How Bad Is It and Who Is in the Way: Assessing the Threat of Chemical Facilities


Two fundamental issues with disaster survival are the degree of preparedness by the public and the location and limitations of people who are at increased risk, whether physical, economic or social. Both of these issues were highlighted by Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and many other incidents. This paper examines a quantitative method of evaluating the threat to a community from facilities that store reportable quantities of hazardous materials. This uses a rating of the chemical but also includes a spatial component using initial isolation distances to estimate area at risk. The methodology is used to gauge the threat of individual facilities or the threat to a section of the community. This information serves several functions; it will provide a basis targeting for disaster mitigation and public education, informs emergency planners on areas that may require additional response assets in the event of an incident and provides an initial set of data to pre/post evaluate training methods, demographic shifts and use Greene County as a proof in concept of the method for application in other areas.


Political Science

Document Type





disaster planning and preparedness, hazard management and mitigation, social vulnerability and vulnerable populations

Publication Date


Journal Title

Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy