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Erica Fischer

Oregon State University

Breakout Room 2.


first responders; renters; socially vulnerable

How can the human dimensions of disaster impacts be more accurately captured and represented in the analysis, modeling and simulation of disasters?

To date; our modeling and simulation of disasters including capturing damage to infrastructure and housing given different exposures. However; what is missing is the impact of that damage to the community. To more accurately capture and represent the human dimensions of disaster impacts; disaster science research must occur within a transdisciplinary method such that engineers are working in collaboration with social scientists; economists; and urban planners. While engineering data can be typically collected during a static point in time; human dimensions data must be collected through a temporal scale as the impacts will change. Data on the human dimensions can be collected through semi-structured interviews; stakeholder engagement meetings; and through internships within the community itself. Specifically; researchers need to ingratiate themselves within the community; building trust with community leaders so that the functionality of the community can be understood; modeled; and analyzed. The nuances of this functionality cross all institutions within the community including education; health care; public works; local government; etc. In addition; there is a large need to understand how different members of the community may be impacted differently due to physical damage within the community. Ensuring that we consider the differences in how disasters impact our socially vulnerable populations versus other community populations is critical to the analysis; modeling; and simulation of the disaster.

What type of data and supporting research infrastructure would be necessary to enable novel, transdisciplinary approaches to answering these and other human-centered disaster questions?

To perform this type of transdisciplinary research; post-disaster reconnaissance and data collection must be performed with transdisciplinary teams rather than discipline-specific teams. By doing so; the method of data collection and the initial summary of events will be presented through the lens of community-wide impact (including human dimensions) rather than localized impacts. In addition; data on first responders actions throughout the hazard will be critical to informing human dimensions such as evacuation. This type of data can be collected through building connections with the US Fire Administration (USFA) or local first responder agencies. To be able to compare data across different disasters; we have to collect the data in a similar methodology not only between hazards of the same type (e.g. hurricanes); but also across different hazards (e.g. hurricanes versus wildfires). By doing so we can learn from other hazards and begin to see parallels and differences in impacts. We often research and investigate the performance of communities with and without different levels of mitigation. However; oftentimes lack of mitigation is not due to a lack of education about the exposure to the hazard; rather it is because of the lack of control over the mitigation on the property (e.g. renters). To solve this challenge; research on impacts on communities must differentiate between the renter population and homeowner population

In what ways can US-Japan collaborations advance these questions in new and important ways?

The US-Japan collaboration will advance these questions through comparison of data collection methods in the field; development of research team structure; and use of data in the analysis and simulation of disasters. The field data collection from communities will provide us with the foundational data to model and simulate disasters including human dimensions. This data must be collected in a systematic and consistent manner such that it can be compared across disasters and between disasters caused by the same hazard type. This workshop will provide space to discuss how this can be accomplished and understand the gaps in research knowledge for further development of research infrastructure. While there are transdisciplinary teams in the US; the NSF-sponsored CONVERGE network of extreme event reconnaissance teams are discipline-specific. This workshop will provide a chance for US researchers to discuss with Japanese researchers on how to share data across these teams and build strong collaborations that will enable us to simulate and analyze communities for human dimension impacts of disasters.

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