Learning from landslides

The people of Pierce County, just south of Seattle, who live at the foot of the almost magical Mt Rainier (4393m) are preparing for the day the magic turns to a nightmare, when their beautiful playground turns nasty.

There are many lessons from the planning and activities at Pierce County for what would be a catastrophic disaster which might usefully inform judgements about warnings, sirens, evacuations and preparations in other areas.

Mt Rainier is classed as an active volcano, in an earthquake zone, subject to throwing off catastrophic mudslides, known as “lahars.” (pro: la-hars). It is usually referred to as America’s most dangerous volcano although it last erupted in 1894, and there’s no evidence of present volcanic activity. It’s earthquakes generating lahars which are of more concern.

“Eruptions usually have some sort of lead time as they can be forecast,” says Tom Sharp of Pierce County, which is planning to support its community of a catastrophic event occurs.. “If our system detects a lahar, the people have to go. They don’t have a choice. And they have to be out of the area in 30 minutes,” says Tom, who’s responsible for the lahar detection and warning system.

Lahars comes from the Indonesian word “berlahar.” Imagine the recent Japanese tsunami. Wikipedia says Lahars have the consistency, viscosity and approximate density of concrete: fluid when moving, solid at rest. Lahars can be huge. A lahar of sufficient size and intensity can raze virtually any structure in its path, and is capable of carving its own pathway, making the prediction of its course difficult. Conversely, a Lahar quickly loses force when it leaves the channel of its flow: even frail huts may remain standing, while at the same time being buried to the roof line in mud. A lahar’s viscosity decreases with time, and can be further thinned by rain, but it nevertheless solidifies quickly when coming to a stop. With the potential to flow at speeds up to 100 kilometres per hour, and distances of more than 300 kilometres, a lahar can cause catastrophic destruction in its path. Lahars from the 1985 Nevado del Ruiz eruption in Colombia caused the Armero tragedy, which killed an estimated 23,000 people, when the city of Armero was buried under 5 metres of mud and debris. A lahar caused New Zealand’s Tangiwai disaster, where 151 people died after a Christmas Eve express train fell into the Whangaehu River.

Geological evidence reveals Mt Rainier has thrown off previous lahars on extraordinary in scale. Wikipedia says the Osceola lahar produced by Mount Rainier 5,600 years ago resulted in a wall of mud 140 metres deep in the White River canyon, and which covered an area of over 330 square kilometres. The mountain blew off 500 metres of its top, which flowed down to the sea at Tacoma, 60 km away.

Tom Sharp studied the del Ruiz event. “An unheralded lahar could be generated by a volcanic eruption, but it doesn’t have to be a big one, it could be a minor eruption which loosens the mountain edge. The side of the mountain might give way in a weak area, particularly after heavy rain. They can also be caused by an earthquake.”

“They start small and get bigger as they gather up debris.” There are 40,000 people at risk of lahar in Pierce Country, about 7,000 of whom live in the town of Orting. The Washington State fair occurs in the region each year, and attracts 50,000-100,000 people more people.

The warning systems rely on technology, and is based on the premise it will remain intact (say, after an earthquake). The lahar warning system was installed in 2000 is simple. Pierce Country has a five monitors on each of two rivers on the mountain which detect vibration. “I can read an animal walking past them, or a human jumping up and down” says Tom. “They don’t have false alarms.”

When the detection is made Tom has 30-40 minutes to clear the region of people. The plan is to have a warning to the public within five minutes. “In practice we can do it in two minutes from time of detection,” he says. A series of sirens scattered through the community will sound, triggered at the Pierce County Warning Centre. But they are outdoor sirens, and might not be heard over the car radio or inside.The alert siren outside the primary school at Orting, with Mt Rainier in the background.

The sirens are always accompanied by a voiced message. These messages are kept short, with just the most basic information and a warning to leave the area immediately. “The messages cant go for more than a minute. If they go for two minutes, that’s one less minute people will have to evacuate. We’ve been practicing these recorded messages for about ten years and the feedback from the public has given us a good understanding of what the people want.”

