HIRA workbook

HIRA WORKBOOK

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Workbook

Introduction

Why Should I Have a HIRA?

One of the core challenges faced by emergency managers is how to prevent, mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from different types of hazards.

Several questions must be asked when faced with this challenge:

What hazards exist in or near my community?

  • How frequently do these hazards occur?
  • How much damage can they cause?
  • Which hazards pose the greatest threat?

This Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) workbook can help guide you in answering these questions.

A HIRA can:

• Help you to prepare for the worst and/or most likely hazards.

• Save time by isolating any hazards which can not affect your community.

• Allows for the creation of emergency plans, exercises and training based on the most likely and/or highest risk scenarios.

• Helps your program to become proactive rather than just reactive.

What is a HIRA?

A HIRA is a risk assessment tool that can be used to assess which hazards pose the greatest risk in terms of how likely they are to occur and how great their potential impact may be. It is not intended to be used as a prediction tool to determine which hazard will cause the next emergency.

The HIRA Process

There are four steps to create and maintain a HIRA:

  1. Hazard Identification - In this step the hazards that could impact your community are separated from those that cannot. This requires a review of all hazards and their causes to determine whether they may be a threat to your community. This may require the consultation of the scientific community, historical records and government agencies.
  2. Risk Assessment - In this step the level of risk for each hazard is examined. This may involve speaking with hazard experts, researching past occurrences and possible scenarios. The likelihood of the hazard occurring and the potential impacts of the hazard on people, property, the environment, business and finance and critical infrastructure should be examined.
  3. Risk Analysis - The information collected in the risk assessment step will be analyzed in this step. The desired outcome of the risk analysis is the ranking of the hazards. This highlights the hazards that should be considered a current priority for your emergency management program.
  4. Monitor and Review - It is important to remember that a HIRA is an ongoing process and hazards and their associated risks must be monitored and reviewed.

Step One: Hazard Identification Worksheet

The list below is a starting point in identifying hazards. Check all that apply.

Natural Hazards

Technological Hazards

Agricultural and Food Emergency

Building/Structural Collapse

- Farm Animal Disease

Critical Infrastructure Failure

- Food Emergency

Dam Failure

- Plant Disease and Pest Infestation

Energy Emergency (Supply)

Drinking Water Emergency

Explosion/Fire

Drought/Low Water

Hazardous Materials Incident/Spills

Earthquake

- Fixed Site Incident

Erosion

- Transportation Incident

Extreme Temperatures

Human-Made Space Object Crash

- Heat Wave

Mine Emergency

- Cold Wave

Nuclear Facility Emergency

Flood

Oil/Natural Gas Emergency

- Riverine Flood

Radiological Emergency

- Seiche

Transportation Emergency

- Storm Surge

- Air Emergency

- Urban Flood

- Marine Emergency

Fog

- Rail Emergency

Forest/Wildland Fire

- Road Emergency

Freezing Rain

Human-Caused Hazards

Geomagnetic Storm

Civil Disorder

Hail

 Cyber Attack

Human Health Emergency

Sabotage

- Epidemic

Special Event

- Pandemic

Terrorism/CBRNE

Hurricane

War and International Emergency

Land Subsidence

 

Landslide

 

Lightning

 

Natural Space Object Crash

 

Snowstorm/Blizzard

 

Tornado

 

Windstorm

 

The list below is a starting point in identifying hazards. Check all that apply.

Step Two: Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment - Frequency

How likely is it that your community could be impacted by the hazards you identified in the previous step?

The sources used for your hazard identification can also be used for assessing the frequency and magnitude. Once you have collected information on the frequency of each of the hazards, they can be grouped into the categories below:
Risk Assessment - Frequency

Frequency

Category

Percent Chance

Description

1

Rare

Less than a 1% chance of occurrence in any year.

Hazards with return periods >100 years.

2

Very Unlikely

Between a 1- 2% chance of occurrence in any year.

 

Occurs every 50 – 100 years and includes hazards that have not occurred but are reported to be more likely to occur in the near future.

3

Unlikely

Between a 2 – 10% chance of occurrence in any year.

Occurs every 20 – 50 years

4

Probable

Between a 10 – 50% chance of occurrence in any year.

Occurs every 5 – 20 years

5

Likely

Between a 50 – 100% chance of occurrence in any year.

Occurs >5 years.

6

Almost Certain

100% chance of occurrence in any year.

The hazard occurs annually.

Risk Assessment - Frequency

Example: The hazards for the imaginary community of Trillium were identified as being floods, explosions and earthquakes. The Trillium historical record shows that there have been floods every year. The Fire Chief said that explosions happen every five years or so. A local professor said that there has not been a strong earthquake in the history of the area, but one may be possible.

