As Hurricane Dorian recently brewed over the Bahamas, Florida residents and others along the east coast sat in front of their televisions in awe, wondering when the massive storm would hit the U.S.

Fortunately, there were federal, state and local plans — called hazard identification and risk assessment plans — for focusing attention and resources on the greatest risks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website notes these four basic components of risk assessment:

  • Identifying hazards
  • Profiling hazard events
  • Taking inventory of assets
  • Estimating human and economic losses

Risk Assessment in Action

The east coast of the U.S. largely escaped the fury of Hurricane Dorian. But a hurricane’s landfall and the aftermath provide an opportunity to look at risk assessment in action. explains: If a hurricane forecast to make landfall changes direction and goes out to sea, there’s no harm done. But if the storm intensifies and makes landfall, many assets are at risk.

Injuries to people should be the first consideration of the risk hazard to ensure appropriate emergency plans are in place. Systems, machinery, raw materials and finished goods are secondary risks.

Any good risk assessment plan looks for weaknesses that make an asset more susceptible to damage. Examples include deficiencies in building construction, process systems, security, protection and loss prevention programs, which all can contribute to the severity of damage when an incident occurs.

The website said impacts from hazards can be reduced by investing in mitigation. If there is a potential for significant impacts, a mitigation strategy should be a high priority.

Risk assessments can help assess potential disasters not only in hurricanes, but in other natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and winter storms. They are also used in human-caused hazards such as workplace and transportation accidents as well as technological hazards such as utility outage and hazardous material spills.

Risk assessment is an important skill for every emergency management professional to have. Hazard Mitigation and Management is one of the core courses in the Barry University online Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management program. Through this course, you will apply the four-stage mitigation planning cycle and multi-hazard identification and risk assessment methodologies to analysis of an array of disaster scenarios. For each scenario, strategies and tactics are identified to prevent or minimize disaster risks to the community.

The course is part of a comprehensive undergraduate program that incorporates public administration, management, health sciences, psychology, sociology, criminal justice and environmental sciences to give you the knowledge and critical skills necessary to become successful in disaster preparation, mitigation, response and recovery.

Barry University’s online B.S. in Emergency Management program is designed for the current emergency management professional climbing the career ladder as well as individuals preparing for a new opportunity.

Learn more about Barry University’s online Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management program. 


FEMA: Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Ready: Risk Assessment