The Pierce County Warning Centre will alert all emergency agencies and utilities via phone/email/cell/pager. Police will immediately stop all traffic from entering the region, allowing all vehicles to travel on all lanes out. The public will follow well sign posted evacuation routes. A automated warning will be posted on the US emergency alert system (EAS) , which will be picked up by people with National Weather Radios. That will also trigger a series of warnings which go to radio and TV stations, who are expected to broadcast the information immediately, or in some cases, that will occur automatically.

The Country has its own phone alert system and will rely heavily on phone messaging. “Pierce County Alert is an opt-in system for residents, but we also subscribe to the Sheriffs reverse 911 phone subscriber list. We think we can get a phone message to about 85 percent of our community,” says Pierce County Emergency Co-ordinator Ken Parrish.

“The county can deliver thousands of simultaneous calls a minute. “We issued 26,000 in five minutes for a winter storm a few years ago.” The County is a big supporter of the private warning and alert developer, Everbridge, which developed their phone system and which is now creating feedback loops. “They are without doubt the world leaders in mass notification” says Ken.

“No alert system is perfect so we cover as many bases as we can. EAS is a powerful tool, but only for those watching TV or listening to the radio.” By ensuring that the messages are distributed multiple ways, the natural human reticence to avoid acting until the threat has been validated, means there are multiple channels for the warnings that will confront people very quickly.

Evacuation routes are permanently signposted. There was some debate about having signage that can be opened when needed, and closed for the rest of the time. “But we wont have time to open them when needed, and anyway, it puts the issue right in the faces of people who live here, so they know constantly they are at risk,” says Tom.

Evacuation signs in Pierce County

“At first real estate agents were concerned about property values, but we dont hear from them any more.”

The public have to get to higher ground, so those who live along the edge of the valley don’t have to travel very far. “The school kids, aged seven or eight, practice their evacuation each year, and although they’ve got small legs, they can get to safer high ground in 30 minutes, but they have to walk fast or run to do that.”

The schools use all available means to evacuate – their own buses, staff cars, but many of the kids will have to walk out. “It’s important the kids practice this system, as they take home the messages to their parents. Ideally people should be practicing their evacuation monthly, as roads might change due to maintenance work, or be impassable for any other reason.”

“They wont have time to go and retrieve anything. They will get what they have and just go.”

Ken Parrish describes the appraoch as:” multi layered defence with back up.”

“Our preparations are better than most counties,” Ken says, but he isn’t boasting. “We are energetic and robust and we’ve won awards for our education and planning.”

The warning system is focussed on the chance of a lahar caused by an earthquake, which are common in the region. But the system, including the sirens, is designated “all hazards.” Floods, fires, all weather related emergencies, chemical spills, nuclear accidents, snow emergencies, and that most modern and unfortunate human hazard known by emergency managers as “the active shooter.”

So, what happens if the technology fails? The public must be prepared for that too. They should know from their training, practicing and available literature, that if the ground shakes it is possible a lahar was generated and they should leave the region, without waiting for a warning.

The “Big Shakeout” that was practiced by 750,000 people in Washington State on October 18 (and millions more in a dozen US states, Canada, Italy and New Zealand) warns that if the vibrations occur for more than about two minutes, then the public should assume the worst, and not wait for a warning about a lahar, or other emergency. They are very real issues in this part of the world.






The Manton fire

 The bushfire began at Manton at about 1030 on Saturday, August 18, started by lightening.

Manton is in the Sierra Mountains in the north east of the state of California. The principle peak is Mount Larsen, a volcano with four peaks. The country is fenced off into a massive state park, but the towns are mixed farming and residential.

It is breath-takingly beautiful.

Route 44 with Mt Larsen in the far background

Deer are plentiful on the MantonShingletown Road, but it’s unlikely she’s seen an Australian before!

The town of Manton has about 750 residents but only a handful of homes are near the pub and diner at the crossroads which pretty much makes up the town. There’s a power company depot, school, and a tiny post office.

There were some other buildings but a fire raced through the edge of town three years ago and destroyed them. There is still evidence of one fire burned out building on the main road.

The land benefits from the volcanic activity which dominates the areas geology/geography. There are enough rocks to create an industry of collecting and packing them for metropolitan landscapers.

The fire started a few miles west of the town on Ponderosa Way, headed north and then west, when it threatened the much bigger settlements of Shingletown and two dormitory developments – one called Lake Macumber where there are about 200 homes around a river. Each is embedded in the timber. The fire fighters headed the fire away from the vilages and were hoping Highway 44, which is the most prominent roadway in the region, would act as a fire break.

Typical of the homes in the sub divisions

All up 3000 people needed to be evacuated from the area, and the fire raged for ten days. It destroyed 53 residences and 81 outbuildings, injured seven people and razed 27,626 acres (10,700 hectares) . At its height more than 60 fire trucks, supported by airiel tankers and water bombers were called in to head the fire away from the sub divisions.

The trees at rear are 30 metres tall


Manton fire – people and warnings

 I was looking for warnings in Manton and I found a few posted inside the pub: “For a small town this one sure has a lot of arse-holes!” There’s another sticker too: “Warning, inspector buried below.” That’s a pretty universal invitation to stop taking oneself too seriously.

I was in the pub talking about the bushfire. The girls were using the bar to hold dozens of music sheets they were collating and stapling for the school kids who were going to be using them in their music class that afternoon. There are 750 people in the community and only 40 at the school. 25 do music regularly – fiddle, violin, guitar.

It’s a wonderful atmosphere, in a town that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but has a warm sense of community. Everyone knows everyone else.

Manton Corners, centre of the comunity


So after the wild fire it was a good place to try to understand the way the community received its warnings. A community like this will do whatever it can to get a warning.  This is different to communities which wait for warnings. Manton didn’t wait. 

The fire was started by a lightening storm.

Tom Carter, a retired power worker, knew from the radio and television weather bulletins that they were ina  dangerous fire season, lightening had been forecast.

When the fire put up smoke mid morning on the Ponderosa Way, about five kilometres out of town,   Tom Carter, might have been among the first to see it, from the ridge he lives on. He saw the smoke and drove to Ponderosa Way immediately! The fire was just getting started at 1030.

Someone alerted California Fire and the local fire trucks raced through town with their sirens on.

“You have to let the community know what’s going on,” said Tom. He hit Face book, loaded pictures, and began chatting. “A picture is worth a thousand words, everyone reposted the pictures. I’ve convinced many people to get on Face book and help each other.”

“Word of mouth is important.”

Christine Case is the post manager. She tucks herself away in a weatherboard building five and half days a week (The post office in the US is open Saturday mornings, and there’s a terrific public battle on between the government, which wants to reduce costs, and the community, which wants Saturday deliveries.)

cloud had got much bigger. I saw the California Forestry fire truck go past, so I knew they’d been alerted. In the next three hours I saw more and more fire trucks.” Christine debated whether to stay in town and help out, or go home, which is an hour drive away.

The local radio station K-shasta they call it, 104.3fm, carried a news item about the fire. Christine heard the report, but doesn’t recall hearing any other radio based warnings. No-one called her with advice or questions. “I didn’t really know exactly where the fire was,” says Christine. “As I left town the California Highway Patrol was closing the roads and I couldn’t get back for three days.

Sharon Borden is a frail elderly woman who lives on Ponderosa Way. Someone called her to tell her about the fire. “Word of mouth gets around quickly” she says. Sharon expects a call in a situation like this, but is a little confused about where it might come from.

Sharon (left) and Nancy in Julia’s Diner

She did the first thing everyone does: looked for more information. She turned on the radio and the local fire radio scanner. The she alerted some friends who lived in a trailer (caravan) in her back yard, who immediately went to look at the fire. They returned shortly after with good news.

“They said they’d seen the fire and it was moving away.” The the wind changed.

“A law enforcement officer pulled up in my driveway, blasted his siren and said: (She apologises for the language) “You might want to get the fuck out of here or you will die, the fire’s less than ten minutes away.”

 “I was going to stay and fight, we have a good defensible space, but he seemed to give me no choice.”

“I have a lot of faith. I am am a member of St Johns Orthodox Church, and my house is heavily blessed. I was told by a monk from the local monastery that my house would always be safe.” 

Sharon relies quite a bit on her friend Nancy Neal, who lives 30 minutes away. 

“I wanted to call Sharon as soon as I knew there was a fire. I called her, the store, the fire station, the diner and I couldn’t get through on any of the phones. I was scared to death.

“It was  very upsetting, so I drove down, but the roads were closed.” 

Sharon’s home paddock was burned; one of her three goats died, 40 chickens perished in their shed, and the corner of her house was damaged, before the fire fighters doused the flames.

The fire occurred on the day of the Manton roast, an annual thanksgiving style event where the whole town comes together – The Manton Roast.

Sue and Gary Young, who owned a fly fishing tourist venture about 10.5 km east of the town, were not at the roast, but a lot of people they would normally expect a mesage from, were. The day was quiet for them.

Sue described her home in the forest quite lovingly: “Our property consisted of dams and trees, firs, oaks, cedars, historic apples and pines.

“These were full grown trees some more than 150 years old. They’d never been in a  fire.” 

They listened to the fire radio scanner and knew there was a fire in the area somewhere. “The scanner doesnt have anything specific about fires or their locations,” says Sue, “we never knew whichw ay the fire was coming from.”

But previous experience and many years living in the area meant that Gary was not overly concerned.

“Normally in these parts,” he says, “if a fire was four miles away we’d have a couple of days to prepare. We’ve had false alarms, and I wasn’t overly concerned. They continued to look for signs of fire, but they didn’t receive any warnings.

But suddenly they saw the flames about a kilometre away, “and we only had 20-30 minutes to prepare and get out.”

The house and ten outbuildings were destroyed. “We built the house in 1981. It was redwood, with a fire retardent asphalt roof, but it didn’t quite work the way it has been planned.

 “It looks like the surface of then moon there now. But the fish are still there.” Gary and Sue are still wondering if they will rebuild.

Gary and Sue Young in Julia’s diner

Fanned by strong winds, the fire raced towards the regional centre, Shingletown, and its outlying development community  of Lake Macumber.

It was moving so quickly that evacuations were ordered that afternoon.

Shingletown farmer Elaine Wusstig lives seven kilometres west of the town, and was never threatened. . “When I saw that big plume of smoke I thought Mt Lassen had blown up,” she recalls. “I would have thought I would get a reverse 911 call or something like that, but we didn’t get any warnings at all.”

Farmer Elaine Wusstig in Shingletown serves Julia Pritchard (who owns the diner at Manton)

Majka Hikel is a real estate agent at Shingletown. She was in her office all day. She lives at the Lake Macumber development, among 200 or so houses each deep in the forested area.

“I closed the office at 4pm, and it was mostly clear blue skies on the way home. But when I got home debris started falling from the sky.

“It was chunks of branches and small embers.”

 They received a 911 call suggesting they consider evacuating, and they began preparing. “It took another couple of hours, and I did it so fast, I left my make-up bag.”

A mandatory evacuation alert was phoned through at 6pm, and they left to go to a friend’s house.

“The fire looked very close, and we were very scared.” They turned the radio on and listened to information throughout the night and the next day.”

56 homes were destroyed between Manton and Shingletown but the big sub-divisions were saved.

“We have an awesome fire fighting service,” says Majka. Her home wasn’t damaged.


We understand.