The frequency table for Trillium would look like:

Hazard

Category

Frequency

Notes

Flood

Almost Certain

6

Flooding from ice break-up in the spring occurs annually. Urban flooding during heavy rain also occurs in some areas during the summer.

Explosion

Likely

5

Explosions occur within the community at least once every five years.

Earthquake

Rare

1

Trillium is in a stable geologic area and has not experienced an earthquake in >100 years.

The frequency table for Trillium would look like:

Table 3. Frequency Worksheet

Use the work sheet below to record the frequency of the hazards that could affect your community. Print additional sheets if needed.

Risk Assessment – Consequence

Consequence is divided into six categories based on recommended practices:

Social Impacts - The direct negative consequences of a hazard on the physical health of people.

Property Damage - The direct negative consequences of a hazard on buildings, structures and other forms of property, such as crops.

Critical Infrastructure Service Disruptions/Impact - The negative consequences of a hazard on the interdependent, interactive, interconnected networks of institutions, services, systems and processes that meet vital human needs, sustain the economy, protect public safety and security, and maintain continuity of and confidence in government.

Environmental Damage - The negative consequences of a hazard on the environment, including the soil, water, air and/or plants and animals.

Business/Financial Impact - The negative economic consequences of a hazard.

Psychosocial Impacts - The negative response of community or a subset of the community to a hazard caused by their perception of risk. This includes human responses such as self-evacuation, mass panic and other potential undesirable responses.

The total consequence value can be obtained by adding the values obtained from each of the sub variables. Note: The social impacts sub variable is further divided into the fatality rate, injury rate and evacuation rate. Since human impacts are often the most ‘jarring’ result of an emergency and have an unquantifiable impact on the community, social impact was intentionally weighted higher than the other sub variables.

The magnitude categories in this HIRA methodology are a scale of impact, rather than a prioritization. The same value in two categories does not mean that the consequences of the two are equal and interchangeable.

Consequence Variables

Injuries

Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to result in injuries within the community.

1

Minor

Could result in fewer than five fatalities within the community.

2

Moderate

Could result in 5 – 10 Fatalities within the community.

3

Severe

Could result in 10-50 fatalities within the community.

4

Catastrophic

Could result in 50+ fatalities within the community.

Fatalities

Injuries

Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to result in injuries within the community.

1

Minor

Could injure fewer than 25 people within community.

2

Moderate

Could injure 25 – 100 people within the community.

3

Severe

Could injure +100 people within the community.

Injuries

Evacuation
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Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to result in an evacuation shelter-in-place orders, or people stranded.

1

Minor

Could result in fewer than 100 people being evacuated, sheltered-in-place or stranded.

2

Moderate

Could result in 100 - 500 people being evacuated, sheltered-in-place or stranded.

3

Severe

Could result in more than 500 people being evacuated, sheltered-in-place or stranded.

Evacuation

Property Damage

Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to result in property damage within the community.

1

Minor

Could cause minor and mostly cosmetic damage.

2

Moderate

Localized severe damage (a few buildings destroyed).

3

Severe

Widespread severe damage (many buildings destroyed).

Property Damage

Critical Infrastructure Service Impact (CI)

Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to disrupt critical infrastructure services.

1

Minor

Could disrupt 1 critical infrastructure service.

2

Moderate

Could disrupt 2 – 3 critical infrastructure services.

3

Severe

Could disrupt more than 3 critical infrastructure services.

Critical Infrastructure Service Impact (CI)

Environmental Damage

Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to result in environmental damage.

1

Minor

Could cause localized and reversible damage. Quick clean up possible.

2

Moderate

Could cause major but reversible damage. Full clean up difficult.

3

Severe

Could cause severe and irreversible environmental damage. Full clean up not possible.

Environmental Damage

Business/Financial Impact

Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to disrupt business/financial activities.

1

Moderate

Could result in losses for a few businesses.

2

Severe

Could result in losses for an industry.

Business/Financial Impact

Psychosocial Impact

Consequence

Category

Description

0

None

Not likely to result in significant psychosocial impacts.

1

Moderate

Significant psychosocial impacts including limited panic, hoarding, self-evacuation and long-term psychosocial impacts.

2

Severe

Widespread psychosocial impacts, e.g. mass panic, widespread hoarding and self-evacuation and long-term psychological impacts.

Psychosocial Impact

Example: To calculate the consequence for floods in Trillium, the emergency manager used historic accounts, insurance reports and scientific information. This information showed that flooding in Trillium is likely to result in an evacuation of approximately 200 people and that severe property damage was to be expected. The emergency manager also found that during many past floods, roads were not accessible, several businesses had to be closed and there was isolated environmental damage due to erosion along the bank of the river.

