Managing Coastal Emergency and Offshore Search and Rescue 6 ECTS

CMM39 Elective course 6 ECTS
Period W3 - W5 13.01.14 - 31.01.14
Instructor Herdís Sigurjónsdóttir and N.N.

This course in emergency management focuses on case studies* of effective and ineffective responses to natural hazards and technological accidents relevant to coastal and marine management. The course does however not focus on the causes of such disasters. Selected case studies will be examined in detail. Emergency management will be looked at from different angles, such as: Communities living with hazards; chronic community stress; evacuation decision making and behavioral responses; risk assessment and communication; warning and evacuation; community resilience / vulnerability; infrastructure (telecommunication, electricity, water, sewage, urban/rural transportation networks, etc) resilience / vulnerability; spatial and temporal differences during emergency; megacities vs. small towns, developed vs. developing countries; migration as a result of a disaster; effectiveness of national and regional emergency systems; ecological vulnerability in coastal areas; pollution (direct and long-standing); short and long-term ecological damage in coastal areas; national compensation schemes; human health hazards (direct and long-standing); community recovery; disaster epidemiology and disease control; and lessons learned from large-scale disasters.

*Case studies:

  • Fukushima 2011
  • Hurricane Katrina 2005
  • Tsunami Dec 26 2004
  • Gulf of Mexico GP oil spill 2010
  • Estonia car and passenger ferry 1994
  • Exxon Valdez 1989
  • Heimaey 1973
Learning outcomes
[mynd 1 h]Herdís Sigurjónsdóttir earned a BSc in Biomedical Science in 1989 and an MSc in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland in February 2009. Her master's degree project was on the role of local civil protection and restoration after local disasters and social crises, focusing on state and local government relations. Herdís is now pursuing her doctoral studies in public administration at the University of Iceland.

VSO Consulting from April 2009: Environment and Natural Resources expert. Consultancy in emergency management and administration, and various projects related to environmental and planning issues.
2006-2008 Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of Iceland: Research associate and worked on the project "Long-term response to disasters", which formally ended with a conference and publication of the book Langtímaviðbrögð við náttúruhamförum (Long-term response to natural disasters) in 2008. 
1998-2007 Red Cross Iceland: Many responsibilities, including: Project manager in disaster management and emergency response; Alternate member of the Civil Defence Council (Almannavarnaráð) in 2005-2007; The representative of the Red Cross in coordination committee of auxiliary civil defense from 2003 to 2007; Consultation Committee for Coordination Centres, 2006-2007; Advisory group for ISAVIA and the National Commissioner for Civil Protection Group accident drills; Crew member and coordinator for the Red Cross at the Civil Protection Coordination Center (Samhæfingarstöð almannavarna) 2001-2007; Manager of the Red Cross National Agency; and the coordination of Red Cross Iceland emergency responses.

Social activities and politics :
Many activities, including town council in Mosfellsbær (president 2004-2006), National Fire Authority from 2009-2011, and Committee appointed by the Prime Minister to prepare procedures in relation with damage caused by natural disasters 2010-2012.

Guest lecturer
Further reading
Example of readings: Mapping the impacts of natural hazards and technological accidents, EEA Technical report No 13/2010

Readings and further readings will be posted on the course website on UW intranet.