All posts by jrkiefer2

Community Preparedness Unit 8: Assingment 4

  • Community preparedness: Search online for the disaster preparedness or emergency preparedness information for your city, town or county/borough. Note – most of us are in Fairbanks so, to mix it up a little, if you were born or grew up somewhere else, you can use that place for your assignment.

This Assignment will be on Berks County which is in the state of Pennsylvania.

  1. Was it easy or difficult to find your community’s plan? Describe how long it took, or in the extreme case, that you never actually found it online.

Overall, it was fairly easy to find my state and community’s preparedness plan. I have spent time going through Berks County’s Emergency Management site before, while I looking for internships in the area. This additional time and research spent allowed me to access the site quickly. However, I believe I could have found this very fast because of how the internet works today. As long as you know what your looking for you can find it.

  1. Describe one thing you think shows your community is well-prepared in case of a disaster

Over that last couple of decades, communities all over the United States have become more prepared because there has been a greater emphasis on homeland security and emergency management. While communities are not perfectly prepared for every disaster they will face, they are able to learn and improve each time a disaster impacts their community. One thing I think that shows my community is well prepared is the fact that we have an emergency management office, a state preparedness plan and people working every day to better protect the communities.

  1. Describe one way you think an improvement could be made to your community’s plan.

What good is a plan if people don’t even know it is there? I think the largest improvement for my community is the need to get the message out. It is important to share how individual preparedness can help during a time of need and what steps everyone can take in their community to better prepare. I also think a condensed plan or version of a plan is needed. No one has time to sort through what to do in different circumstances or unique disasters.  Another way to improve our communities plan is by using social media. The use of social media can allow more members of a community to be reached and allows them to see bits and pieces of the plan at a time.

  1. Answer the following question: Do you feel better or worse about how well your community is prepared after reading it’s plan?

I think the major players in my community are prepared and those that know and look for the preparedness information are prepared for most known hazards in the area. I feel as though the state and local government are able to respond efficiently with the information detailed in the plans, but I think the community should be more involved and a Whole Community approach is needed. Overall, the plans laid out are clear and concise and address the hazards in the area.



Unit 8 Assignment 3: Preparedness Improvement

Hello everyone, the link provided will take you to a short presentation on what preparedness improvements were needed for my family’s house hold. After conducting the first assignment for this unit, it was clear that a new communication plan was needed to help us to better prepare for disasters in Berks County Pennsylvania.

Link 2 (Screencast provides two links… Just in case )

Unit 7 Blog Post

The article I selected takes a look at how natural disasters impact poverty-stricken countries compared to richer ones. This article studied more than 7,000 disasters over the past two decades, which 1.35 million people died. It noted that 90 percent of the deaths that occurred happing in low and middle-income places throughout the world. This article also noted the effects of climate change and how many people around the globe will be impacted by rising seas, earthquakes and clime and weather extremes. It also found that low-income countries death toll per disaster was five times more than in high income countries. The article looks at a number of past disasters, but for this blog post I will focus on the cyclone that impacted Myanmar in comparison to a cyclone that impacted Australia.  The Cyclone that hit Myanmar caused 138,000 deaths while the top strength cyclone that hit Australia caused zero deaths.

One key point this article states is that “High-income countries suffer huge economic losses in disasters, but people in low-income countries pay with their lives” (Rowling, 2016). This is something that I never really thought about, but it makes sense. While poverty-stricken countries lose so much, higher income countries often have more to lose (in a sense) in terms of critical infrastructures etc. Another key point in this article is that most of the world needs to work together to better prepare and improve these “poorer” nations. The article stated that the world leaders agreed to end poverty by 2013 as a part of a new set of global development goals. Another key point made in this article talked about the ways some countries alert the public of a disaster that is about to take place.

While this article was not from a legitimate source, I found it to be very helpful and informing. My original article I started this blog post was already used by a peer and this was the second best (for me). This article talks about both the similarities and differences between high and low-income countries. I believe the two cyclone disasters show just how different nations can be in response to disasters.

Unit 6 Week 3 Blog Post

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most disastrous storms to impact the United States. One reason this hurricane proved to be so disastrous was because of the many failures from the local, state and federal government, making research into the human impacts very easy. Below are a list of resources describing human impacts.

  1. Bankston III, C. L., Barnshaw, J., Bevc, C., Capowich, G. E., Clarke, L., Das, S. K., … & Esmail, (2010). The sociology of Katrina: Perspectives on a modern catastrophe. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

2. Sharkey, P. (2007). Survival and death in New Orleans: An empirical look at the human impact of Katrina. Journal of Black Studies, 37(4), 482-501.

3. Jonkman, S. N., Maaskant, B., Boyd, E., & Levitan, M. L. (2009). Loss of life caused by the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: analysis of the relationship between flood characteristics and mortality. Risk analysis, 29(5), 676-698.