Therefore, the magnitude worksheet section for floods would look like:

Table 10. Consequence Worksheet

Social

Impacts

Property Damage

Critical

Infrastructure

Impact

Environmental

Damage

Business/Financial Impact

Psycho-social

Impact

Sub-variable

Total

 2

 3

 1

 2

 1

 0

9

Table 10. Consequence Worksheet

Total Consequence

Once the consequence values have been added up, they are put into groups as shown in the table below.

This gives equal weight to Consequence and Frequency.

Sub Total Variable

Consequence

Description

1 - 4

1

Minor

5- 6

2

Slight

7- 8

3

Moderate

9 - 10

4

Severe

11 - 12

5

Very Severe

+13

6

Catastrophic

This gives equal weight to Consequence and Frequency.

Example: The emergency manager of Trillium calculated a total of 9 for floods as shown on page 10. According to the table, this would mean that flood has a consequence of 4 which is described as ‘severe’.

Changing Risk

The frequency and consequence can be influenced by factors such as mitigation actions and climate change. Changing Risk helps to account for these changes.

Changing Risk = Change in Frequency + Change in Vulnerability

Changing Risk can be calculated by answering the questions below for each hazard:

Change in Frequency

  1. Is the number of non-emergency occurrences of the hazard increasing?
  2. Is human activity (e.g. population growth, change of drainage patterns) likely to lead to more interaction with the hazard or an increase in frequency?
  3. Is there an environmental reason (e.g. climate change) why the frequency of this hazard may increase?
  4. Are human factors such as business, financial, international practices more likely to increase the risk?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to two or more, then the change in frequency = 2

If the answer is ‘yes’ to one or fewer then the change in frequency = 1

Change in Vulnerability

  1. Is a large number of the population vulnerable or is the number of people vulnerable to this hazard increasing?
  2. Does critical infrastructure reliance or a ‘just-on-time’ delivery system (e.g. stores not keeping a supply of food and relying on frequent shipments) make the population more vulnerable?
  3. 3. Are response agencies not aware of, practiced and prepared to response to this hazard?

Are no prevention/mitigation measures currently in use for this hazard?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to two or more, then the change in vulnerability = 2

If the answer is ‘yes’ to one or fewer then the change in vulnerability = 1

Step Three: Risk Analysis

Once you have completed the Frequency, Magnitude and Changing Risk Work Sheets, you can now begin to prioritize your hazards by using the HIRA equation:

Risk = Frequency * Consequence * Changing Risk

Example: The Emergency Manager of Trillium found a frequency value of 6, a total consequence value of 4 and a changing risk value of 4 for floods. These numbers were entered into the equation and multiplied together. The result was:

Flood Risk = 6*4*4 = 96

Table 15. Prioritization Worksheet

Once you have calculated the risk for the hazards, you may wish to group them based on their level of risk using the table below. This is particularly useful if you have several hazards with the same risk values.

Prioritization Worksheet

Level Of Risk

Description

< 10

Very Low

11 - 20

Low

21 - 30

Moderate

31 - 40

High

41 - 50

Very High

>50

Extreme

Prioritization Worksheet

Enter your hazards into the work sheet below according to their risk which you calculated from the Risk Analysis Worksheet.

Risk Analysis Worksheet.

Level Of Risk

Description

Hazards

>50

Extreme

 

41 - 50

Very High

 

31 - 40

High

 

21 - 30

Moderate

 

11 - 20

Low

 

<10

Very Low

 

Risk Analysis Worksheet.

Hazards and ri/english/emcommunity/ProvincialPrograms/hira/hira_workbook/hira_workbook.htmlsks may change over time so it is important to review your HIRA annually.

  • Date of Current HIRA:
  • Date of Next Revision:
  • Signature

Next Steps: Vulnerable Groups and Mitigation Actions

Vulnerable Groups

Some people may be more vulnerable to certain hazards than others due to many different reasons such as disabilities, economic status and health and are therefore more likely to suffer from the negative impacts of a hazard. These groups may be more vulnerable to a hazard due to an inability to self-evacuate or to take the proper safety precautions, susceptible to a hazard due to their health, or a lack of access to warnings or other reasons that increase their vulnerability to a specific hazard. Not all people who identify themselves as belong to one of these groups may be at an increased risk during the occurrence of a hazard, it will depend on the individual’s specific situation.

It is important to consider vulnerable groups once the hazards have been identified. Assessing vulnerability is a key consideration in planning and it can assist in mitigation action decision-making.

Mitigation Actions

Mitigation is defined as “actions taken to reduce the adverse impacts of an emergency or disaster” (EMO, 2011). A HIRA is only one part of a comprehensive emergency management program. Once the risk for each of the hazards is known, it is vital that attempts be made to reduce their risks, beginning with the hazards identified as having extreme and very high levels of risk.