natural disasters totaled
              $51 billion; between 1989 and 1995, they totaled $75 billion, a nine-fold
              increase in the annual rate of loss.

       B.     Prior to 1989, the U.S. insurance industry never suffered a loss of over $1
              billion from a single disaster. During the 1990s, ten disasters exceeded
              this amount.

       C.     Between 1989 and 1994, 291 disaster declarations cost the U.S. Treasury
              more than $35 billion. This compares with just $3.8 billion in federal
              disaster relief costs related to 376 disaster declarations between 1970 and

III.   The potential for future, even larger, losses in natural disasters in now

       A.     A $50 billion hurricane is now viewed as probable in south Florida.

       B.     A catastrophic earthquake in the Los Angeles area could cause up to 5,000
              deaths, 15,000 serious injuries, and $250 billion in direct economic losses.

IV.    Losses in natural disasters are not evenly distributed across population

       A.     Low-income households, minorities, renters, and seniors are at
              greatest risk because they are more likely than other groups to live in
              poorer neighborhoods most exposed to hazards and because disasters
              exacerbate poverty and problems associated with discrimination and lack
              of access to resources.

       B.     Issues related to environmental justice (the differential exposure of low-
              income households and minorities to technological hazards) have triggered

           a national movement that seeks to give these households a greater say in
           decisions about the location of hazardous facilities and to reduce their
           exposure to harm..

     C.    Demographic differences should increase rather decrease as the U.S.
           population becomes more diverse over the coming decades.

V.   Technological hazards are also a serious threat to most communities.

     A.    Technological hazards include a variety of hazardous materials that could
           damage public health or the environment if they are not handled properly.

           1.     Ignitable materials, such as gasoline, are capable of burning or
                  causing a fire.

           2.     Corrosive materials, such as acids, are capable of eating away
                  other materials and human tissue.

           3.     Reactive materials, such as chlorine, are capable of interacting
                  explosively with air or water and releasing poisonous fumes.

           4.     Toxic materials, such as pesticides, are capable of poisoning

     B.    Hazardous materials are particularly threatening when they have
           been discarded and become a hazardous waste, since waste products
           are more likely to be improperly handled than materials that have
           economic value.

     C.    Hazardous materials incidents are a daily occurrence in every state,
           but some releases have had particularly devastating effects.

           1.     In 1947 in Texas City, Texas a ship loaded with ammonium nitrate
                  exploded killing 552 persons and injuring 4,000 others; property
                  damages exceeded $100 million.

           2.     In 1978 in Wavely, Tennessee and Youngstown, Florida train
                  derailments involving hazardous materials produced 24 deaths, 159
                  injuries, $3.3 million in property damage, and $650 million in legal

     D.    Chronic exposures to hazardous materials, particularly carcinogens,
           are also an important concern.

           1.     Between 60 and 70 thousand industrial and commercial chemicals
                  are currently in use in the United States, of which about 600 are

                      currently judged to constitute a significant potential risk to human
                      health because of their toxicity or because they are manufactured
                      in such quantities that there is a high likelihood that they are
                      present in the environment.

               2.     National attention has been given to severe population exposures
                      to toxic chemicals, such the cases of Times Beach, Missouri and
                      Love Canal, New York, and movie coverage of incidents such as A
                      Civil Action (Woburn, Massachusetts leukemia cluster associated
                      with contaminated drinking water).


Objective 1.2 Understand the concept of resilience to disasters and the variety of
ways in which resilience can be enhanced.


The content should be presented as a lecture.


I.     The goal of resilience to disasters is to reduce human suffering and losses of
       lives and property from natural and technological hazards using a variety of

       (Note to instructor: the concepts of disaster-resilient, disaster-resistant,
       sustainable, showcase, and Project Impact communities have a long history. The
       FEMA website ( provides information about disaster resistant and
       Project Impact communities and the Institute for Business and Home Safety
       ( website provides information about Showcase states and
       communities. Mileti (1999, pg. 264) discusses the distinction between disaster-
       resilient and disaster-resistant communities. The instructor could note that all of
       these terms can be found in the literature, but that in this course the term
       resilience is used broadly and generally comprehends the ideas encompassed by
       these other terms.)

