Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 March 2016
There is a cascade of risks associated with a hazard evolving into a disaster that consists of the risk that: (1) a hazard will produce an event; (2) an event will cause structural damage; (3) structural damage will create functional damages and needs; (4) needs will create an emergency (require use of the local response capacity); and (5) the needs will overwhelm the local response capacity and result in a disaster (ie, the need for outside assistance). Each step along the continuum/cascade can be characterized by its probability of occurrence and the probability of possible consequences of its occurrence, and each risk is dependent upon the preceding occurrence in the progression from a hazard to a disaster. Risk-reduction measures are interventions (actions) that can be implemented to: (1) decrease the risk that a hazard will manifest as an event; (2) decrease the amounts of structural and functional damages that will result from the event; and/or (3) increase the ability to cope with the damage and respond to the needs that result from an event. Capacity building increases the level of resilience by augmenting the absorbing and/or buffering and/or response capacities of a community-at-risk. Risks for some hazards vary by the context in which they exist and by the Societal System(s) involved.
Task Force for Quality Control of Disaster Medicine, World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine, Nordic Society for Disaster Medicine. Health Disaster Management Guidelines for Evaluation and Research in the Utstein Style. Sundnes KO, Birnbaum ML (eds). Prehosp Disaster Med. 2003;17(Supplement 3).