Expert asks: are we resilient enough to recover from a regional disaster?
Mercer Island Reporter Reporter - 03/21/2014
Overlooking the valley, mighty Mount Rainier has been dormant since its last eruption around 1100 AD. But its activity – combined with its proximity to Seattle and Tacoma – makes any eruption there one of the most dangerous in the world, according to the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior’s Decade Volcano list.
Such potential events concern Dr. Stephen Flynn of Northeastern University, a professor and one of the world’s experts on disaster resilience. Dealing with disaster is sort of his business, a source of his intense study.
Dr. Stephen Flynn is Professor of Political Science, founding Director of the Center for Resilience Studies, and Co-Director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Wharton School Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He received the M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, in 1990 and 1991.
Dr. Flynn is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on enterprise resilience, critical infrastructure assurance, and transportation and supply chain security and resilience.
Flynn recently visited Seattle to talk with local leaders about the region’s readiness for a catastrophic event. Flynn, now leading a major study in the aftermath of SuperStorm Sandy that will be presented to Congress and the Obama administration, is soliciting responses to his study from leaders throughout the country.
Upon his review, Flynn says, Puget Sound area leaders are paying attention to the warning signs, but concludes the region and notably its residents are no more fully prepared to deal with a disaster than are other parts of the country. Outside of emergency management professionals, too few of us spend any time considering how prepared our communities are, Flynn noted.