       A.      As noted by Mileti (pp. 31-35), building hazards resilient communities
               (what he terms “sustainable hazards mitigation”) requires adherence to six

               1.     Maintain and, if possible, embrace environmental quality.

               2.     Maintain and, if possible, enhance people’s quality of life.

               3.     Foster local resiliency to and responsibility for disasters.

             4.     Recognize that sustainable, vital local economies are essential.

             5.     Identify and ensure inter- and intra-generational equity.

             6.     Adopt a consensus-building approach, starting at the local level.

      B.     In addition, resilience and sustainability will be enhanced if we:

             1.     Adopt a global systems perspective that acknowledges the
                    complex interactions between man and nature that affect the
                    severity of hazards and exposure to them.

             2.     Accept responsibility for hazards and disasters, realizing that
                    choices society makes about the location and characteristics of
                    human settlements have a large effect on losses that are

             3.     Anticipate ambiguity and continual change by building in
                    adaptive mechanisms in our planning and management of hazards
                    and exposure to them.

             4.     Reject short-term thinking by thinking of the long-term
                    consequences of actions taken to deal with hazards; for example,
                    while efforts to control hazards may lessen short-term losses, they
                    may over the long-term lead to increased exposure to hazards that
                    will become severe in the long term as a result of global climate
                    change and other factors.

II.   The traditional approaches to building resilience to hazards use the four-
      stage cyclical process of emergency management (preparedness, response,
      recovery, and mitigation), but various problems limit their effectiveness.

      A.     Hazard resilience commonly is viewed as taking place through a four-
             stage process.

             (Note to instructor: the Des Moines case study in the instructor reading
             (Schwab et al. 1998, pp. 3-7) can be used to illustrate various aspects of
             the four-stage process. Overhead 2, The Disaster Cycle, could be used to
             help clarify the links between the stages of a disaster and efforts to deal
             with it.)

             1.     Preparedness involves building capacity for emergency
                    preparedness and response before a disaster occurs so that an
                    effective response can be mounted when an emergency situation
                    arises. Effective preparedness includes:

     a.     Conduct of vulnerability analyses to identify and
            characterize hazards.

     b.     Establishment of a warning system.

     c.     Identification of evacuation routes and emergency shelters.

     d.     Maintenance of emergency supplies and communications
            systems, procedures for notifying and mobilizing key
            personnel, mutual aid agreements with neighboring
            jurisdictions, and adequate training and practice.

2.   Response includes actions taken immediately before, during, and
     after a disaster occurs in order to save lives and protect property.
     An effective response typically involves:

     e.     Detection of hazards and warning of affected populations.

     b.     Evacuation of threatened populations, search and rescue
            operations, sheltering of victims, and provisions of
            emergency medical care, and provision of security to
            evacuated areas.

3.   Recovery includes short-term actions to restore critical public
     facilities and services and long-term actions to rebuild damaged
     property and bring life in a community back to normal. An
     effective recovery typically requires:

     a.     Comprehensive damage assessment to help set priorities.

     f.     Provision of emergency housing for those displaced by the

     g.     Repair and reconstruction of damaged housing, commercial
            facilities, and damaged infrastructure and community

4.   Mitigation includes policies and activities undertaken to reduce
     vulnerability to damage from natural and technological hazards.
     An effective mitigation effort typically requires:

     a.     Measures to control the magnitude and timing of hazards
            (structural measures such as flood control levees and storm
            water drainage works).

            b.     Measures to control exposure and vulnerability to hazards
                   (nonstructural measures such as building regulations to
                   increase the ability of buildings to withstand the forces
                   placed on them by hazards and zoning to reduce the
                   intensity of population and activities in areas at risk from

            c.     Measures that reduce the adverse consequences of hazards
                   (ameliorative measures such as insurance and relief).

