Natural Hazards

, Volume 28, Issue 2–3, pp 271–290 | Cite as

Hazards Risk Assessment Methodology for Emergency Managers: A Standardized Framework for Application

  • Norman Ferrier
  • C. Emdad Haque


The public and the decision and policy makers who serve themtoo often have a view of community risks that is influenced and distorted significantlyby media exposure and common misconceptions. The regulators and managers, responsible forplanning and coordination of a community's mitigation, preparedness, response and recoveryefforts, are originated from a variety of disciplines and levels of education. Not only mustthese individuals deal with the misconceptions of their communities, but also frequently lacka basic methodology for the assessment of risks. The effective planning of mitigation andresponse are, however, directly dependent upon the understanding of the complexities, types,and nature of risks faced by the community, determining the susceptible areas, and conceptualizinghuman vulnerability.

In this study, a review of the existing literature on both theconceptual underpinnings of risk and its assessment is attempted. A standardized framework is proposedfor use by all emergency managers, regardless of training or education. This frameworkconsists of the numerical ranking of the frequency of the event in the community, multiplied bya numerical ranking of the severity or magnitude of an event in a given community, based upon thepotential impact characteristics of a `worst-case' scenario. This figure is then multipliedby a numerical ranking indicating the Social Consequence; a combination of community perception ofrisk level and collective will to address the problem. The resulting score, which is notstrictly scientific, would permit emergency managers from a variety of backgrounds to comparelevels of community exposure to such disparate events as hazardous materials spills andtornadoes, and to set priorities for both mitigation efforts and for the acquisition of response needs,within the availability of community resources.

risk assessment emergency management natural disasters technological disasters community vulnerability mitigation resilience 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Ferrier
    • 1
  • C. Emdad Haque
    • 2
  1. 1.Toronto Emergency Medical ServicesTorontoCanada, E-mail
  2. 2.Natural Resources Institute, University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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