TION PLANNING FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES: AWARENESS OF DAM SAFETY
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
MASTERS OF PLANNING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
University of Colorado Denver, Colorado June, 1984
Primary purpose of this paper was to examine mitigation planning for natural disasters and approaches that local governments can take to reduce or eliminate risks to life and property. Focus will be on the importance of awareness of dam safety, and land-use management as key components of mitigation planning for local governments.
As settlement patterns continue near Colorado's dams and inundation zones, the potential for a disaster increases comparatively. Natural hazard mitigation planning has traditionally been assigned a low priority compared to other issues at the local level. Communities have depended upon the government for assistance after a disaster, and have not taken responsibility for mitigating the risk.
Mitigation planning for natural disasters is the most effective means of saving lives and reducing property losses. Without a strong mitigation program at the local level, the costs of disasters will continue to rise along with population growth. When mitigation components are broadly considered and applied, awareness programs and land-use management strongly outweigh all others in reducing catastrophic repetition and costs.
METHODOLOGY: information was obtained through prior disaster experience,
perception, newspaper accounts, government agency reports, and past flood literature. Federal, state, and local government mitigation legislation and programs were examined to draw conclusions and make recommendations for local governments.
SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS: Emphasis in researching this paper has been on two components of natural hazard mitigation planning for local communities; awareness programs, and land use management.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Statement of the Problem
Methods and Data
Scope and Limitations
LIST OF TABLES iv
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS v
I. Nature of Disasters 1
"It's A Dam Shame"
II. Mitigation Legislation and Programs 9
"Federal Government has the Money,
States have the Power, and Local Government the Problems"
III. Hazard Perception 17
"Lightning Never Strikes Twice in the Same Place"
IV. Public Awareness Programs 21
"Once is Not Enough"
V. Mitigation Planning 27
"There's No Place Like Home"
VI. Conclusions and Recommendations 30
LIST OF TABLES
1 Dam Failures/Colorado (1965-1983) 4a
2 Land Use and Building Code Authority 14a
in the United States
3 Four Elements of Comprehensive Emergency Management 28a
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"The Estes Park Flood" 3A
High and Moderate Hazard Dams in Colorado 6A
"Everything in nature, contains all the powers of nature,"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Man's tendency to establish communities near water, and recent settlement patterns have made hazards and increasing threat for communities in Colorado. My concern for the safety and protection of people living in vulnerable areas prompted this research paper.
I would like to thank my family, friends, and colleages whose support in mysterious ways kept me motivated and inspired me to finish this paper.
I would also like to thank Herb Smith, my advisor, and his "So You Have To Do a Thesis" approach for adding to my professional development in the field of planning and community development.
NATURE OF DISASTERS "IT'S A DAM SHAME"
Cities tend to persist even after there is widespread damage, destruction, and disruption from a disaster. Disasters occur in many forms, some lasting only a few minutes, and others extending over many years. This paper is concerned with natural disasters, sometimes referred to as "Acts of God," forced upon mankind, as opposed to man-made disasters which stem from errors of man ranging from technical misunderstandings to ignorance, and from intentional acts such as terrorism.
A natural hazard is a condition of the environment. Where and how man chooses to live and build can aggravate the hazardous conditions. The term disaster can refer to the physical consequences such as injuries deaths and property damage, or to social and economic impacts stemming from the event. A definition of the term disaster which includes both the physical and social consequences is:
"an event, concentrated in time and space, in which a society (or a community) undergoes severe danger and incurs such losses to its members and physical appurtenances that the social structure is disrupted and the fulfillment of all or some of the essential functions of the society is prevented."1
Riverine flood, coastal storm surge, earthquake, landslide, hurricane wind, expansive soil and tsunami (sea wave) are considered to be natural hazards of main concern in the United States.
Floods are the most widespread hazard and the most destructive to buildings. River flooding takes an enormous toll of life and property mostly because people like to settle near rivers and in floodplains. Flooding involves the spillover of above normal stream flows, and the lands subject to flooding are the stream or river's floodplain.
Earthquakes are the most destructive natural hazards, and are not as rare as commonly believed. One hundred earthquakes of greater than 6.0 on the Richter scale occur each year, according to world wide statistics. In the United States, Alaska, California, and Missouri have earthquake prone histories, while 39 states have a potential for seismic activity.
Some well documented examples of disasters exist since the earthquakes preceding the War of 1812 when an earthquake shattered Massachusetts, and left parts of Missiouri and Arkansas permanently sunken. In 1889, flood waters claimed 2,209 lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In 1906, an earthquake rocked San Francisco and together with resulting fires caused 500-700 deaths and more than $374 million in property damage. In 1929 a California dam collapsed releasing a wall of water which swept 450 people to their deaths.
Between 1960 and 1970, 13 significant disasters occurred in the United States, each responsible for 10 or more lost lives, and at least $100 million in damage. Tornadoes in 1965 claimed 271 lives, and Hurricane Camille in 1969 caused 256 deaths and destroyed $1.4 billion in property. In 1972, a flash flood in South Dakota killed 236 people, and the hurricane and tropical storm called "Agnes," hit the northeastern part of the United States causing 118 deaths and the loss of more than $3.1 billion in property.
