Content | Navigation |

Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management


Title: "The Landscape of 9/11 Public Opinion Anniversary Research: Methodological Features, Data Quality, and Implications for Public Policy Formation"
Project Lead: Daniel J. Klenow, Ph.D.


Daniel J. Klenow, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management, along with Center colleagues Jessica Jensen, Ph.D., and George Youngs, Ph.D. has initiated a research project designed to review the state of knowledge about public and professional attitudes towards preparedness, safety, and related issues based on public opinion polls conducted in 2011, the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11  World Trade Center Terrorist attack.  

Title: "What the Emergency Management Community Needs to Know to Better Collaborate with Voluntary Agencies"
Project Lead: Jessica Jensen, Ph.D.


The role of voluntary agencies in disasters is both expansive and expanding. And government at all levels increasingly rely on the services provided by voluntary agencies. This article analyzes the nonprofit literature related to the nature of nonprofit organizations in terms of its implications for coordination, collaboration, cooperation, and communication related to disasters with the public sector.

Title: "Voluntary Agency Involvement in Disasters: An Exploration of Roles, Issues, and Barriers"
Project Lead: Jessica Jensen, Ph.D.


Voluntary agencies are an important, and growing, part of disaster response and recovery efforts (Eagan and Tischler, 2010; Kapucu, 2007). While government agencies and private sector partners focus on the restoration of services and infrastructure and economic issues in the aftermath of disasters, voluntary agencies tend to focus on human recovery (Eagan and Tischler, 2010; Phillips and Jenkins, 2008). This focus includes providing a range of services to impacted individuals and households that range from feeding and sheltering to childcare, legal aid, and counseling (ASPE, 2008; Phillips and Jenkins, 2008). 

Government agencies do not and, possibly, cannot address the range of needs individuals and households have after disasters much less to the extent that voluntary agencies can, and do. As Eagan and Tischler (2010) commented, “[is the government’s approach is]…the right approach for a government to take, but it misses the essential human face of the disaster—the location of tragedy—an area in which the nonprofit sector is uniquely positioned to give a helping hand” (p. 75). Thus, government jurisdictions increasingly count on voluntary agencies to address gaps in service (Eagan and Tischler, 2010). Clearly, voluntary agencies are essential to the emergency management system (Kapucu, 2003, 2007; Pipa, 2006). 

Despite the important role of voluntary agencies in emergency management, there has been very little research conducted on voluntary agencies in disasters, the barriers and issues they face, and how their work can be better supported (ASPE, 2008; Sutton, 2003). Yet, the scant literature related to on voluntary agency involvement in disasters suggests that a variety of barriers are faced by voluntary agencies during disaster response and recovery (Chandra and Acosta 2009, Egan and Tischler 2010, Pipa 2006). Moreover, the little literature that does exist suggests that a better understanding of voluntary agencies and their disaster-related issues across sectors will benefit both the relationships between the organizations involved in dealing with disasters and the overall effectiveness of disaster response and recovery (ASPE 2008, p. 7, Chandra and Acosta 2009, Kapucu 2003, 2007).

Thus, this study sought to begin to address the gap in the literature by surveying Midwestern voluntary organization members of State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (SVOADs) about their roles in disasters and the issues and barriers they face in the delivery of services in the aftermath of disasters. The purpose of this article is to describe the findings from the survey and suggest ways that public sector emergency management can better support the work of this important sector.

Title: "What do Emergency Management Students Need to Know About Disaster Recovery"
Project Lead: Jessica Jensen, Ph.D.


Based on the findings from a recent study on county emergency manager perceptions of their role in recovery and an extensive literature review, Jensen discusses the theory and literature students of emergency management need to know to be effective participants in and leaders of recovery in the public, private, and nongovernmental sectors.

Title: "The Emergency Managers Role in Disaster Recovery"
Project Lead: Jessica Jensen, Ph.D.

Comprehensive emergency management (CEM) has been the ideal approach for U. S. emergency management for over three decades.  This approach emphasizes the importance of emergency management involvement in activities related to four functional areas (i.e., preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery).  Yet, there is reason to believe that at least one major phase—recovery—is still neglected (Rubin 2009).  The goal of the recovery process is to return all stakeholder groups to “…self-sufficient entit[ies] within generally accepted social, economic, and political standards of its regional and national contexts” in the aftermath of hazard events (Alesch 2009, p. 36).  If one accepts the CEM approach and this definition, then it is clear that emergency management’s job is not done until recovery is done, and if emergency management does not support and guide recovery, others will. Leaving out recovery while paying lip service to CEM would not be a mere oversight on the part of emergency management, it would be a critical short-coming.

Recovery’s subordinate status is clear in the literature on emergency management—much more attention is paid to the other phases (Rubin 2009)—but the relative status of recovery in the work lives of practicing emergency managers has not been documented.  The present study reports the results of interviewing 54 county level emergency managers from eleven states about their perceived role in recovery.  The presentation of results and discussion affirm the subordinate status of recovery within CEM. The findings also suggest the need to place much more emphasis on recovery in the training and education of emergency managers; the need to better define the role of emergency managers relative to other professional groups interested in recovery (e.g., planners); and, the need for more research in this functional area of emergency management. 

Title: "Developing a Causal Model to Explain Policy Implementation Behavior"
Project Lead: Jessica Jensen, Ph.D.

Title: "Examining the Factors that Explain NIMS Implementation Behavior in United States Counties"
Project Lead: Jessica Jensen, Ph.D.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps

Site Manager: Jessica Jensen

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 10:16:40 AM