Sample Paper on Community Hazard Assessment

COMMUNITY LAYOUT

Denver is the highest populated city in the state of Colorado. It is situated amid the eastern foothills of Rocky Mountains and the high plains. The city experiences extreme snowstorms every three to four years and has a high possibility of thunderstorms due to the unique positioning of the city off the eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains. The population is reported to have increased half a million since 2003.There are 3 main dams and are mainly to prevent the area from flooding, they also serve as water reservoir for the city. The dams are  prone to malfunction or dam failure. Human activities within the floodplains can also create a problem due to alteration of drainage channels. Currently there are over 170 companies that are in service in Denver and deal with harmful materials that can pose a risk to the community. With its large population Denver is also at risk of terrorism attack, the population increase will affect the emergency services in that there will be a strain on the available resources.

Hazardous winter weather: winter storms occur regularly in Denver and affect the daily human activities in the area. The storms have a blend of blowing snow and wind resulting in very low visibilities especially on the major roads and highways. The storms result in flooding, closed highways, blocked roads due to uprooted trees and power disruptions due to downed power lines. The area is also located in the “hail alley” thus receives numerous hailstorms annually. Hailstorms mainly occur in the events of a thunderstorm and cause damages that amount to billions of dollars. The storm destroys properties ranging from cars, windows, roofs among others. It also creates problems in terms of infrastructure ranging from roads to air travel.

Flooding: Denver has a history of flooding due to the topography and the rivers and creeks that are present in the area. Flooding in the area is mainly related to overflowing or a fault in the dams in the area mainly cherry creek. Building of cherry creek flood control reservoir has reduced the large extent of flooding caused by the Southern Platte River. Although the city has taken great precautions against flooding by increasing warning systems, it is still a great possibility and should be put into consideration when it comes to hazard assessment in the community.

Dam failure: Dams are an important part of the infrastructure system and is also vital in terms of flood protection and act as a water reservoir to many parts of the city. Cherry creek dam for example provides flood control of the South Platte River, it is given the highest priority due to the high downstream population in South East Denver and Aurora and the property worth billions which is below the dam. It is also located next to Interstate 225 and if not well regulated may lead to major accidents. Chatfield dam on the other hand is also a flood control reservoir on the South Platte River and mainly serves as a water reservoir for the city. Lastly the Bear creek dam which is located on the southwest edge of suburban Lakewood at the intersect of Bear creek and Turkey creek. The dams need frequent supervision and renovation as their malfunction could lead to loss of lives and properties.

Terrorism: Denver, being the highest populated city is prone to terrorism activities; this is due to its metropolitan population, military installations, government buildings and the busy international airport among other factors. A couple of international terrorist groups have known links in Colorado among them Al Qaeda. Improved technological advancement in terms of internet connectivity have been shown to play a role in terms of increased homegrown terrorism as more individuals have access to terror groups recruitment. Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force has been created and field intelligence units that gather information on key security issues and criminal threats.

Hazardous materials: Hazardous materials are substances that pose a threat to humans or living organisms, they can be in gaseous or in liquid form and primarily cause chronic health hazards. There have been reports of cases of toxic chemicals being released into the atmosphere and spillage throughout the state of Colorado including Denver. The materials can threaten life, property or the environment as a whole. There are approximately over 170 companies that report the use of dangerous materials in their daily activities among them Chlorine or ammonia. When the toxic substances are released into the atmosphere, they can cause a major catastrophe as they are located close to neighborhoods and sports venues. There can also be spillage during transportation which may end up in accident on the major highways or fires, thus should be transported under the regulation of the U.S Department of Transportation with appropriate packaging, communications of hazards and proper shipping controls. The environment Protection Agency should conduct constant supervision of the companies so as to regulate and monitor the amount of toxic wastes being released.

Denver Fire Department and Police Department: The department is well equipped to offer efficient and professional emergency services to the citizens. It is divided into 6 response districts equipped with 27 engine companies for fire extinguishment, 14 truck companies for search and rescue and a heavy rescue company which is the mainstay of the special rescue operations.

The police department on the other hand is also well equipped with patrol divisions divided into six decentralized divisions so as to ensure 24 hour patrol. There is the special division department which consists of Criminal Investigation units, Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T), The Sheriff’s department among other department. There is the Denver health that works with the fire department in cases of emergency evacuations and provides emergency care to billions of resident who are in the special population; namely those who are mentally ill, homeless, elderly, and persons addicted to alcohol and other substances. The hospital also integrates the emergency care with community health to aid in the prevention of communicable diseases.

Regardless of the city being well equipped in terms of the emergency response department there is the issue of demography. The overall population is expected to grow significantly within the next 10years, this will change the way the emergency response plan for disaster. There will be an increase in the elderly population meaning an increase in the special population group thus a general strain in the available resources. There will be migration from the sparsely populated areas into the city which will increase the number of people vulnerable in case of a disaster. Thus the general emergency department needs to be evaluated with the growing population

Work cited.

Office of Emergency Management. Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment. 2011. (Web, March 2nd, 2015).

http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/428/documents/Denver%20Hazard%20Identification%20and%20Risk%20Assessment.pdf