B.   A number of weaknesses have been identified with each stage of the
     emergency management process, which helps account for the increasing
     losses experienced in natural and technological disasters. For example:

     1.     Warning systems try to reduce losses immediately preceding the
            onset of a hazardous event, but often they are not heeded.

            a.     Examples include sirens that are sounded after the release
                   of a toxic chemical has been detected or home phones that
                   ring when a stream gauge indicates rising water in a river.
                   Other warnings try to change behavior and exposure to
                   hazards far in advance of the onset of a hazard, such as
                   warning signs or maps that delineate hazardous areas.

            b.     Warnings are always necessary, because however hard we
                   try, we can never make the world a completely safe place in
                   which to live.

            c.     But warnings are an imperfect way to deal with
                   hazards, since people frequently ignore them or misjudge
                   the degree of risk, so that they expose their personal safety
                   and possessions to a greater degree of loss than would be
                   warranted, had they been able to make more rational

     2.     Hazard control measures are popular, because they make
            hazardous areas safer for development, but they can inadvertently
            lead to over-development and actually increase exposure to loss.

            a.     Throughout history a variety of engineering measures have
                   been used to keep hazards such as rivers and coastal
                   flooding away from people and damageable property.
                   Examples include dams and flood storage reservoirs,
                   levees, pumps, channel improvements and diversions,
                   dikes, sea walls, and groins.

          b.    Structural protection against disasters, however, comes at a
                high cost, so that it is practicable only after hazardous areas
                have been developed intensively and property values have
                become high enough to justify investment in protective

          c.    Structural hazard control works, to be affordable, have
                limits on the degree of protection that can be provided, so
                that protected areas are always at risk from more rarely
                occurring events. For example, two-thirds of flood losses
                result from floods that occur less frequently than once
                every one hundred years. Over eighty percent of losses in
                hurricanes come from Category 3 or greater hurricanes,
                which also have low recurrence intervals in any given
                location (see Raymond J. Burby et al., 1999 “Unleashing
                the Power of Planning to Create Disaster Resilient
                Communities,” Journal of the American Planning
                Association 65, 3 (Summer), pg.251.

          d.    When rarely occurring events do occur and overwhelm the
                hazard control measures that have been employed, losses
                typically are much larger than they would have been
                without the structural protection, since people tend to
                misperceive the degree of safety provided and much more
                development takes place in protected areas than is prudent,
                given the degree of residual risk that is always present.

3.        So-called nonstructural measures such as building codes and
          zoning also have limitations.

          a.    One of their most serious limitations is that without
                mandates from higher-level governments, few local
                governments are willing to employ them vigorously to deal
                with hazards.

          b.    The science of identifying hazardous areas and designing
                buildings to reduce their damage from hazards has far
                outrun the financial and personnel capacity of local
                government to use this knowledge. Private sector
                compliance with building and land-use regulations is a
                serious problem, since many property owners do not
                perceive hazards as a serious threat and do not view the
                costs of hazard mitigation as warranted.

     c.         Yet another problem is the fact that hazards and the
                geophysical systems that engender them do not respect

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                             political boundaries, but local governments often resist
                             regional solutions that limit local discretion regarding the
                             use of hazardous areas or impose costs on localities to
                             reduce hazards.

              4.     Relief and insurance, which take effect after a disaster occurs,
                     reduce the adverse impacts of disasters and ease reconstruction and
                     recovery. They are necessary because it is impossible to
                     completely eliminate the risk of loss from disasters.

                     a.      Disaster relief is essential in helping communities recover
                             successfully from disasters.

                     b.      Insurance has some advantages over relief provided by
                             government and private agencies, since it gives property
                             owners greater assurance that their losses will be
                             compensated, and insurance premiums provide economic
                             signals about the degree of risk and its costs that may lead
                             some individuals and firms to avoid hazardous locations.

                     c.      However, by reducing the risk of occupying hazardous
                             areas, both insurance and relief can induce development to
                             take place and increase the potential for catastrophic losses.

                     d.      In addition, insurance faces problems of adverse selection
                             (only the most risk prone will willingly purchase insurance)
                             and moral hazard (with insurance, property owners fail to
                             take precautions to reduce their exposure to losses). As a
                             result, private insurance companies find it difficult to
                             provide coverage, so that insurance against losses to
                             property exposed to natural hazards can only be provided
                             through subsidized government programs, such as the U.S.
                             National Flood Insurance Program.

