T&M’s Natural Hazards Practice, as part of the WSP team, performed the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments for the City of Philadelphia Hazard Mitigation Plan Update (2022). The hazard mitigation planning process focuses on reducing loss of life and property by minimizing the impact of disasters.
After the project team identified natural disaster risks and vulnerabilities that are common to the city, T&M performed a series of GIS-based mapping activities as well as inventory updates to the demographics and stock building data within FEMA’s HAZUS software, a key tool utilized when assessing damage and loss to flood, earthquake and hurricane wind hazards. T&M ran a series of Hazus damage and loss model runs based on a variety of potential hazards to identify areas within the City that are most vulnerable to the hazards identified.
The risk assessment establishes the best-understood estimation of what structures and infrastructure require mitigation action to reduce or eliminate damage, loss, or suffering to the population. The various hazards identified along with their respective magnitude(s) were evaluated against the built environment (Asset Inventory). Risk assessment results will assist decision-makers in how to prioritize, plan, and implement mitigation strategies. The prioritizations are exemplified through the characterization of all hazards through the data analyses and mapped results.
The City of Philadelphia will ultimately leverage the results to develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from similar events. In short, Mitigation Plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction.
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