Tsunami warnings in Washington State, USA

“We set off 54 sirens today” said a quietly pleased Robert Purdom from the Washington State Emergency Operations Centre in Camp Murray on the day of the great “Shake out” the bi-annual earthquake drill practiced by millions of Californians for the past few years, and now hundreds of thousands of people from a dozen other US states and even Canada, Italy and New Zealand.

The sirens are one of the principle tools designed to alert the community to a tsunami. And the threat is very real. The western states lie on a variety of fault lines which are quite active. In written history of the North America region there have been numerous very damaging earthquakes and accompanying tsunami. But the alert system now is based on an event which occurred at 9pm, January 26, 1700. There are no written records in the US of this earthquake, but there are in Japan.

“We had a Magnitude 9 rupture of the Cascadia fault line at 9pm on January 26,  1700,” says  John Schelling, the Earthquake/Tsunami/Volcano Program Manager. “We know the exact time and date from historical records in Japan. The tsunami washed up in Japan the next day, without warning and flooded fields and washed away homes. They called it the “Orphan Tsunami” as they knew it wasn’t caused by an earthquake in Japan.

 An earthquake of that magnitude almost certainly will cause a tsunami along the American coast . The records from tree rings show the Orphan tsunami submerged great areas of coast, and stopped the trees growing. Washington State is preparing its warning system for another event, with the belief they need people to respond within 30 minutes or less.

Chris Utzinger points to the earthquake resistant piles the Washington EOC is built on. The building will move as though it was on water.

The warning system is based around getting quality advice about the tsunami, and then using a variety of means to alert residents and emergency agencies. Local familiarisation and training is critical to the success of the system. “We were pleased that we had 700,000 people register to participate in our first Great Earthquake Shake Out” says John. But we hope for many more next year.”

 If an earthquake occurs and generates a tsunami the warning system will be activated.

 The US Pacific or Alaskan Tsunami monitoring centres operated by The National Weather Service,  will generate a report, which is immediately public.

The report will be received at the Washington State Emergency Operations Centre, (EOC) which is responsible for alerting all emergency and response agencies and organisations which are likely to be affected. There is one nuclear power plant in the state.


 Simultaneously the EOC will activate the siren system.

“We have about 100 phrases pre-programmed onto a voice chip and  the sirens can be programmed to announce anything that the voice chip has available, but we’ve only ever activated it from the EOC for a tsunami siren test” says Telecommunications Field Engineer Robert Purdom. “Each event consists of voice recording as well as the siren sound. We will generate the alerts  every few minutes for about 40 minutes.

But although the sirens are tested regularly, they are not considered effective without explanation, or context.

“Every time the siren sounds there must be a combination of siren and voice material,” says John Scheling, Earthquake Program Manager (Mitigation and Recovery)
” We know a siren alone wont make people change their behaviour.”

Tsunami warning sign on Santa Monica beach, Cal, USA

  The announcement begins with the heart stopping words: ”This is not a drill.”

AHAB: All Hazards Alert Broadcasting siren, used for tsunami alerts in Washington State, USA

“The sirens are for outdoor use only,” says John Schelling. “They are for people on the beach and in the streets. They won’t be heard indoors, so people have to be aware they might not hear the sirens when a tsunami alert is generated.”

 It’s expected the police will drive through towns and neighbourhoods using loud hailers attached to their vehicles warning people of the tsunami.

 In addition the “Emergency Alert System” will carry the tsunami warnings to emergency broadcasters, including radio, TV, and digital platforms, and US phone carriers will activate their alerts to mobile devices using CMAS – the Commercial Mobile Alert System.

 If the electricity and land lines are damaged by the earthquake, each siren can be activated locally by a county or city emergency agency professional via VHF or UHF radio. 

 But the awareness messages stress that people must not wait for an alert. “The ground shaking, that’s the warning” says John. “Our messages are straightforward and each has a call to action: “If the ground starts shaking, you run. If you see the sea receding, you run.If you hear a siren, you run.”