Disasters in the Rocky Mountain Region include the Teton Dam Disaster, June 5, 1976, Idaho, Big Thompson Canyon Flood, July 31, 1976, Colorado, and the Lawn Lake Dam Disaster, July 15, 1982, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. During the Teton Dam Disaster 11 persons were killed, one million acres of land destroyed, 16,000 head of livestock lost, and over one billion dollars in property damage. The dam was owned by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation and cost the United States over 549 million dollars. The night of the Big Thompson Flood, there were more than 2500 people in the Canyon, 600 residents, 1200 part-time residents and many tourists. More than 139 people died.
At approximately 5:30 am, the 80-year old Lawn Lake Dam failed, sending water down the Roaring River into the Fall River and then into the Town of Estes Park.(Map 1) Bridges were washed away, road systems destroyed, and 177 businesses and 108 residences were inundated. Four lives were lost, a hydroelectric plant and fish hatchery destroyed, and caused at least 30 million dollars in damages. All the fatalities were campers in Rocky Mountain National Park. Lawn Lake Dam was classified by state engineers as a moderate hazard dam where failure would probably result in only property
Source: ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS ffiPnvPr. Colorado). .Friday, July 16, 1982
"The Estes Park Flood ..."
There is a close correlation between the population settlement pattern, population growth and the cost of disasters. As settlement continues near Colorado's dams and particularly in the inundation zones below dams, the potential for disaster increases commensurately. More moderate and high hazard dams are continually being created. More lives and property are being threatened and potential costs to citizens are rising as settlement in inundation zones continues. As Colorado's population grows and continues to settle in potential inundation zones, the costs of dam failure can only increase.
Public awareness of dam failure hazards is generally low in Colorado. Most people who live in the potential inundation zone of a dam are unaware of their precarious location. They do not realize that in the event of a catastrophic failure;1 2 3 4
(1) they could lose their lives and property,
(2) they might have only a very short time to evacuate,
(3) which warning signals may save their lives, and
(4) which evacuation routes are the safest to use.
Colorado has a history since 1890 of at least 130 dam failures. Thirty dams have failed since 1965, mainly from mechanical flaws or from flash flooding (Table 1). The Lower Latham Dam (Weld County, 1973) and the Lawn Lake Dam failure (Rocky Mountain National Park, 1982), resulted in Presidential Disaster Declarations.
DAM FAILURES/COLORADO (1965-1983)
1983 West Creek Dare Washed out during flooding
1983 Grand Mesa 48 Overtopped due to spillway plugged with snow.
1983 Battlement Mesa Overtopped due to spillway plugged with snow.
1982 Lawn Lake Piping failure due to deterioration of leaded outlet valve connection.
1980 Prospect Piping failure due to improperly constructed underdrain.
1978 Wesley Raley Piping failure due to lack of cutoff to foundation.
1978 Myron Isabel Breaching of embankment by large tree overturning.
1975 Woodraoor Creek 14 Overtopped during flooding (spillway was filled in).
1975 Karval Outlet pipe corroded releasing entire reservoir
1974 Donald T. Anderson Piping due to inadequate foundation cutoff.
1973 West Creek Dan Operator excavatred in spillway during flooding causing rapid erosion of material.
1973 J.O. Hill Spillway washed out due to failure of West Creek.
1973 fc 1983 Tony White Spillway washed out during flooding.
1973 Lower Lathan Failed at spillway. Actual cause is unknown.
1973 Ireland IS Overtopped during flooding
1973 Hidden Treasure Silted in breach hole in bottom of abandoned dam blew out releasing muck into stream.
1973 Florissant Spillway washed out during flooding.
1973 Blue Mountain Spillway washed out during flooding
1973 Horseshoe Reservoir Dan Piping failure at masonry outlet structure. (Failure was controlled with car bodies, etc.)
1970 Sheepdrive Overtopped during flooding.
1970 Marie Reservoir Saturation of dare caused massive slip which caused breach.
1965 Browns 13 Overtopped during flooding.
1965 Two Buttes Overtopped during flooding.
1965 Clay Creek Overtopped during flooding.
1965 Franktown M-1 Overtopped during flooding.
1965 Franktown-Parker W-1 Overtopped during flooding
1965 Agate Overtopped during flooding
1965 Cripple Creek 13 Overtopped during flooding
1965 Skaguay Overtopped during flooding. (Below Cripple Creek 13) (Two persons drowned).
1965 Georgetown Washed out during flooding.
Source: Colorado's Vulnerability to Very High Risk Natural Hazards Revised 1983
The threat of dam failure is usually associated with natural events such as flash flooding, riverine flooding, earthquakes, landslides, and sustained high winds, however, failures often occur due to natural erosion, poor design or construction, and animals.
National experience has shown that catastrophic dam failure can result in large numbers of lives lost and enormous damage to property. A catastrophic dam failure can release large volumes of water over a wide area or inundation zone. This zone is much greater than most people perceive, and they may be inundated in a very short time. Residential construction in the potential inundation zone, or floodplain is a common practice in Colorado as in most parts of the United States.
The need for stored water which can be made available on demand is a critical one in all areas of Colorado. Colorado is a semi-arid region with an average annual precipitation of less than 16 inches per year. Runoff from snowpack in the high mountain areas is usually finished by early July and precipitation is usually not sufficient to bring irrigated crops to maturity. Control of the water runoff for future use becomes vitally important since most streams receiving snow melt produce two-thirds of their annual volume of runoff in May, June, and July.