4. Rhodes, J., Chan, C., Paxson, C., Rouse, C. E., Waters, M., & Fussell, E. (2010). The impact of hurricane katrina on the mental and physical health of low‐income parents in New Orleans. American journal of orthopsychiatry, 80(2), 237-247.

5. United States. Congress. House. Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for, & Response to Hurricane Katrina. (2006). A failure of initiative: Final report of the select bipartisan committee to investigate the preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina (Vol. 109). United States Government Printing.

My favorite resource to study and learn about the impacts and failures of hurricane Katrina is the last resource posted. This committee investigated the preparation for and response to hurricane Katrina while showing failures at all levels which negatively impacted life and property. This source is very accurate. This committees findings helped improve our preparation and response to natural disasters by evaluating the lessons learned.

Case Study 2 Week 2 Disaster Game Blog

Much like the volcano disaster game, I thoroughly enjoyed learning and playing the hurricane disaster game. My first run through I started off on the hardest level and thought I did a great job preparing my little village. Well my little village was much larger than I thought it was (I didn’t know I could view different areas by moving with the arrows on my keyboard) and I missed about half the population. I helped me realize how important structures are along with a number of mitigation efforts. I used a number of sand dunes and tried to protect my weaker buildings with other concrete buildings. The most frustrating thing to this game was the amount of time I had to tie down all the boats, build different buildings etc. because it was far too limited. All in all, I enjoyed this disaster game and found it to be useful while learning about how to prepare for hurricanes.

Case Study 2 Assignment 3: blog post

The category I am choosing to right about for this blog post is mitigation. Mitigation efforts are crucial for protecting life and property. For my case study, I am evaluating the impact of Hurricane Katrina. One way the US tries to mitigate the effects of these powerful storms is by using levees. The levees “protecting New Orleans were not built for the most severe hurricanes” (United States Congress, 2006). This failure was due to a lack of imagination by officials and ultimately, a lack of effective leadership and initiative. The levees in place were not properly maintained and there was a lack of warning systems in place to notify that repairs were needed. Improper maintenance of the levees shows just one aspect of ineffective leadership or leadership failures.

Unit 6-Week 1- Case study #2

Hello everyone, my second case study will be on Hurricane Katrina. This natural disaster took place along the gulf coast of the United States, and this hurricane severely impacted New Orleans.  Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S early on August 29th in 2005. Hurricanes are formed when “areas of high air pressure pushing into a low-pressure area. As the warm air continues to rise, the surrounding air swirls in to take its place. As the warmed, moist air rises and cools off, the water in the air forms clouds. The whole system of clouds and wind spins and grows, fed by the ocean’s heat and water evaporating from the surface.” (NASA, 2018). Hurricanes are categorized by their wind strength. Hurricane Katrina made land fall as a category 3 storm, but winds of a category 5 storm were seen as it traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. So far the most interesting thing I learned so far about this natural disaster were the many failures that occurred.

Unit 5 Week 3 Blog Post

  2. Shore, J. H., Tatum, E. L., & Vollmer, W. M. (1986). Evaluation of mental effects of disaster, Mount St. Helens eruption. American Journal of Public Health, 76(Suppl), 76-83. (
  4. Dale, V. H., Swanson, F. J., & Crisafulli, C. M. (2005). Disturbance, survival, and succession: understanding ecological responses to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. In Ecological responses to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens (pp. 3-11). Springer, New York, NY. (

My favorite publication is the first article listed. This information is very accurate, and it is from a legitimate source. This publication focuses on the initial impact to the region and the public and the aftermath. I really found this publication interesting because of the photographs taken and description of every other natural disaster that took place because of the eruption. I did not find any information misleading or wrong throughout the publication because it was through USGS.

Disaster Game

For the Stop Disasters game, I found the equipment very useful in helping to determine when a volcano would erupt. From my previous research I found the CoSpec useful because it measures the sulfur dioxide levels, but for this game I found that the Geodimeter was easier to read and predict eruptions. I find these tools very useful when trying to predict when an eruption would take place but often times I was lost in the game on how to evacuate the public. After a while I would evacuate 50% of the population to play it safe because I found that even with the tools I had, it was almost impossible to actually predict. This game shines light on how hard the job is for emergency managers.

Volcano Blog Post week 2

For my Blog post, I decided to write about the mitigation methods used for the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980. I found that there are very few mitigation efforts that can be made to protect human life and property for volcanic eruptions. One mitigation method that is used is evacuation. The problem with evacuations is that often times not everyone leaves the area. We see this often when Hurricanes strike the east coast. Another mitigation effort that can be used is to map out danger zones or impact zones in case of a potential eruption. This was done for Mount St. Helens, but the danger zone was far to small. These two mitigation efforts go hand in hand. I feel as if the danger zone was spread out farther, more people may have evacuated. All in all, while devastating, this disaster allows officials to examine what went right and what went wrong so that future efforts and responses can be improved.