Tag Archives: Vulnerability Assessment

A hurricane approaches: How safe is your building or facility?

Natural hazards are sources of potential damage. Vulnerability results from the interaction of human activity with natural hazards. By virtue of sheltering the full range of human activity, the built-environment is at risk of sustaining damage when a given community is exposed to the impact of natural hazards. In Florida as a whole, but especially in the coastal regions, vulnerability to hurricanes is the greatest concern.

Vulnerability assessment is a method used to measure the degree of exposure of a building to specific hazards by characterizing possible impacts, and estimating potential damages, which also provides a foundation for risk assessment, and for identifying mitigation measures that can be implemented to reduce the potential for damage from recurring impacts.

If you own or manage a facility that is vulnerable to hurricanes and all you know about how resistant it is to the impact of a hurricane is that is meets the minimum requirements of the building code, there is a high probability that you could see substantial damage, and interruption of function if a major hurricane hits your area. To assess how safe is your facility, and what can be done to reduce the potential for damage from the impact of recurring hurricanes, you could benefit from commissioning a Vulnerability Assessment study that includes recommendations for specific and effective hazard mitigation alternatives you could implement. To learn more about what a Vulnerability Assessment can offer go to the banner Menu above, click on CONSULTING and select Assessment of Vulnerability to Hurricanes; November 1998.

Ricardo A. Alvarez is an expert in the fields of Vulnerability Assessment and Hazard Mitigation having completed hundreds of both types of studies and projects over the past twenty years.   To find out how you could benefit from a Vulnerability Assessment of your facility, and other consulting services, contact Ricardo A. Alvarez directly at www.mitigat.com or by phone at [305] 332-3664 or [305] 931-0871, or by posting a comment right here on this site right at the end of this posting.

A Book on Hurricane Mitigation

  At the end of October 2005 Hurricane Wilma hit the region of Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico as a strong category 4 tropical cyclone causing major damage from wind, storm surge and heavy rains over a vast area. Shortly after the impact I received a request from a member of the Quintana Roo State Legislature on behalf of the Office of the State Governor to conduct a field study in Cancun and surrounding areas, to assess the impact, identify main causes of damage, assess the performance of the preparedness and response by local authorities, and also to assess the performance of the built environment. I was also asked to write a report on my findings to be submitted to State authorities.

I organized a research team by inviting my colleagues Timothy Reinhold, internationally known wind engineer and VP for the Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and Hugh Gladwin, a social scientists, professor and director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research (IPOR) at Florida International University (FIU), and we were on the ground in Cancun a short 3 weeks after the disaster. Our findings were presented on a report ( in Spanish) submitted to the State Legislature and the Office of the Governor. INFORMEPRELIMINARvisita12142005

Based on findings from our field work and the written report I subsequently wrote a book, in Spanish, titled “Paraiso Protegido” focusing on the reduction of potential damage to the built environment from future hurricanes, through the application of hazard mitigation measures based on an assesment of vulnerability of various components of the built environment. The book is available in digital format (on CD), in Spanish, here in the USA. You can view the Foreword of the book by clicking on the link that follows: PROLOGO INTRODUCCION NOTAS