There are about 27,000 dams that exist in the State of Colorado, many of those are small and threaten no one; the federal government owns 120
dams, and the state 11; the rest are privately owned. Many of the dams in the state are old and not in good condition, and many exist near active faults or in areas where mild seismic events occur.
At the present time in Colorado, there are approximately 2,280 dams recorded with the State Engineer. They are of sufficient threat status that they must be monitored and inspected. These dams are classified in three hazard categories:^
1 . 240 high hazard dams where failure would
probably result in the loss of human life.
2. 345 moderate hazard dams where failure would probably result in only property damage.
3. 1 695 low hazard dams where failure would probably result in damage only to the structure itself.
Many of the 26,400 (27,000 minus 585 high and moderate hazard dams) have inundation zones that are almost totally undeveloped. Many non-hazardous dams are likely to be converted to moderate or high hazard dams if prior arrangements have not been made to limit development.
Primary responsibility for safety of dams in Colorado is with the Division of Water Resources (State Engineer) under the Department of Natural
HIGH AND MODERATE HAZARD DAMS IN COLORADO
Numerators (Larger Figures) Represent Numbers of High Hazard Dams in Counties Denomenators (Smaller Figures) Represent Numbers of Moderate Hazard Dams in Counties
SOURCE: Colorado Division of Disaster Emergency Services, Denver, Colorado 1984
Resources. Dam Safety programs developed by Colorado Division of Disaster Emergency Services (DODES) are administered under authority of the following Legislation Acts:
. Title 35, Article 49, Colorado Revised Statutes
1973, Agriculture, Livestock Water Tanks.
. Title 37, Article 87, Colorado Revised Statutes
1973, Water and Irrigation Reservoirs.
. Contracts signed pursuant to Public Law 92-367,
National Dam Inspection Act of August 8, 1972.
. House Bill 1416, Dam Safety Warning and Evacuation Planning.
The State Engineer's primary concern is toward structural efforts, means of hazard reduction such as inspections, construction, repair and water level and spillway regulations.
The Division of Disaster Emergency Services (DODES) manages the state's emergency preparedness as a whole and is concerned with all activities that will mitigate the state's vulnerability to dam failure. DODES primary concerns are on the nonstructural means of hazard mitigation, especially development of warning and evacuation plans for threatened communities.
State agencies face a problem because a large percentage of the dams found to be in need of repair serve functions required by the quasipublic and public owners. The state can incur the cost of removing the structures, or require the dam owners to upgrade or repair their dams. However funding to
do either is not available. Balancing the public benefit derived from impounding water supplies behind unsafe dams against the risk of catastrophic failure is an issue that has not been addressed except when failure is imminent.
The need for mitigation planning is a crucial role of local government in our communities, few officials have seriously thought about and planned for local government disaster action because they are often oriented to reactive policies. They have difficulty being concerned about potential problems when they are occupied with todays and yesterday's problems.
MITIGATION LEGISLATION AND PROGRAMS
"Federal government has the money, states have the power, and local governments the problems"
The role of the federal government has been to provide disaster relief (temporary housing, low interest loans, grants, employment compensation) to supplement the state emergency needs. Communities have come to depend on the federal government as a source of help after the disaster, rather than develop an awareness of the hazards that could affect their community and take feasible mitigation measures.
Flooding has received the greatest attention from the Federal Government. Mitigation legislation, and program includes:
1. Flood Control Act of 1936, administered by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. This was the beginning of a federally funded effort to reduce flood hazards through the construction of dams, levees, and floodway improvements. Non-structural activities also include; providing technical and planning assistance to communities in planning the wise use of floodplains, acquisition of wetlands for natural storage areas, and development of recreational facilities in flood prone lands.
2. The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (Public Law. 90-448) was called the "first constructive land use bill in the nation" by the Administrator of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Through this Act the Federal government became involved with the land use planning process on non public lands after becoming concerned over losses from natural disasters, the increasing demand for federal funds for disaster victims, and the limited success of local communities in managing their floodplains.
Acquisition of flood damaged property can be pursued under Section 1362 of the NFIP. Eligible owners can elect to sell the land and buildings to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who subsequently transfers the property to the community. To be potentially eligible for assistance at least one of the folowing criteria must be met: 1) currently damaged structure must have been damaged by at least three previous floods over a five year period, with an average damage of 25 percent or more of the value of the structure; 2) A single flood has damaged the structure 50 percent or more of its value or beyond repair to its preflood condition; 3) a single event has left the structure damaged and irreparable, either due to local ordinance limitations or significantly increased building costs. 3
3. Flood Disaster Protection Act, 1973 (Public Law 93-234) administered by the Flood Insurance Administrator. Under these provisions no federal financial assistance can be provided for acquisition or development of any identified flood-prone property unless (1) the community in which it is located has entered the National Flood
Insurance Program, and (2) the applicant applying for financial assistance has purchased a flood insurance policy.
Title II of the 1973 Act specifically deals with disaster mitigation by requiring federal identification of flood-prone communities and notifying them of the designation. The community upon notification is required to participate in the flood insurance program or prove that it is not flood-prone.
4. The National Dam Inspection Act (Public Law 42-367) was passed by Congress during the Nixon administration and directed the Secretary of the Army, through the Corps of Engineers to begin a National Dam Inspection Program to inspect every dam 25 feet or more in height or with the capacity to impound 50 acre-feet or more of water. Exempted from the program were dams that had been built by major federal agencies, dams that had been inspected in the preceeding 12 months; and dams that posed no threat to human life or property.
During 1972-1976, 49,329 dams were inventoried. The Nixon and Ford administration never approved funding to carry out actual inspections. On the grounds that dam safety is a state responsibility, the program was limited to the inventory and preparation of a proposal for the National Dam Safety Program.
No money was budgeted for inspections until mid 1977, when Congress voted 15 million dollars after responding to the failure of the Bureau of Reclamation's Teton Dam, and four days after the never inspected Kelly Barnes Dam collapsed in President Carter's home state of Georgia.
The Federal Program now underway provides for the Corps or its contractors to conduct initial inspections only, or when states are unable to perform inspections themselves. Since the Federal government believes that dam safety is a state responsibility, the Federal program is designed with incentives for states to take an active role. Federal funding of dam inspections depends on states' showing that they will adopt comprehensive programs for inspection of dam construction and operation.
5. Executive Orders 11988 and 11990. Executive Order 1 1 988 was issued May 24, 1977, in furtherance of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, The Flood Disaster Act of 1973, and the National Environment Policy Act of 1969. The Executive Orders were intended to bring unity to the flood programs by requiring federal agencies to provide direction to reduce the risk of flood loss, minimize the impact of floods on human safety, health, and welfare, and restore and preserve the natural and beneficial values served by floodplains.
Executive order 11990, issued in furtherance of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, prohibits federal agencies from taking any action in a wetland
unless the importance of the site outweighs the requirements of the Executive Order and are directed to (a) avoid the destruction or modification of wetlands; (b) avoid direct or indirect support of new construction in wetlands; (c) minimize the destruction, loss, or degradation of wetlands; and (d) preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands.
6. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) provide Federal aid to promote sound community development. CDBG are awarded to units of local government by states and distribution of funds are determined in consultation with affected citizens and local elected officials. The CDBG program provides grants to carry out a wide range of community development activities directed toward neighborhood revitalization, economic development, improved community facilities and services and hazard mitigation. Funds can be used for:
1. Acquisition of real property;
2. Relocation of demolition;
3. Structural rehabilitation;
4. Provision of public facilities;
5. Mitigating serious and immediate threats to the health and welfre of a community.
State policies that specifically address natural hazards are limited in number. All states have adopted land use policies that may serve as a framework for natural hazard mitigation. In Natural Hazard Risk Assessment,^
Frank Kusler has summarized state's statutes authorizing local governments and state agencies to adopt zoning regulations, subdivision controls, building codes, and special flood hazard regulations, emphasizing land-use control for the regulation of flood-prone areas. (Table 2)
All states have general authorization for the adoption of zoning regulations, but only twenty have adopted requirements for subdivision regulations at the state level. Home Rule powers are allowed in thirty-four states, and eight of those states make special reference to land use regulation in their home rule statutes. Home Rule is important for communities adopting sensitive and flexible natural hazard mitigation policies. Thirty-one states grant extra territorial subdivision controls to their municipalities, usually extending three to five miles beyond corporate limits.
In thirty-two states, zoning is required to be in accordance with a comprehensive plan. Twenty-two states require a comprehensive plan, master plan, or at least a transportation plan prior to adoption of subdivision regulations. Since being a requirement of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 701 planning process, a comprehensive planning requirement is nearly universal in the United States.
LAND USE AND BUILDING CODE AUTHORITY IN THE UNITED STATES
SOURCE: Arthur A. Atkisson, William J. Petak, Natural Hazard Risk Assessment and Public Policy
Local jurisdictions are permitted to adopt interim regulations (ordinances that suspend development for a specified time period) in several states. These ordinances establish that no new development may take place for a period of time, usually six months to two years, until a comprehensive plan or acceptable compromise develoment plan can be adopted. Fourteen states have some type of interim zoning regulations.
Numerous states have enacted sensitive land uses requirements specifically addressed to hazard mitigation such as locating public utilities in earthquake, hurricane, or other hazard zones. All eligible states (30) participate in the federally funded coastal zone- management program autorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.
The right to regulate the uses of land is left by the Constitution to the states; most states, in turn, delegate this authority to local government. Most community governments assign a low priority to comprehensive hazard management, although some local governments may take an interest in one parti-ular hazard. In a survey of state and local political individuals, Wright and Rossi 5 found that problems associated with five natural hazards (flooding, fire, hurricane, tornadoes and earthquakes) were ranked near the bottom of the list of 18 problems facing local governments.
The enactment and enforcement of building codes has been a local government concern. In a study of flood-related statutory authority, only 23 states had adopted one building code to be used by all governments.
Twelve states specifically authorize flood hazard regulations and four states extended building code authority of municipalities to extraterritorial zones. Four national model building codes have been prepared by various entities, providing states and local governments with the option of enacting all or part of the recommended use. One cannot take a land-use management approach to natural hazards unless local communities can be persuaded to pass and then enforce legislation.
CHAPTER III HAZARD PERCEPTION
"LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES TWICE IN THE SAME PLACE"
People's behavior toward risk is determined by their perception of the risk and the benefits of mitigation, and by their ability to think logically about probabilistic data. Three general conclusions can be made according to Kates.