The population is expected to seek higher ground, with awareness plans in place to try to raise understanding that the public should not  expect to be able to use roads. “An earthquake is likely to damage roads. We expect people will walk or run to higher ground,” says John. The Mayor of Long Beach, which is a marine spit built at water level and with no nearby hills, says “goodness knows which way the warning signs will be pointing after an earthquake.”

Washington State is trying a Japanese idea:  “vertical evacuation.” This can include towers, buildings and berms. Vulnerable communities are encouraged to become involved in considering these developments, drawing up plans and seeking federal funding.

“The community is asked if they would like a “vertical evacuation plan” and where they would like the hill or high ground to be built,” says John. This called “Project Safe Haven” and it is an attempt to get the community thinking what kind of structure might help them survive a tsunami.

 It might be a berm, reinforced dirt structure, a little like a big river levee, that can be built close to population centres. They could be 10 metres high or more, and will cost  $250,000 – to $1 million each.  They are an active feature of Japanese tsunami response.

Engaging the whole community in its design and placement results in widespread understanding of what the berm is for; and solid community buy-in. A berm could wrap around a sporting field and create new and useful lines of visibility or it could create an amphitheatre for public events in a community.

But it’s still just a concept: “No vertical evacuation structures exist yet, so we are hoping to build the first one in the U.S. in coming years. Additionally, funding is not yet available, but we hope to use a combination of federal, state, and local funds to implement the results developed by each community.” It’s ambitious,m but the issue calls for an open mind.

“The siren towers cost about $50,000 each, and the cost is shared between state and local counties.” says John.

 The Federal Emergency Management Agency in the US has tried to evaluate the cost of natural hazards. In addition to the infrastructure costs, it has discovered that each death from natural hazard results in costs of about $ 5 million. A few hundred thousand dollars for some sirens, and a million or so for a berm, pales into insignificance if they save hundreds or thousands of people.






Principles of emergency management

The International Association of Emergency Managers has its international conference in Orlando, USA, this month. (26th October-November 1).
Which gives me an opportunity to remind everyone of their mission and principles:

Emergency management is the managerial function charged with creating the framework
within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters.
Emergency management seeks to promote safer, less vulnerable communities with the capacity to cope with hazards and disasters.
Emergency Management protects communities by coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from threatened or actual natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other man-made disasters.
Emergency Management must be:
1. Comprehensive —
emergency managers consider and take into account all hazards, all
phases, all stakeholders and all impacts relevant to disasters.
2. Progressive
emergency managers anticipate future disasters and take preventive and
preparatory measures to build disaster-resistant and disaster-resilient communities.
3. Risk-Driven
emergency managers use sound risk management principles (hazard
identification, risk analysis, and impact analysis) in assigning priorities and resources.
4. Integrated
emergency managers ensure unity of effort among all levels of government
and all elements of a community.
5. Collaborative
emergency managers create and sustain broad and sincere relationships
among individuals and organizations to encourage trust, advocate a team atmosphere,
build consensus, and facilitate communication.
6. Coordinated
emergency managers synchronize the activities of all relevant stakeholders
to achieve a common purpose.
7. Flexible
emergency managers use creative and innovative approaches in solving disaster
8. Professional
emergency managers value a science and knowledge-based approach
based on education, training, experience, ethical practice, public stewardship and continuous improvement.

The Pink Firetruck

Fire fighters at Victoria, British Columbia, got into the spirit of Breast cancer awareness month and changed the colour of their main pumper. The truck will remain pink for just a month. Some of the crew wear pink t shirts under their standard issue blue open necked shirts as well.

The hose on the front bumper has been tied to represent the Breast Cancer ribbon!

Logan Circle

Logan Circle (adjacent to my hotel) was once a posh suburb of Washington DC, but then the place fell on hard times, and the authorities decided the best thing to do was a put a bloody great road through the circle. Fail! They decided a few years later to restore the circle to its former glory and now the location is among Washington’s finest.

General Logan (and friend) after whom the circle is named, former resident.

What hazards?

