San Antonio Risk AssessmentResearch Paper

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Hazard Risk Assessment

The following is a hazard risk assessment of the area of San Antonio, Texas. The impacts of the risks and the efforts to minimize them shall also be assessed.

In the course of a risk assessment, hazards are assessed in terms of the possibility that an incident might occur and the damage it would cause in case such an event actually happens. Ample mines safety as well as emergency readiness needs taking into consideration all the likely hazards which could be stumbled upon. Nonetheless, various hazards are more likely to cause problems compared to others at a given mines and some would lead to more damage compared to others. These disparities are identified through a risk analysis (Brnich and Mallett, 2003). The result of the analysis could be utilized to target resources at the kinds of events, which are most likely to happen and/or are the most detrimental. Emergency situations, which are most likely to occur and would cause significant damage to individuals and property ought to be targeted for instant remediation and/or plans ought to be made for efficient response in case remediation is impossible.

San Antonio Area Description

Commonly referred to as "the place where the sunshine spends winter," San Antonio is located in the south central Texas amidst the Gulf Coastal Plains to the southeast and the Edward Plateau to the northwest. The gently rolling landscape of the city is dotted with oak trees, cacti as well as mesquite that thrive under the clear or partially cloudy skies, which prevail more than 60% of the time. Though San Antonio falls 140 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the seat of Bexar County is still close enough to experience the humid, warm air of a semitropical climate (San Antonio: Geography and Climate). In the winter, temperatures go below the freezing point for an average of just 20 days; precipitation is majorly in the form of drizzle or light rain. Yearly rainfall is almost 28 inches, sufficient for the production of nearly all crops. September and May experience the most rainfall. However, the closeness of the city to the Gulf of Mexico could bring it some intense tropical storms. The summers are hot; federal studies of weather patterns actually rank San Antonio as the fourth hottest city in the country due to the average 111 days every year that the temperatures get to 90 degrees or even more. It is around 701 feet above sea level and has an area of 407.6 square miles.

Hazard Risks of San Antonio

1) Extreme heat: Conditions of extreme heat are described as summertime temperatures which are significantly hotter and/or humid than average for the location at that period of the year. Humid conditions take place when a "dome" of intense atmospheric pressure traps misty, damp air close to the ground. Exceptionally dry and hot conditions are capable of provoking dust storms and low visibility. Droughts take place when a long duration passes without significant rainfall. A drought combined with a heat wave is quite a risky situation (City of San Antonio and Bexar County Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis). San Antonio County has a humid subtropical climate characterized by humid summers. The combination of mugginess and high temperatures results to heat wave, posing a considerable threat to the safety as well as the well-being of people and animals. Excessive heat is actually a large-scale event hazard, and it ought to be considered in terms of large geographic areas. Although deaths or injuries from excessive heat have been recorded at differing locations in San Antonio/Bexar County region, there exists no particular geographic scope to the extreme heat hazard. The County is vulnerable to the extreme heat hazard. As per the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Bexar County averaged more than 13.8 days of extreme heat from 2000-2009 annually.

2) Drought: The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) started collecting drought information in 1996. Before that, information was loosely gathered by both the Drought Mitigation Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), founded on the Palmer Drought Severity Index. Founded on data given by the NCDC Storm Events Database, there has been a total of 27 drought occurrences documented between 1996 and 2013. Drought is a common occurrence in almost all climatic regions, with the inclusion of either high or low average rainfall (City of San Antonio and Bexar County Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis). In case of drought, the area receives precipitation, which is less than anticipated over an extended duration, normally a season or more in duration. Gravity relies on duration, intensity, geographic extent, and the demands on the regional water supplies. Some factors that could intensify the gravity of a drought are; extended high winds, high rainfall, and low relative humidity.

3) Hazardous Materials: Toxic releases or hazardous materials possess considerable impact. Such events could result to numerous fatalities, complete closure of facilities for days or even weeks, and cause the affected properties to be damaged. In a hazardous materials occurrence, liquid, solid, and/or gaseous contaminants might be emanated from portable or fixed containers. The weather conditions directly affect the manner through which the hazard develops (City of San Antonio and Bexar County Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis). The micro-meteorological impacts of the landscape and buildings are capable of changing duration and travel of agents. Protection in the form of sheltering in place could shield individuals and property from dangerous effects; however, in certain cases, evacuation might be needed. The San Antonio Fire Department together with Bexar County Hazardous Materials Response Teams deal with responses to hazmat transportation accidents and chemical spillage in business and production facilities. The teams are couched to take corrective actions to end or alleviate the release of hazardous materials as they protect the well-being of the residents, emergency response employees, and also the environment. Apart from hazard-response responsibilities, the teams are also coached in the delivery of essential fire containment as well as emergency first-aid service as needed. The team members take part in ongoing training for the special situations like chlorine emergencies, highway transportation emergencies, and railroad -- tank and car accidents among others.

4) Wildfire: A wildfire is basically any unrestrained fire burning in a wild land region like a grassland or bush land; unrestrained fires are those that are not deliberately undertaken by authorized agencies. They are part of the natural management of the ecosystem of the earth; however, might also be caused by human factors. More than 80% of forest fires are begun by careless human habits like smoking in wooded regions or putting out campfire wrongly. Lightning is the second most common cause of wildfire (City of San Antonio and Bexar County Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis). Huge portions of Bexar County are susceptible to the wildfire hazard. Fire danger rating is description of not only constant but also variable factors which impact the start, spread, and trouble to manage wildfire in a particular region. Since 1974, The U.S. National Park Service utilized five fire danger ratings to illustrate risk levels in public data releases and fire prevention signalling.

5) Flood: Flooding takes place most frequently of all the natural hazards that take place in the U.S.; at least 90% of tragedies in the United States entail floods. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFID) describes flooding as a complete or incomplete deluge of usually dry land regions from (City of San Antonio and Bexar County Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis):

The abnormal and quick buildup of runoff of stream waters

The overland flood of a river, lake, ditch, etc.

Mudflows or the unexpected collapse of shoreline land

San Antonio generally encounters two kinds of flood hazards; riverine and flash flooding. Whereas it is hard to establish the precise degree of the flood hazard because of differing factors, it is essential to note, that in general, a considerable portion of flooding takes place in regions that do not lie in the vicinity of the identified flood hazard region (City of San Antonio and Bexar County Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis). FEMA approximates that more than 30% of all floods take place in regions that are not or have not been identified as being in a recognized flood hazard region.

Social and Economic Impacts

The property destruction causes by disaster impact leads to losses in asset values which could be measured by the price of replacement or repair. In the U.S. disaster losses are at first assumed by the affected households, businesses, and local government agencies whose property is destroyed. Nonetheless, some of these losses are actually redistributed in the course of the disaster recovery procedure. There have been several attempts to approximate the scale of direct losses from specific disasters and the yearly average losses from specific kinds of hazards (CHAPTER 6 HAZARD, VULNERABILITY, AND RISK ANALYSIS). Unluckily, these losses are hard to establish accurately because there is no organization which follows all the significant information… [END OF PREVIEW]

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San Antonio Risk Assessment.  (2015, October 31).  Retrieved September 22, 2017, from

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