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Types of Hazards/Emergencies

The first step in planning for an emergency is to understand what you are planning for. Emergencies can result from a variety of hazards. Some are natural events, some are technological breakdowns and others can be human-made. Here is a list of such emergency hazards you should take into consideration when planning.

Natural Technological Human Caused
Extreme Heat Building/Structural Collapse Civil Disorders
Extreme Cold Critical Infrastructure Failures Sabotage
Fog Dam Failures Special Events
Hailstorms Energy Emergencies (Supply) Terrorism
Hurricanes Explosions War
Tropical Storms Fires
Ice/sleet Storms Hazardous Materials (Fixed)
Lightening Storms Hazardous Materials (Transport)
Snowstorms and Blizzards Mine Emergencies
Tornadoes Nuclear Facilities Emergencies
Windstorms Oil, Natural Gas Emergencies
Forest Fires Radiological Emergencies
Earthquakes Transportation Emergencies
Land Subsidence
Drought/Low Water
Drinking Water Quality
Human Health Emergencies


Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Understandably, not all hazards identified above have the same potential to affect you and/or your organization. Those in Emergency Management will often plan for emergencies that pose a higher level of risk to their organization. In order to determine this level of risk, Emergency Management professionals will conduct a Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA). This process takes into account the frequency of past hazards, the potential consequences of such hazards and should also consider the organization’s vulnerabilities. Some HIRAs have also evolved to account for changing risk due to mitigation efforts (e.g. better infrastructure) and climate change (i.e. increase in severe weather events). At an individual level, understanding the potential hazards in your area (e.g. is your area prone to flooding) and your vulnerabilities to them (e.g. does your household have an emergency kit?) is a great first step towards personal emergency planning.

To conduct a formal Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment at the organizational level click here.