III.   Finding the right mix: the role of planning.

       A.     The various weaknesses of the traditional approach to coping with hazards
              suggest that no single step in the emergency management process and no
              single aspect of any given hazard mitigation approach will create hazard
              resilient communities on its own.

       B.     Instead, a local planning and hazard management process has to be
              conducted if communities are to find the right combination of measures
              that at the same time are effective, efficient, equitable, and feasible.

       C.     Planning for hazard resilience should ensure that:

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              1.      Information on the nature of possible future hazard events is
                      available to the public.

              2.      Areas subject to natural and technological hazards are
                      identified and used in a manner that is compatible with the type,
                      assessed frequency, danger to life, and damage potential of the

              3.      Areas subject to hazards are used with due regard for the
                      social, economic, aesthetic, and ecological costs and benefits to
                      individuals as well as the community, while taking into account
                      the rights of private landowners.

              4.      All reasonable measures are taken to avoid hazards and
                      potential damage to existing people and property at risk.

              5.      All reasonable measures are taken to alleviate the hazard and
                      loss potential resulting from the development and use of hazardous


Objective 1.3 Understand the objectives of this course and course content.


The content should be presented as lecture.


I.     Review the course syllabus with the students emphasizing the following

       A.     By the end of this course, students will know:

              1.      What constitutes a hazard resilient community.

              2.      The principles of planning for all phases of emergency
                      management and how to integrate these into a comprehensive
                      program for strengthening resilience.

              3.      The key people to get involved in building resilience.

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     4.     How to choose methods to fit the unique situations of individual

     5.     Skills needed to apply knowledge and facilitate the creation of a
            program to create resilience as a community-wide process.

B.   By the end of this course, students should be able to articulate what
     constitutes a hazard resilient community and how to build resilience
     through programs in the public and private sector.

     1.     They should be able to specify the components of a program and to
            tailor the program to address a variety of specific types of hazards
            and the needs of a variety of population groups.

     2.     They should have developed a dependable sense of judgment for
            assessing the validity, effectiveness, feasibility, strengths and
            weaknesses of various strategies and methods.

     3.     Most of all, after completing the course they should feel competent
            in formulating a program for helping to create hazard resilient

C.   In addition to learning about building resilience to hazards and developing
     skills in formulating programs to strengthen resilience, students also will
     be learning through a series of exercises:

     1.     Skills in analysis and synthesis.

     2.      Skills in communicating with stakeholders.

     3.     Skills in working effectively as a member of a problem-solving

     4.     How to describe and assess existing and emerging community
            conditions that contribute to vulnerability to hazards.

     5.     How to work with stakeholders to assess their needs and develop
            consensus about appropriate courses of action to enhance

     6.     How to identify and evaluate measures to increase readiness to
            respond to disasters in an effective way, to reduce the potential for
            disaster through various mitigation measures.

     7.     How to redevelop neighborhoods and community facilities
            following disasters to lessen future vulnerability.

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      D.     Students learn more deeply if they are called upon to apply knowledge and
             methods. Thus, the course involves work in an actual community and
             analysis of actual community vulnerability to hazards and ways of
             lessening risk. This culminates in the formulation and presentation of a
             strategy for building resilience in a specific community and for specific
             hazard situations and the needs of specific populations affected by the

             1.      With this “cooperative learning strategy,” students will work
                     throughout the semester in teams, usually consisting of three to
                     four students.

             2.      Portions of several class sessions will be devoted to working in
                     these groups or presenting and discussing team products.

             3.      Students should develop a sense during these exercises that they
                     are responsible for one another’s mastery of the course content, as
                     well as their own understanding.

      E.     The course emphasizes cooperative learning and the application of
             knowledge through a “real world” exercise for two reasons.

             1.      First, the course is aimed not only at mastery of facts and theories
                     but also at “higher order” skills such as application, evaluation,
                     synthesis, and creating strategies and programs.

             2.      Second, public sector practice typically involves working in groups
                     to define issues, solve problems, or devise strategies and courses of
                     action; this is a good place to refine the skills you need for working
                     effectively in groups.

II.   Specific content areas such as planning methods could be topics of semester and
      multi-semester courses. Thus, their presentation here will not make the students
      experts in each subject covered. Instead, as a capstone course, their presentation
      in this course is designed to reinforce other aspects of the curriculum and to
      achieve an understanding of each subject and a basic ability to apply the skills and
      knowledge gained.


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Objective 1.4 Understand the format and requirements of the course and student
responsibilities as individuals and members of teams working on the required


This material should be presented as lecture.


I.     Course format.

       A.      There are two 75-minute class sessions each week.

       B.      Class sessions include lectures on the theory and methods of building
               disaster resilient communities. Class sessions also will be devoted to work
               on the assigned exercises as a member of a team and mock council meetings
               in which students present, as if to a local governing body, draft of their
               findings and recommendations.

II.    Course requirements.

       A.      Participation in class discussions (10%). Students are expected to have
               completed reading assignments prior to each session and to actively
               participate and contribute to class discussions of the reading.

        B.     Written and oral presentations related to four exercises (10% each).

        C.     Mid-term exam based on the readings and lectures (25%).

        D.     Final exam based on the remainder of the course readings and lectures

       E.      The exercises are very important and will require considerable time outside
               of class. Be sure to get started immediately after an exercise is introduced.
               The exercises are described below briefly and will be specified in full detail
               as they are assigned during the course of the semester. Exercise grades will
               be based on products produced by each team and the contributions of
               individual team members to that product, as evaluated by the instructor and
               individual team members.


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Objective 1.5 Provide an overview of the class exercises that will run through the

Author: Edward J. Kaiser, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Requirements: Note to Instructor

The following guidelines are provided to help the instructor devise four substantial
student exercises for the course. There is one exercise for each of the four parts of the
course. Each exercise is designed to be the major assignment for that part of the course,
though of course they do not preclude an instructor from making other homework
assignments or giving quizzes and examinations to motivate reading and studying and to
evaluate student understanding of subject matter.

The purpose of the exercises is to challenge students to apply the course material to
policy issues in a specific community. The exercises engage students in analyzing and
solving problems while the lectures and readings provide the underlying framework from
which to work. The exercises also provide a rich source of illustrations and questions for
the classroom. In wrestling with application of concepts and principles to a real
community facing a real hazard situation, students face questions that normally do not
otherwise come up in readings, lectures, and general discussions. In responding to that
challenge, students learn more deeply and understand more fully than is the case when
they merely read, listen, and discuss those concepts. Furthermore, the exercises simulate
tasks similar to those involved in practice. Thus they provide a type of experiential
learning and build students’ confidence in themselves as policy analysts and planners.
The completed reports also reward student efforts with a tangible product.

The four exercises are as follows:

Exercise One: “Describe the Public-Private Community Building Process and its
              Institutional Components in <name of the community assigned by the
              instructor>, Particularly as They Relate Creating or Lessening
              Vulnerability of the Community to Natural Hazards.” This exercise
              accompanies Part I of the course, “The Legacy of Vulnerability and Vision
              of Resilience.” Students work in 3-4 person learning teams to make a
              written report and oral presentation.

Exercise Two: “Describe How Hazards and Mitigation are Perceived and How Hazard
              Mitigation Works in <that same community>and Suggest Opportunities to
              Incorporate Hazard Resilient Community Principles.” This exercise
              accompanies Part II of the course, “Managing Change to Build Hazard
              Resilient Communities.” Students continue to work on the same learning
              teams they participated in for exercise one, and again make a written
              report and oral presentation.

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Exercise Three: “Assess Specific Strategies and Tools for Application in <name of the
              community>.” This exercise accompanies Part III of the course, “Using
              Community Building Tools to Mitigate Hazards.” Students work
              individually on this exercise, each student being assigned different
              mitigation measures to investigate, but the intent is to build a knowledge
              resource base that all the learning teams can use in exercise four to follow.
              Students produce written reports that can be assembled into a resource
              notebook for exercise four.

Exercise Four: “Devise, Present, and Defend a Hazard Mitigation Strategy to Address a
               Specific Hazard Situation in <name of community>.” This exercise
               parallels Part IV of the course, “Creating Resilience,” Students work in the
               same learning teams they were on for exercises one and two to write a
               written strategy report and make an oral presentation.

The exercises are designed to be cumulative. That is, each exercise builds on the explicit
findings as well as the general understanding gained from previous exercises and from
readings, lectures, and discussions.

Choosing the Community and Situation to Be Addressed in the Exercises

The instructor should choose a community close by and easily accessible to the students.
There should be officials and stakeholder representatives willing to spend time on the
project and act as “clients.”. It might help if the “clients” can actually use the students’
reports as initial steps in addressing an issue already on the community’s agenda. The
community should be fairly small and the hazards situations fairly straightforward, so as
not to overwhelm the students with complexity. In larger urban areas, the selection of a
particular neighborhood and specific hazard can help make the exercise more feasible.

The outlines of the exercises below are written as though the class will be working in a
single community. However, it is possible to assign two or even three communities if the
class is sufficiently large, though this is not recommended the first time an instructor
teaches the course. Increasing the number of communities broadens the experience
potential for students as they hear about the situations in addition to the one they
themselves are studying, how classmates are assessing the situation in those
communities, and how different situations call for different strategies. At the same time,
the logistics for instructor and students are multiplied.

Using Learning Teams

The exercises are based on students working together in small learning teams. Teams
consist of three to four students. Four students to a team is the desired maximum; five-
students teams do not work as well. There should not be more than six teams in a class,
however. When there are more than six teams, the class presentations become tedious

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and each team’s presentation time becomes insufficient within the 75-minute class
period. Also there will be no time for questions and discussion, and the learning that
occurs that way.

It is best for the instructor to assign students to teams rather than allowing students to
self-select their partners. The instructor may wish to hand out a questionnaire on the first
day of class asking each student to identify his or her potential team working skills. The
instructor can then distribute the different strengths among teams. The questionnaire
might ask the student to self-assess his or her skills in analysis and investigation, writing
and editing, making oral presentations, chairing and organizing, and thinking creatively,
as well as specific computer skills such as spreadsheets, graphics, and desk-top
publishing. It might also ask about experience or prior relevant coursework. For
example, experience or courses in local government, emergency management or hazards
mitigation, planning, engineering, and the like is relevant and the instructor might want to
distribute such experience among teams. Finally, the questionnaire might also ask for
names of classmates the student would like to work with and suggest that students come
to the instructor in confidence to name any person they would not like to work with, no
questions asked.

The exercises can be used to help students develop their team-working skills over the
course of the semester. It helps if the instructor devotes explicit attention to team
operating procedures, roles, and skills in class from time to time. Students need
encouragement in trying out specific rules for working in groups, and for rotating through
various roles such as chair, recorder, presenter, and follow-through assessor as suggested
in the team-working readings below. In addition, the instructor may devise ways for
students to give gentle feedback to one another and provide opportunities for teams to
discuss difficulties and alternatives in the way they operate.

Students may have little or not experience working on learning teams when they enter
this course. The instructor may wish to assign readings such as those on the following
list early in the semester to help students build effective teams, improve their teamwork
skills, and make effective presentations:

       Ash. 1982. “Working with Small Groups,” in Dandekar, ed., The planner’s Use of
              Information. Chap 5; pp. 105-124.

