PAUS 8271 – Disaster Management

Spring Semester 2004

Professor Bill Waugh


This course focuses on the evolution of U.S. disaster policy and the practice of emergency management, with particular attention top the roles of local governments and nonprofit agencies in disaster management. The course examines the major policy issues, including the utility of the “all-hazard” or comprehensive model of emergency management, the role of the military in disaster operations, state and local capacity building, and the design and implementation of hazard mitigation policies and programs. Lessons are drawn from major disasters ranging from the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and Pentagon in 2001 to the 1994 Northridge earthquake.  Particular attention will be given to special problems presented by hazards such as explosive volcanism, biological terrorism, and urban wildfire.



Required Textbook and Material:


William L. Waugh, Jr., Living with Hazards, Dealing with Disasters: An Introduction to Emergency Management (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Publishers, 2000).


George D. Haddow and Jane A. Bullock, Introduction to Emergency Management (New York: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003).


Claire B. Rubin, Disaster Timeline: Selected Milestone Events and U.S. Outcomes (1965-2002) (Arlington, VA: Claire B. Rubin & Associates, 2003).


Robert T. Stafford Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.


Suggested readings for more information (available in library or from instructor):


Raymond J. Burby, ed., Cooperating with Nature: Confronting Natural Hazards with Land-Use Planning for Sustainable Communities (Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, 1998).


Ian Burton, Robert W. Kates, and Gilbert F. White, The Environment as Hazard, 2nd Edition (New York: The Guilford Press, 1993).


Louise K. Comfort, ed., Managing Disaster: Strategies and Policy Perspectives (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1988).


Thomas E. Drabek and Gerard J. Hoetmer, eds., Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government (Washington, DC: International City/County Management Association, 1991).


Howard Kunreuther and Richard J. Roth, Sr., eds., Paying the Price: The Status and Role of Insurance Against Natural Disasters in the United States (Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, 1998).


Dennis S. Mileti, ed., Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States (Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, 1999).


National Academy of Public Administration, Building an Emergency Management System to Meet People’s Needs in Natural and Manmade Disasters (Washington, DC: NAPA, February 1993).


National Research Council, Facing the Challenge: The U.S. National Report to the IDNDR World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, Yokohama, Japan, May 23-27, 1994 (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1994).


Rutherford M. Platt, ed., Disasters and Democracy: The Politics of Extreme Natural Events (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999).


Robert A. Stallings, ed., Methods of Disaster Research (Xlibris, 2002).


Richard T. Sylves and William L. Waugh, Jr., eds., Cities and Disaster (Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas Publishers, 1990).


Richard T. Sylves and William L. Waugh, Jr., eds., Disaster Management in the U.S. and Canada (Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas Publishers, 1996).


Kathleen Tierney, Michael K. Lindell, and Ronald W. Perry, Facing the Unexpected:  Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States (Washington, DC:  Joseph Henry Press, 2001).


William L. Waugh, Jr., Public Administration and Emergency Management (Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA, Emergency Management Institute, 2000). (click Higher Education Project courses)


William L. Waugh, Jr., Terrorism and Emergency Management (Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA, Emergency Management Institute, 2001). (click Higher Education Project Courses)


William L. Waugh, Jr., Terrorism and Emergency Management (New York: Marcel Dekker, 1990).


William L. Waugh, Jr., and Ronald J. Hy, eds., Handbook of Emergency Management (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990).


