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
Article

Abstract

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 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., Davis, I., and Wisner, B.: 1994, At Risk: Natural Hazards, People's Vulnerability, and Disasters, Routledge, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Buckle, P., Mars, G., and Smales, S.: 2000. New approaches to assessing vulnerability and resilience, Austral. J. Emergency Management 15(2), 8–14.Google Scholar
  3. Cannon, T.: 1994, Vulnerability analysis and the explanation of ‘natural’ disaster, In: A. Varley (ed.), Disasters, Development and Environment, John Wiley and Sons, Chicester, pp. 13–30.Google Scholar
  4. Ferrier, N.: 1999, Demographics and emergency management: Knowing your stakeholders, Austral. J. Emergency Management 14(4), 2–4.Google Scholar
  5. Ferrier, N.: 2000, Building a safer city: A comprehensive risk assessment for the city of Toronto, CD-ROM (internally circulated).Google Scholar
  6. Goodyear, E. J.: 2000, Disaster mitigation: Challenges to raise the capacity of at-risk publications in coping with natural, social, and economic disasters, Austral. J. Emergency Management 15(3), 25–30.Google Scholar
  7. Haque, C. E.: 2000a, Scoping of Issues Concerning Risk Reduction to All Hazards in Canadian Non-Urban Communities: Final Report (prepared for Emergency Preparedness Canada),Westarc Group Inc., Brandon University, Brandon.Google Scholar
  8. Haque, C. E.: 2000b, Risk assessment, emergency preparedness and response to hazards: The case of the 1997 Red River Valley flood, Canada, Natural Hazards 21(2–3), 225–245.Google Scholar
  9. Hewitt, K. and Burton, I.: 1971, The Hazardousness of a Place. A Regional Ecology of Damaging Events, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto.Google Scholar
  10. Kates, R. W. 1962, Hazard and Choice Perception in Flood Plain Management, Department of Geography Research Paper No. 78, University of Chicago, Chicago.Google Scholar
  11. Kates, R. W. and Kasperson, J. X.: 1983, Comparative risk analysis of technological hazards: A review, Proceedings of National Academy of Science USA, Vol. 80, pp. 7027–7038.Google Scholar
  12. Krewski, D., Clayson, D., and McCullough, R. S.: 1982, Identification and management of risk, In: I. Burton, C. D. Fowle, and R. S. McCullough (eds), Living with Risk: Environmental Risk Management in Canada, Environmental Monograph 3, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto.Google Scholar
  13. Mileti, D.: 1999, Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States, Joseph Henry Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  14. O'Brien, M.: 2000, Making Better Environmental Decisions: An Alternative to Risk Assessment, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  15. Okrent, D.: 1980, Comment on societal risk, Science 208, 372–305.Google Scholar
  16. Smith, D.-G.: 1999, Taiwan hit by devastating earthquake, Disaster Recovery Journal 12(4).Google Scholar
  17. Smith, K.: 1996. Environmental Hazards: Assessing Risk and Reducing Disaster, 2nd edn., Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  18. Tobin, G. A. and Montz, B. E.: 1997, Natural Hazards: Explanation and Integration, The Guilford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  19. Victor-Guild, V.: 1999, Cultural factors in risk and crisis situations, Canad. J. Emergency Management 1(2), 8–10.Google Scholar
  20. Whyte, A. V.: 1982. Probabilities, consequences, and values in the perception of risk, In: Risk Assessment and Perception Symposium, Royal Society of Canada, Toronto.Google Scholar
  21. Whyte, A. and Burton, I.: 1980, Environmental Risk Assessment (SCOPE: 15), Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Wilson, R. and Crouch, E. A. C.: 1987, Risk assessment and comparisons, Science 236, 267–270.Google Scholar
  23. Zeckhauser, R. and Shepard, D. S.: 1984. “Principles for saving and valuing lives” In: P. F. Ricci, L. A. Sagan, and C. G. Whipple (eds), Technological Risk Assessment, NATO Advancement Studies Institute Series, Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations