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Roy S. Popkin
Year Published:
Andrew Kirby

Cataloging Information

Fire Policy & Law

NRFSN number: 15870
Record updated:

This chapter overviews the history of hazard management in the United States, and defines what constitutes a “disaster” by federal standards. Popkin provides a history of federal and state policies and programs established and maintained in the United States since 1803. Despite historic moves to ensure federally funded hazard protection, Popkin argues that there is always a need for political pressure on federal representatives to ensure future legislative support. Understanding the history of disaster management in the United States can help managers see their place within the current federal structure. It also emphasizes the need for political savvy and persistence to ensure funding for current and future disaster management initiatives.


Popkin RS. 1990. The history and politics of disaster management in the United States. In: Kirby A, ed. Nothing to fear: risks and hazards in American society. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, p. 101-130.

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