In designing a warning system, we have to know what hazards a community faces. Here is a pretty comprehensive  list from FEMA US – it uses this at its training course on warning creation.

Interestingly heatwave doesnt appear on the list, although it might come under :”extreme heat.”

1. Seismic Hazards

a. Earthquakes

i. Soil Liquefaction

ii. Landslides, Rockslides, and Avalanches

iii. Tsunamis and Seiches

2. Volcanic Hazards

a. Volcanoes (pyroclastic flows, tephra (rock and ash), lava) i. Volcanic Gases (CO and CO2, H2, SO2, among others)

ii. Lahars (mudflows) and landslides

iii. Tsunamis

3. Mass Movement Hazards

a. Rockfalls (movement of debris through the air)

b. Landslides (movement of debris along slip surfaces)

c. Avalanches

d. Land Subsidence (cave-ins, sinkholes)

e. Expansive Soils

4. Atmospheric Hazards

a. Tropical Storms, Cyclones, and Hurricanes

b. Tornadoes

c. Hailstorms

d. Windstorms

e. Severe snowstorms and blizzards

f. Ice storms

g. Extreme heat or cold

h. Freeze/Frost (on highways, or affecting agriculture, for example)

i. Wildfire (Red Flag Warning conditions)

j. Thunderstorms and Lightning

k. Fog

5. Space Weather Hazards 

6. Hydrologic Hazards

a. Flooding; river and coastal (flooding is a common secondary hazard following other natural hazards such as extreme rainfall, snowmelt, ice jam, hurricane storm surge, landslides; or technological hazards such as dam failure or levee failure)

b. Coastal erosion

c. Soil erosion

d. Salination

e. Drought

i. Meteorological drought – a shortage of precipitation

ii. Hydrological drought – affecting water resources and urban water supplies

iii. Agricultural drought – water shortages affecting farm production

Technological Hazards. Technological hazards, or ‘man-made hazards’ as they are sometimes referred, are an inevitable product of technological innovation. These hazards, which can occur after the failure (accidental or intentional) of existing technology, tend to be much less understood than their natural counterparts and are increasing in number as the scope of and dependence on technology expands. The most common technological hazards arise from various components of transportation, infrastructure, industry, and buildings/structures. A partial list of such hazards is supplied below.

1. Transportation Hazards a. Bridge or tunnel collapse

b. Air, rail, road, or sea accident

c. Hazardous materials transportation accident

d. Closure of critical transportation routes

2. Infrastructure Hazards

a. Power failures / Accidents

b. Critical water / sewer line failures

c. Telecommunications failure

d. Gas line breaks

e. Dam failures

f. Computer system failure

g. Sabotage / intentional destruction

h. Human error / negligence

i. Economic failure

3. Industrial Hazards

a. Hazardous materials processing and storage accidents

b. Raw materials extraction accidents

c. Explosions / fires at industrial facilities

d. Sabotage / intentional destruction

e. Human error / negligence

f. Pollution (air, soil, water)

g. Stored chemical accidents

h. Nearby military installation accident

4. Structural failures/accidents

a. Building collapse

b. Structural fire Biological / Health-Related Hazards.

These hazards include the spread of disease, pests, or contaminants among all living things (humans, plants, and animals) within a community.

1. Human a. Human epidemics (natural or intentional)

b. Widespread poisoning (food)

2. Animal / Plant

a. Livestock disease epidemics

b. Plant / Agricultural disease epidemics

c. Aquatic disease epidemics

3. Infrastructure

a. Water contamination

b. Overloaded medical facilities

Civil / Political Hazards. Civil and political hazards result as an intentional or accidental byproduct of terrorism, sabotage, civil unrest, protest, strike, crime, or war.

1. Terrorism (nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological, conventional, hoaxes) / hostage situations

2. Civil unrest / protest / Riots

3. Strikes (public entity or private industry)

4. Sabotage

5. Crime (mass murder, arson, poisoning)

6. War