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Issue: what processes will ensure that residents, government officials, and business leaders understand the nature of hazards and their impacts?

Introduction-disasters are natural and human caused events that have an adverse impact on a community, region, or nation
-events associated with a disaster can overwhelm response resources and have damaging economic, social, or environmental impacts
-the capacity of the community, region, or nature to deal with the impacts of disasters provides a basis for us to classify the events of a crisis that can be addressed by local resources or a disaster that requires outside assistance and support.
-process of clarifying nature and impacts of hazards is the foundation of hazards analysis
-over the past 25 tears, we see escalating costs associated with the direct economic impacts of natural disasters
-# of injuries & causalities has dropped, property damage has increased
-disaster losses have been increasing and will continue to- damages will grow to an average of $50 billion annually/ about $1 billion per week.
-we have seen widespread adverse impacts of disasters in the firm of massive displacement, economic losses, and suffering from all parts of society
-Ex) Hurricane Katrina- community suffered from the flooding & poststorm report shows that gov’ts at all levels were ill prepared for such a massive disaster

Terminology of Hazards
-“hazards,” “disaster,” “risk management,” and “hazard analysis” used interchangeably, arguable correctly or incorrectly.
-Kaplan describes 2 theorems: 1) 50% of the problems in the worlds result from people using the same words with different meanings 2) the other 50% comes from people using different words with the same meaning
-hazards refers to potential harm which threatens our social, economic, and natural capital on a community, region, or country scale
-may refer to many types of natural (flood, hurricane, earthquake, wildfire), technological (hazardous materials spill, nuclear accident, power outage) or human-induced events (biochemical, bombing, weapons, mass destruction, terrorism)
-compounded hazards- result from a combination of the above hazard types, such as urban fires resulting from earthquakes, failures of dams or levees resulting from flooding, or landslides resulting from wildfires and heavy rains
-FEMA (Federal emergency management agency) describes hazards as “events or physical conditions that have the potential to cause fatalities, injuries, property damage, infrastructure damage, agricultural losses, damage to the environment, interruption of business, or other types of harm or loss.”
-a hazard may be measured by its physical characteristics, likelihood, or consequences.
-Ex, many coastal communities experience flooding. Water from heavy rains, levee breach, or dam break would be the source of the hazard. The likelihood could be considered a low risk or not likely; it could be a medium risk or one that has a high likelihood of occurring. A hazard has the potential to cause fatalities, injuries, property damage, infrastructure or agricultural loss, damage to the environment, interruption of business or other types of harms
-hazards evolve from interactions between natural, human and technological systems but are also characterized by the areas of their origin. Ex. The hazard may arise from a hurricane, but flooding may be magnified not only from excessive rainfall but also by long term nonsustainable agricultural or forest practices
-since a disaster could evolve from the interactions between social, natural and technological systems, the classification of a complex hazard could be difficult
-we should view hazards within a broader social, political, historical, economic and environmental context to fully appreciate how hazards can cause damage to community resources.

-the United nation defines hazards as- a series disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material, or environmental losses which exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources
-all disasters small or large are the result of a hazard being realized, the realized hazard must overwhelm the response capability of a community to be considered disastrous
-disasters- a disaster is a non-routine event that exceeds the capacity of the affected area to respond to it in such a way as to save lives; to preserve property; and to maintain the social, ecological, economic, and political stability of the affected region.

-disasters are measured in terms of lives lost, injuries sustained, or property damage or fatalities
-Ex. A house fire is a common emergency occurrence and is managed by local response agencies and are normally not considered a disaster. For a fire to be considered a disaster, it must overwhelm the capacity of the local responders.

-common breakdown of hazards include atmospheric climatic hazards such as rain, lightning, wind and dust storms, hailstorms, snow avalanches, heat waves, snowstorms, and fog.
-also include geologic and seismic hazards such as landslides, avalanches, land subsidence, erosion, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, and shifting sands.
-Hydrologic hazards make up the 3rd type of natural hazard and include flooding, storm surges, coastal erosion, waves, sea ice and sea level rise
-Compounded hazards include- tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, whiteouts, tornadoes, rain, and windstorms, blizzards, drought, freezing rains and wildfires; ALL combine several natural hazards and are not just the result of a single hazard.

-not all hazards result in disasters, for a hazard event could decrease potential damaging impacts so as to minimize losses
-the rate of speed of onset of the event could give communities notice needed to minimize deaths and injuries by ordering an evacuation for a flooded area
-availability of perceptual cues (wind, rain, ground movement) provide notice of a pending disaster.
-the intensity of a disaster could vary spatially to have damage impacts in areas with no social or economic impacts
-technology such as weather radar allows us to see where a heavy storm is moving to provide warning to the local area
-the areal extent of the damage zone or its size (geographic area influenced) and its duration could influence any damaging impacts and the community’s capacity to deal with the hazard event
-wind damage from a tornado could be limited to nonpopulated areas and not cause injuries or property damage
-finally the predictability of the event or notice of occurrence is also critical in allowing those affected by the event to seek safety

Despite efforts to reduce vulnerability to disasters, property losses, deaths and injuries continue increasing because: 1) population growth occurs in high hazard areas 2) marginalized land is being developed, making us more susceptible to hazard impacts 3) larger concentrated populations in urbanized areas increase the potential for human and property loss; people are less familiar with hazards in their surroundings; growth may not be ecologically sustainable; more buildings and infrastructure may be damaged if an event occurs 4) People are not impacted by hazards equally; economic disparities cause large numbers of impoverished people to be at risk 5) Immense potential for loss as sea levels rise; weather and climate patterns will change 6) Political unrest can directly cause loss (civil war) and/or make a region more susceptible to hazard impact due to lack of preparedness and/or inability to cope 7) More property is at risk to hazards, but preparedness and mitigation measures minimize loss of human life

-the term risk and hazard are often used interchangeably and inconsistently
-the risk of disaster is typically described in terms of the probabilities of events occurring within a specified period of time, a specific magnitude or intensity (or higher) or a range such as low, med, high risk.
-risk has the common meaning of danger (involuntary exposure to harm), peril (voluntary exposure to harm), venture (a business enterprise) and opportunity (worth something if there is potential for gain)…...

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