High-Quality Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Toolkit

2.2 Understanding the Situation

The planning team must identify the hazards that pose the greatest risk to the district or campus then perform a hazard analysis and risk assessment to determine the vulnerabilities posed by the hazard. Assigning values of risks to the hazards will help to prioritize the greatest concerns.

Identifying Hazards

Hazard identification and analysis are key steps in the planning process. Planners should begin by reviewing the hazards identified in the local emergency management’s Basic Plan or Mitigation Annex. Once you are aware of the community hazards, identify district and campus specific hazards. Finally, draw upon the experience and knowledge of the planning team. A tool that may assist districts with identifying hazards is the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA). Additional information regarding THIRA can be found below.

Risk assessment is the basis for developing the EOP. The planning team should review any existing safety assessment findings such as past safety audits. Assessments provide content to the hazards faced by the district, its facilities, and its community. Assessments demonstrate the likelihood of occurrence, the impact on public health and safety, and the vulnerability of facilities or property. These factors determine the abilities of the district to respond to the impact of a hazard. The following table summarizes potential hazards a district may face.

Hazard Type Likelihood of Occurrence Estimated Impact on Public Health & Safety Estimated Impact on Property
Drought High Moderate Limited
Earthquake Unlikely N/A N/A
Extreme Heat High Limited Limited
Flash Flooding High Moderate Moderate
Hail High Limited Moderate
Hurricane High Major Major
Thunderstorms High Limited Limited
Tornado High Limited Limited
Wildfire High Limited Limited
Winter Storm Low Limited Limited
Dam/Levee Failure Low Moderate Moderate
Energy/Pipeline Failure High Major Major
Hazmat High Moderate Moderate
Major Structural Fire Moderate Limited Limited
Nuclear Facility Incident Low Limited Limited
Water System Failure Low Major Moderate
Gang Violence Low Limited Limited
Active Shooter Incident Moderate Limited Limited
Civil Disorder Low Moderate Moderate
Terrorism Low Major Major

The planning team must keep in mind that there is always a potential for new and unexpected risks. Hazards are often related (e.g. a tornado may cause structural fire and/or energy failure). The planning team must compare and prioritize risks to determine which hazards merit special attention in planning. The team must consider the frequency and likelihood of the hazard. Once the planning team has decided which hazards to include in the EOP, goals and objectives need to be developed for each hazard.