1. Making decisions about risky activities is difficult, and we may not be intellectually equipped to respond to that difficulty constructively.
2. Otherwise intelligent individuals do not always have accurate perceptions about the risks to which they are exposed.
3. These problems of misperception are aggravated by people's beliefs being extraordinarily resistant to change. Once these beliefs have been formed, contrary evidence tends to be dismissed as unreliable and erroneous.
Perception as used here includes awareness and knowledge, also "attitudes, ideas, or feelings as well as the individual's understanding of the character and relevance of a hazard for self and or community."^ Perception also include notions about speed of onset, scope, intensity, duration and frequency of an event.
One consistent observation is that individuals underestimate a hazard. Floodplain dwellers have a significantly higher misperception of risks than other people exposed to natural events. Common views include: "the law of averages" approach, if it occurred last year, then it certainly can't occur again this year; false security, a belief that protective devices make them 100 percent safe; attributing past floods to a freak coincidence unlikely to recur; denying the natural phenomena; and finally a belief that all was in the hands of a higher power (God).
In June 1962, Rapid City, South Dakota, had experienced a flash flood when rapid rising creeks overflowed, and water was confined to wet basements and wet lawns. Ten years later after much development in the floodplain area, another flash flood swept through Rapid City and resulted in at least 236 people known dead and over $100 million in property losses. A natural disaster survey reports that "it is entirely possible that the memory of the 1962 flood lulled many residents into a false sense of security."
In the study of natural disasters, prior experience has been shown to be closely related to the individual's level of perceived personal risk. Direct experience with misfortune as a stimulus has led to insistent demands for public action. "Floods need to be experienced, not only in magnitude, but in frequency as well." Previous experience with the flash flood in Big Thompson Canyon (1976) probably resulted in more appropriate responses among
the people living downstream from Lawn Lake when it failed. People interviewed following the Lawn Lake disaster said that the Big Thompson flood had made them flood conscious and that influenced their actions in responding. Signs placed in the canyons along the front range stating "Climb to safety in case of a flash flood" also may have influenced decisions to respond.
Those inexperienced with natural disasters tend to be more apprehensive about the disaster, and overestimate and exaggerate the disaster's impact. Also the media exaggerations of the disasters tend to increase as their distance increases from the disaster site.
Once the risk has been perceived, the adoption of a hazard adjustment is often an individual choice. Warning that danger is imminent should serve as a clue to the individual and bring to mind adaptive strategies which have been communicated previously. Unless a person is convinced that the impact is certain and that he is in a vulnerable area, he is reluctant to cooperate, and is unsure as to evacuation routes and safe locations. Warning content, education, and once again prior experience have been shown to be closely related to an individuals level of perceived personal risk.
Warning the public during the Lawn Lake flooding appeared to be timely, and resulted in warning all individuals at risk. Public awareness of recent flooding events and a willingness to take action kept the amount of
time spent on warning each individual to a minimum, and thus reduced the number of injuries and fatalities. However, some ran toward the river as the floodwaters approached to take photographs, retreating as the flooding became more severe and a few refused to leave when warned.
The capacity of the human mind for formulating and solving complex problems is very small compared with the size of the problem. Those who do not experience the disaster tend to deny that they may be threatened, and those who are actually impacted by a disaster tend to deny that a similar event will recur. Those two separate perceptions have one thing in common, both groups assume that others will take action to prevent recurrences of the hazard.
Public Awareness Program "ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH"
Hazard awareness has been found to be an important factor in motiviating mitigation actions. The statement "planning to overcome the worst effects of natural hazards is most intense immediately after an extreme event,"^ suggests that awareness due to experience does lead to the adoption of mitigation measures. With first hand experiences limited, and past experiences perceptually distorted over time, a realistic picture of natural hazards must be presented to those living in vulnerable areas. As hazard issues are rare events, and characterized as low priorities by populations, few people are concerned that they may be unprepared or vulnerable to such an event. A hazard awareness program is necessary to create a realistic awareness of natural hazards, and to suggest feasible mitigation measures.
Goals for any hazard awareness program should include:^
(1) using the mass media to disseminate awareness messages and to provide news coverage of hazards
(2) conducting on-going public information campaigns
(3) involving members of vulnerable communities in the awareness effort
Research has shown that for issues in which an individual feels little
real involvement, the message is best comunicated by using primarily visual media which require a minimal amount of attention and effort to be understood. For this reason long-term awareness programs will be more effective through television and newspaper exposure than if presented on the radio.
People learn enormous amounts of information from the mass media. "If a person exposes himself to six hours of concentrated information flow each day from the mass media, much of that information is likely to be processed and a considerable part is stored away."12 Education of the public is conducted by radio and television programs, print media, films, and slide shows prepared by National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Red Cross. Additionally, many programs are funded through Federal and State budgets. In addition to awareness, the media can help create an environment supportive of change. Using the mass media to create hazard awareness and influencing behavioral changes is a continuous effort.
Television and radio are potentially the most effective way to educate the most people and attract the largest audience. Two television programs that demonstrated the need for disaster information were "Earthquake Safety," developed by the California State Office of Emergency Services, and the
"National Disaster Survival Test," developed by the National Safety Council and broadcast on N.B.C. Over 37,000,000 people watched the "Earthquake Safety Program and thousands of requests for additional information were received following the "National Disaster Survival Test."
