Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Perceptions of emergency management in US cities: A survey of Chief Administrative Officers

Christopher G. Reddick, PhD, Dianne Rahm, PhD


This article provides data drawn from a survey of 131 Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) in the 200 largest US cities. Much of the existing policy research on emergency management has focused on the extent of collaboration between and across government units and the civil sector. This study focuses on CAOs’ perceptions of risk, the use of information technology, and emergency management program management. This study analyzes the differences in the views of CAOs. Those who see their cities at particular risk of terrorist threat and/or natural disaster view the aspects of risk, technology, and program management differently than do CAOs who do not believe they are at heightened risk.


emergency management, survey research, local government, management, performance

Full Text:



Donahue AK, Joyce PG: A framework for analyzing emergency management with an application to federal budgeting. Public Admin Rev. 2001; 61(6): 728-740.

Waugh WL: Regionalizing emergency management: Counties as state and local government. Public Admin Rev. 1994; 54(3): 253-258.

Godschalk DR, Brower DJ: Mitigation strategies and integrated emergency management. Public Admin Rev. 1985; 45 (Special Issue): 64-71.

Clarke SE, Chenoweth E: The politics of vulnerability: Constructing local performance regimes for homeland security. Rev Policy Res. 2006; 23(1): 95-114.

Col J-M: Managing disasters: The role of local government. Public Admin Rev. 2007; 67(s1): 114-124.

Settle AK: Financing disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Public Admin Rev. 1985; 45 (Special Issue): 101-106.

Stallings RA, Quarantelli EL: Emergent citizen groups and emergency management. Public Admin Rev. 1985; 45 (Special Issue): 93-100.

Nicholson WC: Emergency planning and potential liabilities for state and local governments. State Local Gov Rev. 2007; 39(1): 44-56.

Scavo C, Kearney RC, Kilroy RJ: Challenges to federalism: Homeland security and disaster response. Publius: J Federalism. 2008; 38(1): 81-110.

Reddick CG: Collaboration and homeland security preparedness: A survey of U.S. city managers. J Homeland Secur Emerg Manage. 2008; 5(1): 1-19.

Clarke W: Emergency management in county government: A national survey. Available at Section_Library&template_/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay. cfm&ContentID_21623. Accessed August 10, 2008.

Somers S, Svara JH: Assessing and managing environmental risk: Connecting local government management with emergency management. Public Admin Rev. 2009; 69(2): 181-193.

Fowler KL, Kling ND, Larson MD: Organizational preparedness for coping with a major crisis or disaster. Bus Soc. 2007; 46(1): 88-103.

Basolo V, Steinberg LJ, Burby RJ, et al.: The effects of confidence in government and information on perceived and actual preparedness for disasters. Environ Behav. 2009; 41(3): 338-364.

McEntire DA, Myers A: Preparing communities for disaster: Issues and processes for local government. Disaster Prev and Manage. 2004; 13(2): 140-152.

Alexander D: Towards the development of a standard in emergency planning. Disaster Prev Manage. 2005; 14(2): 158-175.

Perry RW, Lindell MK: Preparedness for emergency response: Guidelines for the emergency planning process. Disasters. 2003; 27(4): 336-350.

Waugh WL, Streib G: Collaboration and leadership for effective emergency management. Public Admin Rev. 2006; 66(s1): 131-140.

Comfort LK: Cities at risk: Hurricane Katrina and the drowning of New Orleans. Urban Aff Rev. 2006; 41(4): 501-516.

Wang X, Kapucu N: Public complacency under repeated emergency threats: Some empirical evidence. J Public Admin Res Theory. 2007; 18(1): 57-78.

Helsloot I, Ruitenberg A: Citizen response to disasters: A survey of literature and some practical implications. J Contingencies Crisis Manage. 2004; 12(3): 98-111.

Kweit MG, Kweit RW: Citizen participation and citizen evaluation in disaster recovery. Am Rev Public Admin. 2004; 34(4): 354-373.

