Returning University of Leicester graduate to discuss how to make our cities safer

Posted by ap507 at Jul 28, 2015 12:40 PM |
Disaster planning expert visiting University on 29 July highlights need for better emergency plans

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 28 July 2015

An expert in disaster planning will be returning to the university he graduated from to share his latest insights into making our cities safer.

Dr Allan Bonner, who founded crisis communications consultancy Allan Bonner Communications Management, will be visiting the University of Leicester Civil Safety and Security Unit, where he received his MSc in Disaster Management, during a tour to promote his latest book Safer Cities. While there he will meet with the Unit’s Director Dr Simon Bennett, who contributed his own research to the book.

Safer Cities, set for publication in August/September, proposes that municipal emergency plans, required by law, are not adequate, make rash assumptions and may actually be more responsible for harm than good. The overall message is to modernise, standardise and learn from each other’s best practices. 

Dr Bonner said: “Our cities' emergency plans and policies may be responsible for more deaths than the emergencies they're designed to address. We know this has happened before and if we don't learn from our mistakes we can be certain it will happen again.

“My research shows there's little consistency to be found in these plans. Even neighbouring cities do things in different ways and use different classifications and terminology. So even if outside emergency responders were able to reach the city experiencing a catastrophic emergency they'd have difficulty communicating and understanding each other.

“The general public suffers the brunt of poor disaster management as in Kings Cross, Hillsborough, hurricanes in the US and so on.  I am agitating for better emergency plans through the media and public.

“My work would not have been possible without the Civil Safety and Security Unit.  I have read and read my Leicester notes and used their lessons for clients for 15 years.  I now am applying what I learned at Leicester to urban resiliency planning, which is taught in the department through case studies and the notes.   

“I am grateful to the University of Leicester for the excellent program I experienced in risk, crisis and disaster management.   I use what I learned every week in my service to clients and have incorporated what I learned into my new book on urban resiliency and emergency planning.”

Dr Simon Bennett said: "Allan Bonner is one of the Civil Safety and Security Unit's most dynamic and successful graduates. His books are read by CSSU's current students. His new book is a timely critique of civic emergency planning, much of which is found wanting. Safer Cities contains valuable information and advice for emergency planners. Given the Free World's deteriorating security situation, that advice should be heeded, and quickly." 

Ends

Notes to editors:

For interviews contact the University of Leicester Press Office on pt91@le.ac.uk.

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