Weather safety films for television are prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Red Cross. These films are distributed during tornado, hurricane, and flood seasons, and usually promote mitigation measures to be taken by individuals and communities.
NOAA has developed 30 to 60 second radio spots for all major weather hazards. Even though radio may not be the most effedtive way to reach all sectors of the population, it is also a usefull method to comunicate to teenagers and populations in remote areas. Radio spots can provide people with safety steps to be taken to protect life and property, and can also provide detailed hazard information to certain geographic areas. Such as coastal radio stations from Texas to Maine run hurricane preparedness information several times a day during hurricane season.
The print media is the second most efficient way to educate people about what they should do in disasters. Proper distribution can disseminate to large and variegated audiences. Print efforts are ususally placed in one of three categories: (1) explaining the nature of the hazard, (2) directly related to different different geographical areas; and (3) historical
character. Materials in the first category are general and do not discuss hazards in terms of a geographical area. An example is a citizens handbook "In Time of Emergency," printed by the now extinct Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, which provides information on what to do to improve chances of survival in a nuclear attack or a major natural disaster. The second category includes maps and brochures, and primarily deal with hurricanes and floods. An example is a flood hazard information that was brochure published in Boulder, Colorado, and informed people living in the floodplain of previous floods, and potential effects of future floods. The brochure included a floodplain map, hydrologic records and historical information of previous floods; and in the third category, brochures analyze the history of certain extreme events.
To test the relation of hazard awareness to the adoption of mitigation measures a study entitled Hazard Mitigation Behavior of Urban Floodplain Residents'-1 conducted at the University of Colorado studied the effectiveness of a brochure in heightening awareness and motivating hazard mitigation behavior. The study showed that hazard awareness was higher for the population that had received the brochure and that the brochure did motivate residents to take protective actions. Also a higher percentage of respondents who had received the brochure had taken some form of mitigation action such as purchasing flood insurance, flood proofing their residence or developing an emergency plan, than those who had not received the brochure. The brochure was effective in heightening hazard awareness and mitigation behavior; however, the effects were not permanent.
Another awareness goal is to develop and implement an ongoing public information campaign. Public information campaigns are needed for many reasons: 1) people are interested in hazard information, 2) people need current hazard information, 3) information campaigns can clear up public misperceptions, and 4) an aware public is better prepared to respond to warnings.
Involving vulnerable communities in addition to utilizing the mass media, and public information campaigns can generate a community-wide awareness of natural hazards. A community involvement program has many advantages. It can create a supportive environment for the adoption of mitigation measures, can be a cheaper strategy than using the mass media, can be more effective if the public develops and implements their own campaign, and can reach segments of the population that are indifferent to hazard mitigation recommendations.
"Never forget that the public becomes involved, educated, takes care of community responsibilities, makes a process a personal project, only when it serves a purpose that is recognized. Never forget that the public is your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family, too."14
Public education of natural hazards is necessary, and the public wishes to receive information on hazards that affect them. Information is a critical need as discovered in the aftermath of the Big Thompson flood when people died because they did not know what to do when a flash flood occurred in a canyon.
In a study entitled What People Did During the Big Thompson Flood,^ behavior patterns were analyzed. Findings and recommendations included: 1) the best action to take in the event of a flash flood is to climb to higher ground. (People made fatal mistakes by trying to drive to safety in cars.) 2) prior public education is necessary to lessen the impact of a flash flood, and 3) signs placed prior to the flood at the canyon's entrance might have made people more aware of appropriate actions to take.
MITIGATION PLANNING "There's No Place Like Home"
One of the oldest functions of government is to protect its citizens from threats to their health, safety, and general welfare when individual citizens can only imperfectly take action to protect themselves. Local officials are unaware of the threats presented to their communities by potentially high hazard natural events which exhibit low annual rates of occurrence. Lack of understanding of the threat explains why few communities have adopted hazard mitigating provisions. According to William Petak ^ "almost no portion of the earth's surface is free from the risks provided by hazardous natural events." The degree to which a community is vulnerable to loss from hazards depends upon the nature, frequency, and magnitude of hazards; also spatial configuration of its developed area; the design and construction of its roads and buildings; its ability to take protective action when a disaster warning is issued; its capacity for gathering human and economic resources for disaster response; and for rebuilding and recovery after a disaster strikes.
Mitigation as used here refers to any action taken to eliminate or reduce the degree of long term risk to human life and property from natural hazards. Mitigation consists of efforts undertaken in an orderly and planned fashion to
accomplish the long-term prevention or avoidance of the impacts of hazards on society. Mitigation is one element of four that combine to produce a comprehensive emergency management program (Table 3). All communities that experience any type disaster usually go through these four identifiable stages. Preparedness determines how well response actions can be carried out. Response actions influence the nature and extent of recovery. Recovery offers opportunities for mitigation of future disasters, and finally, mitigation can reduce the need for preparedness, response and recovery. The mitigation process when applied over the long term is the most effective means of reducing the costs of disasters. Without a strong mitigation program the costs of disasters will continue to rise along with population growth.