       Bradford (ed.). 1978. Group Development. 2nd edition. Pp.4-12, 52-61, 62-78.

       Graham Gibbs. 1993. Learning in Teams: A Student Guide. Oxford Centre for
             Staff Development, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington,
             Oxford OX3 0BP, England.

       American Planning Association. Planning Advisory Service Report 453.
             Presentation Graphics.

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Modifying the Exercises

The instructor will want to adapt the draft exercises to his or her course objectives and
students. For example, the instructor may expand or compress the scope of governmental
functions and policy areas to be examined, the types of hazard information to be collected
and analyzed, the range of stakeholder perspectives to be explored, or the particular
hazard situations to be evaluated and addressed by policy recommendations. He or she
can adjust the oral, visual, and written formats for student reports, degree of direct
participation by community officials and residents, and the like. The instructor may wish
to provide quite detailed instructions to help the student, including forms to be filled out
and specific sources of certain information to be collected.

Using Exercises and the Specific Community Situation as Illustrations in Class

The exercises and the communities and situations to which they apply become a common
resource shared by all the students and instructor and are therefore readily available and
relevant for use in the classroom. The idea is for the students and instructor to be
working collaboratively to improve student understanding of concepts and issues and
their ability to perform the types of tasks called for in the exercise. Class time offers
opportunities to explore the challenges that students are wrestling with in the exercise.
Instructors can use the community situation and the exercise to illustrate ideas directly
related to objectives of the lectures and readings. Also, the questions raised in students’
minds as they address the exercise make excellent discussion questions for the classroom.
The instructor might even anticipate some of those questions, or plant them, by raising
them in class for discussion and as a way to offer guidance or opinion. In other words,
the exercises are not meant to be an independent module, but to be integrated with the
material and objectives of readings, lectures, discussions, and exams or quizzes.

Participation by Community Officials or Stakeholder Representatives

The exercises offer a way to provide students with access to governmental officials
involved in emergency management and hazard mitigation and to citizens and interest
groups affected by natural hazards. It can even be an opportunity to bring those people
into the classroom in a manner that makes it easier for them to participate in the students’
learning process. For example, community officials and stakeholders can expand on the
various facets of the problem the students are addressing; elaborate on community values
involved in policy choices; form a realistic panel of responders to student reports and
presentations. Thus instructors are encouraged to ask officials, interest group
representatives, and citizens to participate in the course as “clients” for student reports, as
sources of information and insight about the situations being analyzed, as team advisors,
and/or as evaluators of student conclusions and recommendations. The instructor might
want to consult formally with community officials while designing exercises and
preparing the course, to tailor the exercises to the specific situation in the community and
to produce reports that are most useful to the community, within the objectives of the
course and the abilities of students. To aid student contact with officials who will be

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interviewed during the course of the exercises, the instructor should provide each student
with a letter of introduction.

Concluding Remarks

Instructors should caution students that the exercises entail considerable out-of-class
time. The instructor should advise students to complete a draft of each component of an
exercise as it is discussed in class and not wait until the last several days before the
assignment is due. In fact, instructors may want to require drafts of parts of each report
on intermediate deadline dates, not for grading purposes, but to provide immediate
informal feedback and ensure that students are keeping up.

We recommend that exercises one, two and four include brief oral reports, supported by
visual aids, as well as written reports. Presentations provide excellent, if initially
nervous, experience to students in a situation that can be designed to simulate community
policymaking. The presentations can be given at simulated community meetings, with
other students playing the roles of community officials and groups. The presentations
also provide a way for students to see how other teams addressed the same challenges
their own team faced. They can also observe instructor and possible community
representatives’ responses to oral presentations.

A final thought. The exercises can make the course more rewarding for the instructor.
You get to watch students develop a sense of the richness and challenge of hazard
mitigation planning and are able to help them build their analytical, creative, and
communication skills. You can illustrate concepts with immediate examples from the
exercise community. Each new class, and each new application community, brings to
bear a different combination of issues and abilities, and you see newly creative responses
to the challenge posed by the exercises.

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