An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.

—Victor Hugo

This is not the book I planned to write. When I first started this project in 2004, my original plan was to base the book on material I had developed for a course on emergency planning and management that I had taught for the University of California at Long Beach and to incorporate new information I had gained by teaching seminars on the National Preparedness Standard for New York University's INTERCEP program. It was to have been a very conventional book, focused on the tactical issues so dear to us old dinosaurs in emergency management.

Hurricane Katrina changed all that. As my colleagues and I wrestled with the issues of catastrophic response, I began to question a lot of our traditional approaches to disaster response. An article by Dr. E.L. Quarantelli on the qualitative differences between catastrophe and disaster added fuel to the flames and sent me back to the social science literature. A comment during a presentation at the 2005 International Association of Emergency Managers conference provided the catalyst that made all the disparate elements come together.

This book approaches emergency management from a different perspective than the traditional four phases of emergency management. It does not have the equally traditional listing of hazards and impacts. It does not even give a lot of detail about response. There are plenty of excellent books ...

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