All elements of mitigation planning are based upon or affected by the way in which we use our land. There are two threats to the natural environments other than nature itself "people and land development."1^ if we cannot prevent rivers from flooding, perhaps we can prevent people from living in flood-prone areas. Predisaster trends, rather than the impacts of the hazard itself, determine the future of a community. "Rapidly growing cities recover rapidly, stable, stagnant or declining cities recover slowly and may have their decline accelerated."18
Many hazard reduction measures especially those related to land use planning and regulation are dependent upon authority vested in local jurisdictions by state constitutions and statutes. Basic tools of the planning process that are important and effective in land use management are: 1) master plans, 2) zoning, 3) subdivision controls, and 4) the Capital Improvement Program.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
MITIGATION PREPAREDNESS RESPONSE RECOVERY
Definitions Mitigation is any action taken to eliminate or reduce the degree of long-term risk to human life and properly from natural and manmade liazards. Mitigation assumes that society is exposed to risks whether or not an emergency occurs. Preparedness Is any activity taken In advance of emergency that facilitates the implementation of a coordinated response In the event an emergency occurs. Response Is any action taken immediately before, during, or directly after an emergency occurs to save lives und minimize damage to properly. It involves activation of emergency plans and systems, mobilization of essential resources, and the coordinated operations of key personnel. Recovery Is short-term activity to return vital life-support systems to minimum operating standards and longterm activity designed to return life to normal oc Improved levels.
General Measures Hazards analysis Rullding codes Duilding use regulations Comptiance/enforcement Disaster Insurance Public education Resource allocation Safety codes Tax Incentivcs/dlslncentlves Zoning and land use management Hazards analysis Continuity of government Direction and control facilities Emergency broadcast system Emergency communications Emergency operations plans Emergency public Information materials Exercises of plans/syslems Mutual aid agreements Resource management plans Shcllcr/evncuation plans Training response personnel Vital records protection liazards analysis Emergency Droadcast System aclivullon Emergency operating center staffing Emergency medical assistance Emergency plan activation Public official alerting Reception and care Shcltcr/e vacua t ion Search and rescue Resource mobilization Warning system activation Hazards analysis Crisis counseling Damage assessment Debris clearance Decontamination Disaster assistance centers Disaster insurance payments Disaster loans und grants Disaster unemployment Public Information Reassessment of emergency plans Reconstruction Temporary housing
SOURCE: Federal Emergency Management Agency,
A Mitigation Strategy for the Integrated Emergency Management System, 1984.
The master plan is the "blueprint of growth for local governments." It's purpose is to shape and maintain the physical development, and social and economic well-being of the community. Zoning is the primary tool for planning future growth of a community, and should be based on a comprehensive plan. Zoning is defined as "dividing the community into districts or zones and regulating within such districts the use of land and the use, heights, and area of buildings for the purpose of conserving and promoting the health, safety, morals, convenience, and general welfare of the people of the community."20 The subdivision of land is one of the most important elements of community planning. This division of land into lots or parcels and zoning establish rules under which the development of land will be permitted to form the community of the future. Finally, the Capital Improvement Program anticipate the needs of the community for public improvements, and establishes a program for dealing with those needs. Needs are
prioritized and determined for a five or six year period, and then bonds are usually issued to provide the funds for improvements; Communities cannot economically operate if the program is not properly employed.
Planning strategies are essentially a combination of federal, state, and local efforts with local government making critical decisions which will drive state and federal support. The most important reason that local governments must assume responsibility for the greatest share of mitigation activities is that future development or change in a given area is a highly competitive economic and political issue that surrounds the local government. Land-use management will reduce but not totally eliminate populations exposure to risk.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Mitigation planning for natural disasters is the most effective means of saving lives and reducing property losses. Without a strong mitigation program at the local level, the costs of disasters will continue to rise along with populaiton growth. Because of their position in the government structure, local governments must assume responsibility for the greatest share of mitigation actions. This does not diminish the role of the state, federal government and private sector in remaining aware of the need to reduce or avoid vulnerability to hazards of all kinds.
Traditionally policy approaches have been towards the structural approach to hazard mitigation, however, this approach has encouraged rather than discouraged habitation of the floodplains. Governmental provision of disaster relief, low cost loans, and subsidized insurance is seen to encourage rather than inhibit risk-taking aactivities. A public unwillingness to acknowledge the threat, and an accompanying faith that the government will protect them have contributed to a population movement into high hazard areas.
Dam safety is a critical problem in Colorado. The nonstructural aspects of dam safety have a key role to play in reducing or eliminating the risk to vulnerable communities. Stimulation of: (1) awareness and (2) land-use
management are the two essential components of nonstructural mitigation planning that are urgently needed for communities in Colorado. When progress has been made in these two areas other mitigating measures will be more effective.
We have seen that local government is a crucial element in natural hazard policy. It is the local government that makes land-use decisions, enacts building and construction codes and manage emergency response efforts. Local governments can use zoning and other authorities to protect people from dam failures. They can prohibit the building of homes and businesses in the inundation area below existing low hazard dams, and where land is undeveloped, establish open space areas which cover potential inundation zones.
To formulate a hazard policy, local governments must (1) be aware that the threat exists and consider it as important as other issues, (2) believe that the threat is susceptible to management, and (3) adopt a policy for management. One cannot take a land-use management approach to any natural hazard unless total communities can be persuaded to pass and then enforce legislation. Enforcement of any legislation will require a heavy commitment to: determine the types of hazards that exist and their potential severity, map location of hazards areas, and develop a mitigation program.