West DM, Orr M: Managing citizen fears: Public attitudes toward urban terrorism. Urban Aff Rev. 2005; 41(1): 93-105.

Gerber BJ: Disaster management in the United States: Examining key political and policy challenges. Policy Stud J. 2007; 35(2): 227-238.

Gerber BJ, Neeley GW: Perceived risk and citizen preferences for governmental management of routine hazards. Policy Stud J. 2005; 33(3): 395-418.

Gerber BJ, Cohen DB, Stewart K:U.S. cities and homeland security: Examining the role of financial conditions and administrative capacity in municipal preparedness efforts. Public Finance Manage. 2007; 7(2): 152-188.

Cutter SL, Emrich CT: Moral hazard, social catastrophe: The changing face of vulnerability along the hurricane coasts. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci. 2006; 604(1): 102-112.

Caruson K, MacManus SA: Disaster vulnerabilities: How strong a push toward regionalism and intergovernmental cooperation? Am Rev Public Admin. 2008; 38(3): 286-306.

Cutter SL, Boruff BJ, Shirley WL: Social vulnerability to environmental hazards. Soc Sci Q. 2003; 84(2): 242-261.

Gerber BJ, Cohen DB, Cannon B, et al.: On the front line: American cities and the challenge of homeland security preparedness. Urban Aff Rev. 2005; 41(2): 182-210.

Brudney JL, Gazley B: Planning to be prepared: An empirical examination of the role of voluntary organizations in county government emergency planning. Public Perform Manage Rev. 2009; 32(3): 372-399.

Comfort LK: Risk, security, and disaster management. Annu Rev Pol Sci. 2005; 8: 335-356.

Marincioni F: Information technologies and the sharing of disaster knowledge: The critical role of professional culture. Disasters. 2007; 31(4): 459-476.

Cutter SL, Emrich CT, Adams BJ, et al.: New information technologies in emergency management. In Waugh WL, Tierney K (eds.): Emergency Management: Principles and Practices for Local Government. Washington, DC: International City/County Management Association, 2007: 279-297.

Rao RR, Eisenberg J, Schmitt T: Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.

Pine JC:Wiley Pathways Technology in Emergency Management. Hoboken, NJ:Wiley, 2007.

Pradhan B, Suliman MD, Awang MA: Forest fire susceptibility and risk mapping using remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS). Disaster Prev Manage. 2007; 16(3): 344-352.

Johnston D, Becker J, Gregg C, et al.: Developing warning and disaster response capacity in the tourism sector in coastal Washington, USA. Disaster Prev Manage. 2007; 16(2): 210-216.

Gonzalez-Herrero A, Smith S: Crisis communications management on the web: How internet-based technologies are changing the way public relations professionals handle business crisis. J Contingencies Crisis Manage. 2008; 16(3): 143-153.

Garnett JL, Kouzmin A: Communicating throughout Katrina: Competing and complementary conceptual lenses on crisis communication. Public Admin Rev. 2007; 67(s1): 171-188.

Wise CR, Nader R: Organizing the federal system for homeland security: Problems, issues, and dilemmas. Public Admin Rev. 2002; 62 (Special Issue): 44-57.

Choi SO: Emergency management: Implications from a strategic management perspective. J Homeland Secur Emerg Manage. 2008; 5(1): 1-21.

Wise CR: Organizing for homeland security after Katrina: Is adaptive management what’s missing? Public Admin Rev. 2006; 66(3): 302-318.

Gerber BJ, Robinson SE: Local government performance and the challenges of regional preparedness for disasters. Public Perform Manage Rev. 2009; 32(3): 345-371.

Caruson K, MacManus SA: Funding homeland security and hurricane preparedness: Florida’s local governments face formidable fiscal pressures. Municipal Finance J. 2006; 27(2): 75-93.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Emergency Management