Center for Risk and Crisis Management

The University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma, Center for Risk and Crisis Management
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Disaster and Crisis Management

Minimizing risk

picture of run-down building Humans have long sought ways to minimize the risks surrounding them. As a species, we have attempted to minimize the threats posed by potentially damaging events through developing an understanding of the characteristics, such as likelihood and/or frequency of occurrence, of known potential events and taking preventative actions. This preemptive type of risk avoidance could be as rudimentary as to not reside in areas that flood with periodicity, are poorly defensible from invaders, or have unreliable resources. Such mitigation planning, while it may not have always been formally referred to as such, has long been inherent in the psyche of man’s attempt to harness and master their environment. However, as man’s capacities have evolved, even with incredible advances in technological capabilities and scientific knowledge, mankind continues to be regularly challenged by uncontrollable, or unforeseen, events. It is the occurrence of these types of events, potentially impacting wide-spread or localized portions of society, which can strain citizens and government alike in their efforts to respond and recover. The risks that challenge us today, even with incredible advances in understanding, continue to be costly (both in lives and property) to our communities.

Mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery

Emergency, crisis, and disaster management issues are usually characterized as having four distinct phases: mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery.[i] In an optimal world, all risks to society could be categorized, prepared for and responded to when necessary. Given limited time and resources, how do we decide which risks society should respond to? How should we allocate resources to the different phases of emergencies, crises or disasters? How well do the federal government, states, localities, Indian Tribes, and private entities work together? Who should be responsible when disaster strikes? In attempting to answer questions such as these, a nuanced understanding of the role of government, the role private entities, risk perceptions, behavioral responses in crises, and the public policy process is needed.

A multi-discipline approach

The CRCM analyzes the intersection of society and risk governance at each of the phases of emergency, crisis and disaster management. It is not enough to have a clear technical understanding of the risk. We must also identify the measures which best protect society from the risk, and effectively allocate available resources. A multi-discipline approach is necessary in order to capture the full range of technological, psychological, sociological, and political influences on emergency, crisis, and disaster management. The CRCM uses this multi-faceted approach so as to identify and evaluate the impact of each of these important domains with the goal to minimize the cost in life and property damage as a result of emergencies, crises and disasters.


Primary research &
analytical themes

Risk and Risk Perception in scientifically controversial or complex domains

Weather, Climate and Public Policy

Disaster and Crisis Management

Studying Risk,
Risk Perception,
& Crisis Management

An interdisciplinary research center

The CRCM is an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Oklahoma that studies risk, risk perception and crisis management in several substantive domains. The areas of research interest and expertise include energy and the environment, weather and climate, national security and terrorism, and the social dynamics surrounding complex controversial technologies.

New pathways for understanding

The CRCM seeks to develop new pathways for understanding and managing technological and environmental risks. The CRCM maintains an expanding network of affiliated researchers from other universities, national laboratories, and federal agencies to assist in both defining and utilizing new and unexpected opportunities for research and public policy analysis.

Learn more about the CRCM.