Rising property losses from natural hazards generally involve decisions by individuals acting within constraints established by their governments. Some decisions affecting public purposes are made by public agencieslike
locating the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts within the range of the one percent probability flood from the Potamac River in Washington, D.C., however, the majority of the choices are the work of private persons influenced indirectly by their governments.
The role of the local government in mitigation planning should: represent public interest, assess public awareness, inform and educate the public, search for resources, fund mitigation, and coordinate mitigation efforts.
Remember, anything which would prevent or lessen the impact of a disaster is mitigation. Look around your community or county and identify actions you can take to mitigate threats to you and your neighbors.
"Let us not go over the old ground, Let us rather prepare for what is to come." Marcus Tullivs Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
1. Charles E. Fritz, Disaster in Contemporary Social Problems, (New York: Harcourt, 1961). p. 10.
2. Jack Truby, Planner, State of Colorado, Division of Disaster Emergency Services.
3. Leo M. Elsel, Ph.D., P.E. Safety of Small Dams and Owner Liability. (Wright Engineers, Inc., Denver, Colorado, 1983). p.2.
4. Land Use and Building Code Authority in the United States, p 220, Quoted in Arthur A. Atkisson, and William J. Petak, Natural Hazard Risk Assessment and Public Policy (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1982) p.81.
5. James D. Wright, Peter H. Rossi. Social Science and Natural Hazards, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: AbT Books, 1981). p 115.
6. Ian Burton Robert W. Kat es, Gilbert F. White. (Environment as Hazard New York: Oxford University Press, 1978). p 89.
7. Thomas F. Saarinen, Editor. Perspectives on Increasing Hazard Awareness. (Institute of Behaviorial Science, University of Colorado, 1982). p 2.
8. U.S. Department of Commerce, Black Hills Flood of June 9, 1972 p. 15.
9. Burton, Kates, White, Environment as Hazard, p. 94.
10. Saarinen, Perspectives on Increasing Hazard Awareness, p. 1.
11. Ibid. p. 97.
12. Wilbur Schramm, Men Messages and Media. (New York, Harper and Row,
1973). p. 254.
13. Marvin Waterstone, Hazard Mitigation Behavior of Urban Floodplain Residents. (Institute of Behavior Science, University of Colorado,
14. Janet K. Adams, Hurricanes and Coastal Storms Report. (Florida,
Florida Sea Grant College, 1980). p.22.
15. Eve Gruntfest. What People did during the Big Thompson Flood. (Denver, Colorado, Urban Drainage and Flood Control Report, 1988) p.25.
16. Atkisson, Petak. Natural Hazard Risk Assessment and Public Policy, p.4.
18. Petak, op.cit., p 92.
19. Herbert H. Smith. The Citizen's Guide to Planning. (Chicago, Illinois, American Planning Association, 1979). p.53.
20. Ibid, P 73.
Adams, Janet K. Hurricanes and Coastal Storms Report. Gainsville, Florida: Florida Sea Grant College, 1980.
Atkisson, Arthur A., and William J. Pejak. Natural Hazard Risk Assessment and Public Policy. New York: Springer Verlag, 1982.
Bowden, Martyn J., J. Eugene Haas, and Robert W. Kates, eds. Reconstruction Following Disaster. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1977.
Burton, Ian, Robert W. Kates, and Gilbert F. White. Environment As Hazard. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Division of Disaster Emergency Services, Colorado's Vulnerability to Very High Risk Natural Hazards, Revised 1983.
Downing, Thomas E. "Warning for Flash Floods in Boulder.": Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1977.
Dynes, R. R., and E. L. Quarantelli. Images of Disaster Behavior: Myths
and Consequences. Disaster Research Center, Ohio State University, 1973.
Drabek, Thomas E., J. Eugene Haas, and Dennis S. Mileti. Human Systems
in Extreme Environments: A Sociological Perspective. Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1975.
Eisel, Leo M., Ph.D., P.E. "Safety of Small Dams and Owner Liability". Colorado: Wright Water Engineers.
Fritz, Charles E. Disaster in Contemporary Social Problems. New York: Harcourt 1961.
Gruntfest, Eve. What People Did During The Big Thompson Flood. Denver, Colorado. Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, 1977.
Kates, Robert W. Ed. Managing Technological Hazard: Research Needs and Opportunities. Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1977.
Mitigation Strategy for Integrated Emergency Management. Denver, Colorado: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1984.
Rossi, Peter H., and James D. Wright, eds., Social Science and Natural Hazards. Massachusetts: ABT Books, 1981.
Selected Bibliography Con't
Saarinen, Thomas F, Editor. Perspectives on Increasing Hazard Awareness. Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1982.
Schram, Wilbur. Men, Messages and Media. New York: Harper and Row,
Smith, Herbert H. The Citizen's Guide to Planning. Chicago: Planners Association, 1979
The Citizen's Guide to Zoning. Chicago: Planners Press, 1983.
U.S. Department of Commerce. Black Hills Flood of June 9, 1972. Rockville, Maryland: 1972.
U.S. Department of the Interior. Lawn Lake Dam Failure. Denver, Colorado 1982.
Waterstone, Marvin. Mitigation Behavior of Urban Flood Plain Residents. Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1978.
White, Gilbert, ed. Natural Hazards: Local, National, Global. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. 1974.