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Disruption of emergency response to vulnerable populations during floods

journal contribution
posted on 15.05.2020 by Dapeng Yu, Jie Yin, Robert Wilby, Stuart N. Lane, Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts, Ning Lin, Min Liu, Hongyong Yuan, Jianguo Chen, Christel Prudhomme, Mingfu Guan, Avinoam Baruch, Charlie W. D. Johnson, Xi Tang, Lizhong Yu, Shiyuan Xu
Emergency responders must reach urgent cases within mandatory timeframes, regardless of weather conditions. However, flooding of transport networks can add critical minutes to travel times between dispatch and arrival. Here, we explicitly model the spatial coverage of all Ambulance Service and Fire and Rescue Service stations in England during flooding of varying severity under compliant response times. We show that even low-magnitude floods can lead to a reduction in national-level compliance with mandatory response times and this reduction can be even more dramatic in some urban agglomerations, making the effectiveness of the emergency response particularly sensitive to the expected impacts of future increases in extreme rainfall and flood risk. Underpinning this sensitivity are policies leading to the centralization of the Ambulance Service and the decentralization of the Fire and Rescue Service. The results provide opportunities to identify hotspots of vulnerability (such as care homes, sheltered accommodation, nurseries and schools) for optimizing the distribution of response stations and developing contingency plans for stranded sites.

Funding

Unlocking the potential of surface water flood nowcasting for emergency services in a changing climate : NE/S017186/1

The work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council of the UK (grant numbers NE/R009600/1, NE/N013050/1 and NE/S017186/1); by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant number 2017YFE0100700); by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 41871164); and by the National Science Foundation of the United States (grant number EAR-1520683).

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Nature Sustainability

Publisher

Nature Research

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Nature Sustainability and the definitive published version is available at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-0516-7.

Acceptance date

20/03/2020

Publication date

2020-05-18

Copyright date

2020

eISSN

2398-9629

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Dapeng Yu. Deposit date: 13 May 2020

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