DOI: 10.1515/jhsem-2022-0025 ISSN:

Responding to the February 2021 Texas Freeze: A Case Study of the Reaction to the Cascading Effects of a Complex Disaster

Faith Spraktes, David A McEntire
  • Safety Research
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


The following article examines the cascading effects that took place from February 11–20, 2021, through the perspectives of emergency managers, FEMA employees, and others who responded to “The Texas Freeze.” The research discusses the literature on cascading disasters as well as the methodology that was utilized to conduct this study. It then examines the unique challenges experienced before and after the storm. In particular, the article explores the loss of power that subsequently resulted in the lack of water, the freezing of pipes, and flooding. In addition, it mentions other problems such as transportation and the provision of fuel as well as numerous consequences that posed considerable challenges for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and emergency managers. The article concludes with recommendations to strengthen infrastructure, mitigate winter storms, and increase planning and preparedness for complex disasters. The main point to be made is that far more consideration needs to be given to proactively understand and anticipate cascading disasters.

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