Risk Assessment Terminology
Natural hazard – source of harm or difficulty created by a meteorological, environmental, or geological event
Community assets – the people, structures, facilities, and systems that have value to the community
Vulnerability – characteristics of community assets that make them susceptible to damage from a given hazard
Impact – the consequences or effects of a hazard on the community and its assets
Risk – the potential for damage, loss, or other impacts created by the interaction of natural hazards with community assets
Risk assessment – product or process that collects information and assigns values to risks for the purpose of informing priorities, developing or comparing courses of action, and informing decision making.
Threat or human-caused incident – intentional actions of an adversary, such as a threatened or actual chemical or biological attack or cyber event.
Risk, for the purpose of hazard mitigation planning, is the potential for damage, loss or other impacts created by the interaction of natural hazards with community assets. Hazards are natural processes, such as tornados, floods and earthquakes. The exposure of people, property and other community assets to natural hazards can result in disasters, depending on the impacts. Impacts are the consequences or effects of the hazard on the community and its assets. The type and severity of impacts are based on the extent of the hazard and the vulnerability of the community’s assets, as well as the community’s ability to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from events.
The figure below illustrates the concept of risk as the relationship, or overlap, between hazards and community assets. The smaller the overlap, the lower the risk.