Selected Journals: 

The ASPEP Journal (American Society of Professional Emergency Planners)

The Australian Journal of Emergency Management

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal (UK)

Disaster Recovery Journal (for Business Continuity Planners)

Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management

Environmental Hazards: Human and Policy Dimensions

Homeland Protection Professional

International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters (International Research Committee on Disasters, American Sociological Association)

Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management (The Netherlands)

Journal of Emergency Management

Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (electronic)

The Liaison (for Civil-Military Humanitarian Relief Collaboration) (Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, Hawaii)

Natural Hazards: An International Journal of Hazards Research & Prevention

Natural Hazards Review (Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado)


Students are also encouraged to use Internet information sources and a listing of websites will be provided. Students may subscribe to discussion lists for a variety of disaster organizations and related professions and receive email notification of major earthquakes and other disasters, federal disaster relief announcements, job announcements, research opportunities, and other relevant professional news from the field. The United Nations conducts Internet conferences periodically and information is also available in English on emergency management programs and activities in Canada, Australia, Japan, and other nations.  The Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP) has weekly Internet workshops, as well.


Students should become familiar with the following sites:








A list of disaster websites will be provided and more websites will be suggested in the class discussions and readings. 


Course Requirements:


This is a seminar course, therefore class participation is essential and will represent a significant percentage of the final grade. There will be two examinations, a midterm and a final, and a research project. There will also be supplemental readings, case analyses, and other class activities that will require participation.


The research project should focus on an emergency management issue or function, such as alert and warning systems or evacuation systems, or on a specific hazard or disaster, such as landslides or a major hurricane.  Students should survey the literature (library and Internet), assess the state of knowledge about the issue, function, hazard, or disaster and provide an analysis that identifies information needs, lessons learned, and/or other concerns for emergency managers, policymakers, and communities at risk.  Papers should be 12-15 pages in length and students should be prepared to provide a 2-5 minute overview in class.



Grading:         Midterm Exam                          30%

Final Exam                               30%

                        Research Project                      30%

                        Participation                             10%

                                                                        100% = Course grade


Students should become familiar with University policies regarding plagiarism and academic honesty. Policies are printed in University catalogues and posted on the GSU website





Office:              1248 Urban Life Building

Office Hours:    4:00-6:00 pm, Mondays and Thursdays and by appointment.

Telephone:        404.651.4592 – office and voice mail

Telephone:        404.377.8173 – home (1 to 11 pm only)

FAX:                404.651.1378



Tentative List of Topics and In-class Activities

Date                Topic                                                   Readings/Activities               



January 15        Introduction to course,                          Waugh, Chapter 1

                        From asteroid strikes and gamma

Rays to killer bees


January 22        The Social and Economic                      Waugh, Chapter 2

                        Costs of Disaster and the                      Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 1

                        US Emergency Management                 FEMA website

System                                                 Disaster Timeline


January 29        Natural Hazards – Risk Assessment      Waugh, Chapter 3                   

                        Hurricanes, Floods and Drought            Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 2

                        Earthquakes                                         “Earthquake!” (video)              


February 5       Natural Hazards – volcanic hazards,      USGS websites

Tsunamis, wildfires                      

“In the Shadow of Vesuvius” (video)


February 12     Man-made hazards – hazardous            Waugh, Chapter 4

                        Materials, nuclear accidents


February 19     Hazard and disaster mitigation               Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 3

                        Flood hazard mitigation                         FEMA floodplain management videos


February 26     Disaster preparedness                           Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 6

                        Public health emergencies                      “The 1918 Flu Epidemic” (video)


March 4           Disaster response                                 Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 4

                        air crashes, WTC response                   “Alert 3” (video) – Sioux City crash

Midterm Examination


March 11         Spring break


March 18         Disaster recovery                                  Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 5


March 25         Library assignment


April 1              Communications                                   Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 7

                        From tornado watches and warnings

                        To interoperability issues


April 8              International disaster management         Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 8

                                                                                    “Sphere Project” (video)


April 15            Terrorism and Homeland Security         Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 9


April 22            Major issues and the future of               Haddow & Bullock, Chapter 10

                        Emergency management                        Waugh 5-6

                        Student presentations


April 29            Conclusions and student presentations  


May 6             Final Examination and papers due


NOTE:  The class schedule is subject to change. Students are responsible for all changes announced in class and/or communicated via WebCT.