Public Safety

Stormy Septembers in the Piedmont

The Atlantic hurricane season spans half the year, June through November, but North Carolina typically sees the most storms, and some of the worst, in September. Our coast is especially vulnerable to hurricanes, but we sometimes experience their devastation here in the Piedmont. In the fall of 1989, I was living in Chapel Hill in […]

Assessing our learning curve 10 years after 9/11

Ten years after the events of 9/11, if we want to assess how well we have learned about the threat of terrorism we need to look back. But we also need to look at our world today, to see how well our learning curve compares with those planning and carrying out terrorist events. And we […]

Planning and Responding to Disasters: A Risky Proposition

“Which is more likely to kill more Americans in the US in the next year, a nuclear meltdown similar to Chernobyl or a hurricane similar to Katrina?” (Please write down your answer, and then read on…) Catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns in Japan draw […]

Will we ever learn from disasters?

The March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated the northeast coastal area of Japan has highlighted the extreme vulnerability of man-made infrastructure to natural hazards. Despite tremendous advances in engineering and construction, disasters of this magnitude lead us to question whether or not we should build infrastructure robust enough to withstand such a devastating […]