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Lecture 2

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Barbara Murck

Lecture 2 Hazard vs. Risk Definitional and conceptual ambiguities “Hazard” and “risk” – not synonymous Hazard: Potential for threatening event to strike Frequency, size, location, causes, etc. Physical nature of event and impacts Risk: Hazard itself + probability of exposure + nature and extent of potential negative impacts or consequences Costs (life, health, economic, etc.) Hazard: Definitions “The potential for harmful effects.” – Health Canada “A potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon or human activity that may cause loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.” – National Disaster Management Authority (UK Resilience) “Combination of the probability of an event and the significance of the consequence (impact) of the event.” – U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Assessment Seeks patterns in the interface between the natural environment and human society re: threatening processes or events Identification and prediction of the probable nature and extent of the event Frequency, magnitude, location, characteristics, causes, triggers, secondary & tertiary processes Hazard Assessment Methodology: Screening – classify natural processes for hazard potential Monitoring – processes or phenomena recurrently or continuously observed, recorded, and analyzed Diagnosis – overall assessment: causes, frequency, probability, magnitude, trends Where? Resulting from what? When? How big? May include prediction or forecasting Risk Encompasses hazard and type/degree of negative impacts or consequences Cannot be separated from community characteristics Risk perception affects people’s choices Risk assessment methodology: Begins with hazard assessment Estimation of risks and vulnerabilities Risk mapping Social consequence evaluation Risk: Definitions “Probability of occurrence of adverse effects.” – Health Canada “An event or physical condition that has the potential to cause fatalities, injuries, property damage, infrastructure damage, agricultural loss, damage to the environment, interruption of business, or other types of harm or loss.” – U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency “A hazard produces risk only if an exposure pathway exists and if exposures create the possibility of adverse consequences.” – Centers for Disease Control Risk Assessment Appraisal of types and degrees of threat Probability of occurrence/exposure of an event of a given magnitude + expected human impacts/consequences Risk perception – a required component because it affects how we quantify risk and affects people’s choices Risk, risk assessment, and risk perception cannot be separated from community values. (What does this mean?) Risk Assessment Methodology: Hazard identification & assessment – first step Analysis of physical, social, economic, environmental dimensions of exposure Requires an estimation of vulnerabilities – probability and extent of exposure, impacts, and consequences from the perspective of coping ability   Role of uncertainty (natural, scientif
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